Saturday, December 18, 2010

Park Place

Sorry that I haven't posted anything for a while. I'll blame the rush of the holidays. Things get busy, and before you know it, three weeks have gone by.

Actually, I've spent most of the last three weeks circling the lot looking for a parking spot.

At Christmas approaches, shopping gets harder and harder to do. And one of the worst things about shopping is trying to find a parking spot. And one of the reasons parking spots are so hard to find is because most shopping mall parking lots seem as if they were designed by either six-year-olds or idiots. (Or, quite possibly, six-year-old idiots.)

You've been to these places. Parking spots at weird angles. Alternating between angled and straight-on parking for no apparent reason. Lines repainted in such a way that you can't tell which lines are the new ones and which ones are the old ones. Stop signs at intersections that don't need them. Intersections that need stop signs that don't have them. Intersections where three directions have stop signs, but the fourth doesn't, and no one knows why. Strange islands and cement barriers seemingly dropped at random from a low flying helicopter. These crazy lots make it difficult to park under optimal conditions. But, parking at Christmastime is far from optimal.

Add some snow. The snow gets plowed into piles that each occupy seven or eight parking spots. Some of the spots are only partially covered by the plowed piles, so you aren't sure if you can park there or not, often ending up with one of your tires on a snowbank two feet higher than the rest of the car.

One of my favorites is when people park before the snow is plowed and they can't see where the lines are. Then, later, when the snow melts and you can see that everyone else has parked totally askew of the lines, you are faced with a choice: park alongside the other cars, pretending you don't see the lines, or blaze the trail of being the first to park in the lines correctly, hoping that all subsequent parkers will follow your lead. (And, no matter which way you choose, when you come back to your car everyone else will have made the other choice, and you will look like an idiot.)

Parking lots are at their fullest during the Christmas shopping season, when the number of parking spots is often limited because of piles of snow. Why can't the busiest shopping days be during the summer when all the spots are available. It's kind of like fireworks season being in the middle of the summer, when a stray spark might ignite the dry grass and start a conflagration that could burn down the entire town. Why not switch and light fireworks in the winter when there's no fear of anything catching fire, and do the Christmas shopping in the summer when all the parking spots are available?

And all this is not even factoring in the human factor. People is stupid. Let me just say, if you see me walking towards my car and you think you want to wait for me to get in my car and pull out so you can take my parking spot, you better be prepared for a long wait. Especially if I have the kids with me. It takes approximately 43 minutes to get the kids out of the stroller, get the kids into their car seats, get the damn stroller folded up correctly (never as easy as it sounds), and then get myself into the car buckled and ready to go. Your best bet is to just keep on going and find another spot. But, if you do decide to wait for me to pull out, you dang-well better leave me enough room so I can actually get out of the spot without backing into you!

Parking this time of year is absolutely crazy! But I think I've found a solution. Next year, I'm going to do all my shopping online.

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