Please hold your applause for my clever title until the entry concludes. Thank you.

The ad for the apartment Evil Roommate and I ended up renting said that it came with two parking spots. This is perfect for us since we have two cars and don't like to park on the street. After we had signed the lease and gotten the keys to our apartment, we were informed that by "two parking spots" they actually meant "one parking spot that is extra long so you can fit two cars in it." It's called a tandem spot. They're popular in this town.

We don't mind our tandem spot for the most part except for the days when I actually manage to leave for work on time, and thus Evil Roommate hasn't left for work yet and his car is parked behind mine. Then I have to execute a 37,032 point turn before I can even get on the road. It goes a little something like this:

Creepy Landlord, who never minded having a tandem spot since his household only has one car, occupied the space next to ours. Now that he's gone, the space is vacant. So we annexed it. We did this for ourselves, but also for everyone on this planet, because it was taking me about twenty minutes to get out of the spot and that was burning fuel and polluting our fragile ecosystem. We luxuriated in our extra space and were quite proud of ourselves that night. Then Evil Roommate went out clubbing and I went to bed.

The next morning, I was running late, so Evil Roommate had already left for work. Next to my car, placed triumphantly in my brand new solo parking space, stood the building's maintenance man, spreading sand around Evil Roommate's brand new solo parking space. "Good morning," I said, because I'm polite. "Piece of shit," he responded.

At first I thought he was talking about an actual piece of shit, that there was fecal matter in Evil Roommate's parking space. This is totally reasonable, as Old Gay Men With Dog have been known to walk their dog entirely within the confines of the garage when they're too afraid to go outside. It may have even been human excrement. Once I found a pool of barf not thirty feet away from my car in that garage. Okay, the barf had been expelled from a friend of mine after a particularly interesting night on Sunset Strip, but still. I don't put anything past the people in my building after one of them stole my laundry. Eventually I figured out that the guy was speaking in figurative terms and asked if he was talking about my car. "No," he said, and then he said some other words but I don't listen to people for more than two minutes at a time before noon so I wasn't paying attention.

I talked to Evil Roommate on the phone later that day and he told me that he had a car problem. I asked if it had anything to do with the pile of sand and a piece of shit and he said that it did, because he has an oil leak. He has an oil leak because he drove over the intersection of Franklin and Whitley. Anyone who knows that area knows that there is an unmarked speed bump here. Evil Roommate hit it at such a speed that he tore his oil pan out of his car. He parked the car and went to bed, only to find, the next morning, that all the oil in his car had leaked out the gaping hole at the bottom of its container. So he drove to Pepboys and bought some new oil and dumped that in his car and decided to just keep filling his engine with new oil prior to all car trips because that would be cheaper than getting it fixed. This means that gallons and gallons of oil will be leaked onto the streets of Los Angeles. Expect them to resemble one of the later levels of the classic videogame "RC Pro-Am" soon.

As you slide across three lanes of traffic and towards your inevitable demise, be sure to thank Evil Roommate!

We have parking garage at work, and it also has tandem spots. I usually share one with a co-worker so that we don't have to give our keys over to the valet because if the person parking inside needs to go anywhere, he can tell the other person and we can both go down and move the cars. Even with the tandem spaces, there aren't enough parking spaces for workers, so the valet usually ends up putting a third layer of cars on all the spots and everything is a tight squeeze. Pulling out of work last night, I knew I had parked close to the support pole but it looked like I had enough space to get by it. The need for me to get my depth perception checked out became quite apparent when I heard the loud snap, crackle, and pop of my driver's side mirror being ripped off the car. My co-worker, patiently waiting for me to exit our spot so that he could pull out and leave as well, also heard it. We checked out the damage and ascertained that my mirror was, in fact, ripped off the pole but that a goodly amount of duct tape should fix everything. We got this from Gwen, whose experience in driving too close to solid objects had made her an expert in the field of car side mirror repair. It's all good except for the fact that I had my little accident in front of the valets and they are sure to make fun of me for it for the rest of the week.

Things are much worse for Evil Roommate, who did end up paying for his car to get fixed before he could flood the city with oil that would drain into the ocean and kill baby seals. They gave him a new oil pan, but since he was driving around without one, tiny shards of metal had been circulated through his engine and into the pistons. He will need a new engine. But the car mechanics in Little Armenia do it right, and they instructed him to drive around until the new oil pan doesn't look new anymore and then bring the car into a VW dealer complaining of hearing a clanking sound in his engine, with no idea how this would happen since he hasn't gotten into any accidents. They find the metal shards and give him a new engine and it's all covered under the warranty. Hopefully.

Evil Roommate and I took a look at our cars and realized that we had both been stricken down immediately after we annexed Creepy Landlord's parking space. We decided that the space must have some sort of curse upon it. We both park in our tandem spot again, and I do the 37,032 point turn, which is now made a bit trickier because my new ghetto-fabulous mirror is pointed downwards and cannot be moved, and we have learned our lesson. The lesson is not, incidentally, that we should be more careful and less speedy when driving or to make extra sure to check how close we are to another object while backing out of a space. It's to avoid curses, and take them seriously. Superstition beats self-improvement every time.