“You are ‘free’ to park anywhere you choose without interference,” the foreboding sign read. “However, please know — if you choose to take this spot — that I will spend the same amount of time, energy, and money to place the snow back in its original space around the vehicle.”
Neighbors in his Hill East neighborhood saw the sign, posted it on Twitter, and now hundreds of people have retweeted it and weighed in on whether Bergman is a grouchy neighbor or just defending what is rightfully his.
“So I guess this is the Capitol Hill version of the lawn chair,” a Washington Times reporter who lives in the neighborhood wrote.
“I’d call his bluff,” said another.
Bergman, a 32-year-old musician, is not backing down. He says he needed to go with his rock band to their recording studio near College Park and took the time to dig out his car.
“I put in five hours of excruciating work, and I knew that no one else would be leaving. For me, I was just saying, ‘Hey, out of courtesy and respect, for a day or two, please allow me to go to the studio,’ ” said Bergman, who said he does find some humor in the reaction this has incited. “I didn’t realize this would turn into a polarizing hate-fest.”
He knows residents are not allowed to reserve public spots, and did not actually prevent anyone from parking in the spot. Instead, he displayed the sign on a pile of snow next to the spot so that anyone who dared leave a car there would see the warning.
“I don’t believe that it’s right for someone to reap the benefits of someone else’s hard labor,” said Bergman, who tied his defense of why he should have his parking spot to vague concepts of liberalism and conservatism. “You know, you didn’t contribute to the hard work and time to unshovel it, and you think you are entitled to park there.”
And, well, to Bergman’s credit, the sign seemed to work. He left the house around noon Monday, and when he returned at 1 a.m., the parking spot was still open.
He plans to go back to the studio today. The sign will remain.