Skip to main content

Neurotic Parkers

No, this post isn’t about a family of mentally unhealthy folks with the surname Parker. It’s about people parking. In lots.

I recently decided to pony up the monthly fee to park my car in the covered deck next to our office building. My only regret upon doing so was that I had not done it earlier, and that I instead subjected my black Pontiac to the 110-degree heat of 75% of Texas’ hottest summer on record. (It’s not officially the hottest yet, but that record — set in 1980 — will be falling this afternoon.) I now feel much better not only about the longevity of my car, which despite being 5 years old still has only 17,000 miles on it, but also about my ability to breathe on the way home each day.

But there is something bizarre about the parking lots at this office building, whether it is the free rooftop deck where my car used to reside, or the covered lower level where it does now. It’s the other people in it. And the fact that for some reason they feel it necessary to park in different places all of the time.

I’ve never encountered this anywhere else. In the past, when I’ve routinely traveled to the same place on multiple occasions — such as the office, or school, or what-have-you — it was clear that most people tended to park in the same place all the time. It became part of their routine. Most folks park as close to the door as possible. Some stake out a corner in the back and choose it each day. Others are loyal only to a particular row or side of the lot, but they usually stick to it.

Now that I am in Texas, I have observed a fourth group: those who neurotically roam from space to space every day, like the mythical three bears testing the mattresses in hopes of finding the one that’s “just right”. Since I’ve been working here, I’ve been evicted from first one corner spot and then another by people who suddenly decide to start parking there, then disappear — only to be replaced by others — days or weeks later. Usually you find clean and classy cars in corner spaces, but I was mostly finding dirty SUVs and dented sedans. I don’t get it. What are they protecting?

I’m experiencing the same thing in the covered garage, but at least down there, plenty of extra “out-of-the-way” spaces are available for me to snag if I find somebody in my spot of choice. And chances are, when I come in the next day, I’ll find the same car parked a few spaces away, apparently at random.

You wouldn’t think that it would be difficult to park a billion miles away from the door, but fate always has surprises waiting.