I had a run-in with a banshee the other day. Evidently, banshees have no names, and this one wanted mine.
The creature in question, and her consort, own or work in a downtown building that sits perpendicular to the building where I work for a couple hours a day, twice a week, early in the morning. Along the side of my building, and the back of theirs, runs a thin strip of property that looks like an alley. No one can drive in it though, because people park right in the middle of it. Shortly after I started working there, I learned why: it’s not an alley, and it’s not public. It belongs to those side-street buildings. Here, I’ll draw you a picture:
I park in spots behind my workplace that face that private strip. When I leave work, because it’s a crowded area, I pull forward into the private strip, turn right for about 20 feet, then right or left into the public alley. No harm done. Neighborly cooperation–I thought.
On this day, just as I was about to move forward, the banshee and her consort pulled up behind their building so that I couldn’t pull forward. I couldn’t back up, either, because a truck was jutting out from our loading dock, right behind me. I was trapped. The obvious answer, of course, was more neighborly cooperation.
Banshees and their consorts don’t do neighborly, as I was soon to find out.
I gestured through the windshield at the woman who got out of the car, and she came closer to see what I wanted. I opened the car door and said, “Could you back up just enough so I could get out? I have someone blocking me from behind.”
I expected a cheerful, “Sure! Be glad to!” Silly me.
At this point the man got out of the car and said, “This isn’t an alley, it’s private. You can just sit there and wait for the truck to leave.”
My jaw dropped in disbelief while indignation rose like a tide. “Well, thanks a lot!” I said, and sat back, resigned to an indefinite wait in a cold car.
However, the woman was now heading toward my car, where I still had the door open. Oh good, I thought. I can better explain what I wanted. So I again launched, naively, into the I-just-wanted-to-get-out-of-my-parking-space speech–and then I glanced at her. She wasn’t hearing me. Her eyes were glazed and her jaw was flapping, and she was going on and on about how it was THEIR property, and it was NOT an alley, and the people from where I work had done nothing but ABUSE…
OK, lost cause, I realized. You don’t expect rationality from a banshee. I gave up.
“Just forget it,” I told her, in mid-tirade, and I shut the door.
Well! That set her off even more. She got even closer and starting pounding on my door, and although I was trying, at this point, to avoid eye contact, I was sure I’d find flecks of spittle splattered on my window.
“I want your name!” she shrieked at me. Why? I wondered. Don’t you have one of your own? Wisely, I refrained from saying that, but I did give an emphatic and disbelieving, “No.”
With that she grabbed my door handle and yanked the door open, repeating, “I want your name!” Banshee or not, she was beginning to look downright ridiculous.
I said no again, and shut the door again. She tried opening it again and there we were, like a couple of little kids, playing tug-of-war over my door.
Notice, this wild woman who was having an apoplectic fit because I dared to want to drive on their precious strip of ground, had no problem swooping onto OUR parking lot and wrenching on MY door. That’s when I realized that, besides being nameless, banshees are also rather brainless, running on some kind of demented instinct to attack.
She finally let go of my door handle, only to then squat in front of my car, rummaging through her purse and then writing down my license plate number, bellering out each letter and number as she wrote.
Well, I thought, she obviously knows how to read. Funny she has to have my name instead of finding one for herself.
She finally left off the attack, arose, and started up the outside stairs of her building, aka The Bat Cave. But she wasn’t done yet.
‘HAVE. A. NIIIIICE. DAY!” she shrieked.
And I did. How could I not? I earned many a belly laugh in the retelling of this tale and got some great material for a new blog.