DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were trying to park our car in a crowded downtown lot. The line of cars trying to get in wrapped around the block. Each car in line had to circle around until someone left because no parking spaces were available.
When we finally got to drive in, we drove to the only open spot.
However, a woman had jumped out of a car that was still on the street and was standing in the spot to save it for her companion.
My husband lowered the window and reminded her that because she did not have a vehicle, she was blocking traffic.
She angrily told him that her car was “just around the corner” and threatened to call the cops if we didn’t keep driving.
My husband didn’t raise his voice. He once again asked her to move because she had cut in line.
Finally, after she began to go into a tirade, we gave up and circled for another 10 minutes until another spot opened. Was my husband out of line for asking her to move? What would you have done in that situation? – UNSURE OF THE RULES, BEASLEY, TEXAS
DEAR UNSURE: Your husband was not out of line in asking the woman to move. She was nervy and wrong to block traffic and take advantage. And if the police had been summoned, they probably would have backed you up.
What would I have done in that situation? Had I been behind the wheel, I would have been tempted to very … slowly … continue … parking my car … until she either moved or I squashed her like a bug against the wall or the car in front. (That’s why my husband does most of the driving when we’re together.)
DEAR ABBY: My mother is 68, financially stable and living alone. She has had emotional problems throughout her life and has ended up alienating most of her children. I’m the only one who checks on her regularly, and I’m worried sick.
Mom is withering away. She’s 4 foot 11 and admits to weighing only 76 pounds. She’s not eating right, and a lifetime of smoking has caught up with her. She has difficulty breathing, but won’t see the doctor. Most days she doesn’t have the strength to even carry in a bag of groceries. I call her often, and the neighbors watch out for her, but her house is falling down around her, trash is piling up, and it’s not a healthy place to be.
I have never gone against my mother. I tried an intervention with one of my sisters; it only alienated Mother. Someone has to step in before the fire department has to break in and finds her dead on the floor.
Can I legally step in and take care of her? We have an extra room she could live in. We could move her to assisted living. No one wants to make the first move, and if I don’t do this right, Mother may never speak to me again. – WORRIED DAUGHTER, FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.
DEAR WORRIED DAUGHTER: Which would be worse – a miffed mother or one dead from neglect? Contact your nearest senior services center and talk to a social worker who has geriatric training.
In many communities, these social workers can contact and befriend isolated seniors, and see they get the help they need to remain independent as long as possible.
If the senior citizen centers can’t help you, get in touch with your local Area Agency on Aging to determine what other services might be available to help your mother.
Only as a last resort should you try to become her conservator because the process can be difficult, and you might not succeed.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.