Monday, August 23, 2010

Passive Aggresive Underthinking

Last night I returned home at 1 am from a less than fruitful ice hockey road trip, I am currently house/dog-sitting so I had continue driving, upon arriving at my car I noticed the following note attached to my car.

This is the classical example of a passive aggressive note, the thing with all passive aggressive notes is that they are always underthought. The corrolary of this that the reciever of this note is left to overthink. First of all let me paint you a picture of where my car was parked, see below the detailed map.
Detailed map of the situation.
Now my car was slightly off the fence, so perhaps I was too close to the middle of the road. But the writer of the note indicated that their perferred spot for me to be parking is nearer the end of the road, not the side of the road. So their concern is not with me obstructing the roadway.

Not their concern

But let us dissect this note from the beginning, the note beings by letting me know the people who are having a problem with the location of my car, are the "people not having a driveway". I am not sure if this is one couple, or  if a group of the neighbours not owning driveways have gotten together to compose this note. I would secretly be stoked if the neighbours were discussing my parking. Perhaps the "people not having a driveway" (PNHD) is some sort of worldwide society standing up for the rights of people who don't own driveways. Apparently its the number 2 contributing factor leading to people writing passive aggresive notes in the western world, it is just behind flatmates not doing the dishes. Some fine examples can be found in this book : Passive Aggressive Notes: Painfully Polite and Hilariously Hostile Writings

Delegates at the 5th annual PNHD fundraising dinner.
This ambiguity of identity is a common trait of the passive-aggressive note. By doing this the writer avoids the confrontation with the receiver of the note they want to cause, but don't want to get involved in. The problem with this approach is that invariably you create a large issue than the original one. The passive act of delivering an anonymous note, is taken as aggresive as you are issuing a demand, and not opening the avenues of communication so compromise can be reached on the issue. In fact the Cuban missile crisis was kicked off by Kennedy leaving an anonymous note under Khrushchev's window screen asking him to remove the missle silos from Cuba.

"It would be appreciated by the democratic nations of this world if you would keep your missiles in Europe rather than the Carribean Ocean. Cheers :)"

In this case they are demanding I park nearer the end of the street. The inference I get is because the house I live in has a driveway I am not allowed to park on the street. For those of you that have never seen my driveway, it is very steep and rocky, so a lot of times by little 2wd car can't make it up it.

People hate coming round to my place for coffee.

The main issue of have with this demand though, is that they have not put any quantifiers with their demand, giving me any reason to believe they deserve to park closer to their house than I do. I have been parking on the street for the last month or so because of renovations going on at thetop of our drive. Sometimes I park close to my drive sometimes I park at the far end of the street, depending on where a park is availiable, its a lottery sometimes I win sometimes I lose. Afterall it is a public road, parking is a case of first in, first served.

I mean if they had given me a "because" to ponder I may have considered their proposal. For example if they had said that they are an elderly couple they can't walk big distances, or they have small children they have carry from their vehicle, or any such similar excuse. But as far as I know they are just as able-bodied as I am, therefore I feel no obligation whatsoever to compile with their request.

I am going to feel really bad if this guy wrote the note.

My only concern however is the smiley face at the end of the note, at first glance I though that's cute a little smiley face, to make the note appear more politely. Then I looked closer and noticed the smiley face had crosses for eyes. Now I have seen enough cartoons to know what that means.

First image on google images for "Dead smiley face"
 Are they sending me a message, if I don't comply with their demand, they will the kill me? What kind of sicko writes notes with these veiled threats in the form of a smiley face?

My neighbour?


  1. Aaron, this is hilarious! I can just imagine them looking out their window for the past month, "Honey, he's in our park AGAIN, can you believe it. Something needs to be done. Something big. I know, I'll write a note..."

  2. good call Phillip.

    Hey Az the handwriting is real tidy, should be easy to find the owner ha

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