Best comments ever, vol. 2

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Due to overwhelming demand, "best comments ever" is back, and "evar" is now spelled "ever." ("Evar!" is the excited Valley Girl pronunciation of "ever," fwiw.) Yesterday we heard stories about people being sick, losing their sense of smell, sleepwalking and hoarding animals. Today we'll start by examining two posts about cars, which tend to elicit very passionate responses from our readership!

THE POST: Who gets the parking space?
Having posed the question of whether you can save a parking spot by standing in it, we got vehement responses on both sides of the issue, as well as a few harrowing stories, like this one from commenter Karen:

I experienced this firsthand many years ago as my mom and I were searching for a parking spot during the crazy day-after-Thanksgiving shopping rush. The situation escalated into one like your second experience - only my mom did not actually hit her and this girl DID call the police. She faked a limp and the officer believed her and arrested my mom.

THE POST: This really happens
Not long ago, a friend of mine drove away from a pumping station without removing the nozzle from his tank -- he wasn't paying attention -- and it snapped right off. Of course, the same thing had happened to several of our readers, with somewhat more dramatic results. Commenter Michael Wild:

Happened to me. Driving 1 ton Ford dually with trailer. Gas gauge unreliable and I was very worried about running out of diesel fuel. Pulled into truck stop and every pump but one had a bag over the pump handle. I pulled up to the one pump w/o a bag and put the nozzle in my tank. Nothing happened. I went inside and was informed that they had no diesel. I was pissed, got in the truck and drove off. Heard someone yelling, looked back and saw I was trailing the nozzle, hose and wiring from the pump. Owner was very upset and would not let me leave until I paid damages. At my suggestion he called law enforcement. They came, inspected my insurance papers and informed owner he was illegally restraining me. It was a matter for the insurance companies. Truck stop shut down and never reopened.

Pump jockey Petro Pierre was kind enough to provide some behind-the-scenes perspective:

Got my nickname "Petro" from the many years I spent pumping gas for a living. I saw this happen only a few times since it was a full service station. The first time was a really big deal! The customer asked for $20, which I starting pumping and left to finish on its own (since the pump was programmed for preset amounts at the push of a button, $20 being one of them). As I went to serve other customers, the fellow went inside to pay the cashier inside, who took his money once the pump automatically stopped at $20. It all happened very quickly, and he got back into his car and started driving away without waiting for me to remove the hose (obviously assuming it was already done). Unfortunately neither the handle nor the hose snapped off. It was a terrible sounds as the WHOLE FUEL PUMP came tearing off its foundation and crashed on its side, spewing a quick gusher of fuel before the shutoff valve kicked in. Needless to say, he didn't get very far, but I think our station swallowed the tab on that one.

THE POST: The not-silent killer: noise pollution
Our readers made a lot of noise over this one, sparking a mini-competition to see who lived in the loudest place. It was a toss up between itsabecky:

i live in what appears to be the average suburban community. we have the standard noises: children playing in the street, occasional dogs barking, birds chirping, etc. then there are all of the non-traditional suburban noises. my neighbor accross the street has 6 cars and seems to wash at least one every day then has to dry them with his leaf blower. my house is conviently situated in the middle of 3 quarrys so we often hear them blasting and on occasion feel the house shake. when we first moved in there was a race track 2 miles from our house and on race days it sounded like we were living inside a beehive.

inside the house often sounds like a circus. 4 dogs, 4 laptops, 4 adults, a screaming 4 year old and a TV that is always on (at full volume to try and combat the other noise in the house) all create so much noise and havoc that i often find myself looking for any excuse to get out of the house (i go for a lot of drives to no where just listening to the hum of the tires on the road). i seem to be the only one in the house that is bothered by the noise. sometimes i feel like all the noise scrambles my brain.

... and commenter Marta, whose noise is more neighbor-driven:

I live in a duplex. The lady on the other side had 2 emotionally handicappped foster children that, up until a few weeks ago, screamed, slammed doors, threw dirt on our cars, and would put the same annoying hip-hop or pop song on repeat on the porch stereo, crank it up, then disappear for hours. On top of that she has a tiny dog that the kids put outside for hours and it spends those hours continuously barking. I didn't think it was physically possible for a dog to bark for 5 hours straight without a rest.

THE POST: What's worse than snakes on a plane?
Speaking of people's tolerance for noise and annoyance, there was an outpouring of pure venom when I brought up the dilemma of mixing small children and large aircraft. There were plenty of arguments in favor of doping kids with Benadryl and Dimetapp, and several against. (Studies that have come out since this blog was posted indicate that it's a bad idea to give young kids cold medicine, so I'm going to have to side with the no-doping camp, no matter how annoying the transatlantic toddler.) We all felt the pain of commenter Ben Hubbard:

Allow me to set the stage. I'm flying from KY on the very first available flight (5:00a), so I'm a bit sleepy. My screaming offspring have been left with their grandparents for a week of splendor, sure to receive all of their needs, wants and desires. I'm snoozin' — just barely"¦you know that kind of awkward sleep that you get when the lady next to you smells funny because she did not bathe the night before and, in her slumber, she insists on trying to snuggle, not to mention the fact that the pressurized cabin gives me a headache from hell itself for which there is no known cure — and all seem right with the world. Suddenly, my sleep is broken by a pair of demons, er"¦I mean kids, who have both begun to frantically scream "WE'RE GOING TO DIE, OH NO, WE'RE GOING TO CRASH AND DIE". I, with one leg still in sleepy land, look out the window to see water quickly approaching (if you have ever landed in San Francisco you have seen the same sight, I swear it feels like you are going to crash). The revelation of imminent death startles stinky lady and I to the point of scrambling to brace ourselves for the impact (no, not by hugging). Once we realized that these two monsters (around age 4-6) were just being "mini jerks" we felt a little relieved and a little embarrassed (again, no, not because we were hugging). This single flight has prompted me to vow to never, ever, bring my kids on a plane until they are of ample age to be polite to the other passengers. I suggest the same for the rest of the world.

THE POST: Are smart kids more likely to be depressed?
We got lots of fascinating (and heartbreaking) responses to this post, but rather than reposting any one of them here, I urge you to check them out as a whole. Great stuff, guys, and thanks so much for sharing.

November 8, 2007 - 5:42am
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