During a border-crossing car stop, in a verbal interaction between a US citizen and a peace officer, the peace officer can be heard to use the expression in the title.

  • "You parked us under a tree, huh?"
  • "You parked this under a tree, huh?"

Did I hear that right? Is that a reference to something or just some phrase carrying a deeper meaning? What does it mean to park someone or something under a tree?

Link to the interaction; the phrase is uttered at the 6 minutes and 10 seconds timestamp.

For context: just before the phrase, the man can be heard defending his freedom to travel and two of the officers leave the immediate scene, presumably to consult with their supervisor. If you have an idea about what the following phrase "they only sing for the rich" means in this context, I'd be glad to hear your take on that too.

It appears that the peace officer noticed bird droppings on the roof of the automobile and commented on that indirectly, as to avoid being offensive.

  • 2
    Could be the driver knew the stop would take a while, and revealed his agenda by parking out of the sun. "So you knew you'd need shade for this one, right?" Apr 19 at 20:48
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    I think the word you heard as "us" is actually "this," referring to the man's car.
    – alphabet
    Apr 19 at 22:02
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    I can't find any reference to the "sing" saying, so it's not a common proverb like the speaker suggests. It seems like it's referring to how law enforcement (or society in general) treats poor and wealthy people differently.
    – Barmar
    Apr 19 at 22:05
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    @YosefBaskin That does seem like a good explanation for why the driver parked under the tree, but why is it something the cop would being up? He knew he'd be there a while because cops are likely to detain people who look poor, but the cop isn't going to admit that.
    – Barmar
    Apr 19 at 22:11
  • The cop is pairing the parking with the displayed pluck. Perhaps piling on, perhaps insightful. Apr 19 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


"You parked this under a tree, huh?"

= You parked this car under a tree, huh?"

Did I hear that right?


It appears that the peace officer noticed bird droppings on the roof of the automobile and commented on that indirectly, as to avoid being offensive.

It wasn’t indirectly, it was directly and it couldn’t be offensive – it’s an observation.

"they only sing for the rich"

[If you had been rich, the birds would not have shit on your car.] Birds shit on poor people’s cars – birds only sing for rich people. This is a pretty obvious analogy: The world treats poor people badly; only the rich are treated properly.

  • In my view, directly commenting on that would be "I see bird droppings on your roof, how did you get that?" or maybe "You have bird shit all over your car roof". The comment was directly addressed at the occupant of the automobile, but I was referring to the meaning. The meaning was indirect. The person might as well had noting but fallen leaves on his car after parking under tree. There is no direct way of knowing what the peace officer saw, for us - hence "indirect comment". You'll have to forgive me if I didn't express myself clearly. Apr 21 at 1:44
  • I've looped that recording maybe 50 times by now. I don't hear "CAR" in there. Anyway, I think your interpretation of both statements by the driver is accurate, given the context. Thanks. Apr 21 at 1:47
  • @Ярослав Рахматуллин I could have save you some time. "= You parked this car under a tree, huh?" is simply an expansion of "You parked under a tree, huh?" To park is ambitransitive and an object can always be inferred.
    – Greybeard
    Apr 22 at 21:30

He's looking up at the roof of the car, so I'd surmise that he said, "You parked this under a tree, huh?" because he was making small talk while they waited for the other officer who'd just left to come back by mentioning to the guy that he noticed what he was driving was covered in bird poop from having been previously parked under a tree.

That matches up with the guy responding, "They only sing for the rich," which appears to refer to birds too, the implication being they sing for the rich but poop on the poor. He's painting himself as a poor victim.

Yes, it's a weird response, but the guy the officer is talking to is weird, acting weird throughout the video. The normal response wouldn't have been to say that birds only sing for the rich but to complain about birds pooping on his car, which the officer could commiserate with in further small talk. The guy's weird response or comeback led to the officer not knowing what to say next though, so he just got awkward, didn't say anything, and sort of fidgeted and shifted back and forth where he stood as he continued to wait for the other officer to get back.

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    Without judging why anyone said anything: I watched the video clip and I agree the phrase is "parked this" (the vehicle) and not "parked us" -- which apparently makes the question moot.
    – equin0x80
    Apr 20 at 5:59
  • Earlier, he accuses the peace officers of being "revenuers for a foreign corporation", which perhaps means that in he man's opinion both the birds and the peace officers are working for someone else and do not have the interests of poor people in mind. At least that's how I understand it. Apr 20 at 14:10

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