Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price

Not a Steelers Fan

I got my Eat n'Park cookie. Sunday morning, I ran The Great Race with the saint-in-my-life-who-likes-to-exercise and a friend from work. The saint took an early lead and when my friend and I crossed the finish line 1 hour and eight minutes later, he was there waiting with Eat n' Park cookies for each of us.

But that's not my story today. What I want to tell you about takes place about 30 minutes later in a parking garage in downtown Pittsburgh. Hours earlier, before the race, he had pulled his car into the garage and parked in the first available spot about one-level up so we could catch the bus up to the race start line.

When we returned to the car after the race, the parking garage was clogged with idling cars going nowhere - all drivers were trying to find a parking space for the Steelers' game. People were honking horns, drivers were standing beside open doors, trying to figure out what was causing the holdup - a fender bender several floors up maybe?

We were one spot away from the ramp to the exit. If someone would just let us backout, turnaround and catch the ramp, we could be out in minutes. Otherwise, we would have to sit in this snarled traffic jam all the way to the top of the garage and then back down again.

I approached a cherry-red Honda Accord almost directly behind us.

"Excuse me," I said to the blonde driver. "Is there anyway that the next time traffic moves forward you could give us about one minute and not pull forward so we can back out and go out this exit instead of going all the way up? We're not going to the game and we're hoping to dodge this traffic."

"I'll think about it," the blonde said and then rolled up her window in my face. (That move is so much more effective on cars with power windows. She had power windows.) I stood there looking in her driver's side window amazed at her brush off. I don't understand rudeness. I really don't. I looked at her Steelers jersey. I think it was either a #36 or #86. I took a few seconds to think mean thoughts. She didn't deserve to wear that jersey. Jerome Bettis and Heinz Ward would never treat people like that. I turned so that she could see the number on my Steelers jersey, #75, Mean Joe Greene. Didn't she see we were kindred spirts? Steelers fans need to stick together.

I don't take the word "no" easily. But life has taught me that when faced with a disagreeable person it is best to be as sweet as possible. Sweet yet persistent usually wins the day.

I tapped her drivers side window down again. She rolled it down a crack.

"Did you think about it?" I asked. "Listen, I don't mean to be rude but this would only take a few seconds of brake time from you. We just ran The Great Race and we are hoping to get out of here."

She again said she would think about it and once again she powered the window up in my face. After several deep breathes, I went and stood in front of her car inches from her front bumper. Then I began directing traffic. I asked all the drivers in front of me to scootch their vehicles forward as much as possible. They gladly did. With the Honda Accord not going anywhere it gave him enough room to back his car out, turn around and make it to the exit.

All the true Steelers fans in front of us cheered loudly as I walked to his car.

"Were you a political science major?" one of the drivers yelled as I got in and we drove off toward the pay plaza. I grinned for the next several blocks.


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