Adam Darack is the IT administrator for the town of Edgartown. He will be writing regularly about the technological issues facing Island business owners. Got a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Dear Geek.”
This week’s article is a bit different. I wanted to relate a story that will either hit home to you or won’t be far off if you are part of any of the Island’s social media groups, in this case “Bad Parking on MV.”
Recently I stepped out of work and saw a car with a stand-up paddleboard on its roof, parked in a handicapped spot with nothing noting the appropriate designation on the license plate and no placard on the window. People using those spaces in an unauthorized manner is a huge pet peeve of mine, and I assumed it was done out of convenience. Being a member of “Bad Parking on MV,” I figured I would take a picture and post it to the site.
That Facebook group, for those who don’t know about it, is one where people routinely post pictures of cars parked incorrectly. Everything from the poor car that ended up accompanying a boat and trailer down the boat ramp into the Lagoon to cars taking up multiple marked spots. You can feel the virtual energy when it’s an out-of-state car, and though it’s all good-natured, it’s a bit of the group mob mentality sometimes. Truth is, I think a bunch of us probably live in glass houses and are throwing stones. I have little doubt that my car will end up on the site at some point, much as my niece’s parking job ended up there a few years ago. That was a legitimately horrible parking job that blocked a road coming off Ocean Park, and its story is something she is forced to relive annually at family gatherings.
Back to the car at hand with the stand-up paddleboard. I posted the picture, and a couple of comments were quickly made. Success, the shame spiral had begun. I seemed certain I was calling out someone abusing this parking space.That is, until the car owner’s friend hopped on and mentioned a blown-out ACL as the reason for the parking spot. I began questioning my decision, but still thought it sounded fishy.
The next day I got a message from the car’s owner explaining the whole situation. She did in fact blow out her ACL, and lived in a small apartment with no storage room for the paddleboard. She kept it on her roof to make it easily accessible for her friends. It was an incredibly nice, respectful, and understanding email, and before I even finished reading it, I deleted the post. This woman had my respect, 100 percent, and was waiting to receive her placard. I then noticed that we had two friends in common; one is a buddy, a great guy whom I worked with years ago, and the other was someone I hadn’t seen in probably 12 to 15 years, and was my little brother in a big brother/little brother program from 1993 to1995 in Burlington, Vt. He’s one of my all-time favorite people, and this woman had become friends with him in Jackson Hole, Wyo., years ago. Simply put, I felt like an idiot once I realized the situation and how nice this poor woman with the blown-out ACL was.
The world can be an incredibly small place (especially this Island). I rarely get caught up in social media, but I’m admittedly amused by some of the Island’s Facebook groups. After my experience, which I fully admit was one where I made incorrect assumptions before publicly calling someone out, I’m back on the sidelines. Not a bad idea if we all remember that sometimes there’s more than meets the eye.