Today we’re going to start with a little imagination exercise. Get comfy!
I want you to imagine going to the grocery store (or the drugstore, or your job, or your doctor’s office–basically any place with a parking lot will do). Imagine yourself driving into the lot, and looking for a parking space. Head toward a good space…now pull into it…now hop out of the car and head inside. How long did it take you to get from your car to the door? One minute? Less than that? Congratulate yourself on finding an excellent spot!
Now imagine the next person who comes into the lot. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you got the last really good spot in the lot; all the rest of the available spaces are way out in no-man’s-land, where it’s going to take you several minutes to get to the door and you’re going to have to cross the parking lot entrance (which as we all know is an awful lot like playing Frogger). You’re right up next to the door, all happy and feelin’ cute, but the next person is stuck parking in the wayback.
So how would it make you feel if you learned that the next person into the lot was, say, your grandpa, the one who can’t afford the hip replacement he needs but is too stubborn to get a handicapped tag? Or a foster mother who’s just gotten a new emergency-placement child who is freaked all the way out and is extremely reluctant to do much of anything, but there’s nothing in the house for dinner and the nice lady just can’t bring herself to leave the kiddo with strangers since he’s already had enough upheaval for one day? Feel free to substitute “newly returned veteran”, “extremely attractive member of whatever gender you prefer who has broken his/her leg in an awful snowboarding accident”, or “little old lady from Pasadena”…whatever works best for you. You should also feel free to imagine that it’s snowing, or raining, or sleeting, or that the zombie hordes have descended upon us and this person is trying to reach the building for safety.
Here’s the point of this: most of us park up close to the building because we’re lazy. We are fully capable of walking all the way across the parking lot (and with the exceptions of giant places like the stadium or the concert hall, that usually means about a two- to three-minute walk, tops), but we don’t want to. ‘Cause, y’know, heaven forbid we might inconvenience ourselves in any way.
But the problem is that as a result of our hogging the good parking spaces, Aunt Bee over there, who walks at approximately half your speed, has just been involuntarily signed up for a 5-minute hike through the lot (and remember, she has to play a round of Frogger halfway through) with the freezing rain hitting her face and making her arthritis flare up even worse than usual…you get my drift.
So I propose that we start a Parking Lot Revolution. If you are at all capable of doing so, please consider parking at the back of the parking lot (or take public transportation, or bike, or walk, but that’s an argument for another time). You’ll burn an extra few calories getting to the door, which I know I could stand to do, and you’ll leave that spot at the front free for someone who might need it more than you do. Sure, it might get snatched up by the Probably-Spoiled Entitled-Lookin’ Teenager who was riding your bumper all the way through the lot, but as long as we’re giving people the benefit of the doubt, maybe TeenieBopper is actually there to grab dinner fixins so she can go babysit the kids of the neighbor who was just rushed to the hospital with a heart attack, so she needs a great space so she can run in and run out and get back to the house in 10 minutes or less.
Whatever; I could do this all day. Short form: Try parking at the back of the lot. It’ll burn some calories for you, and leaving the good space for someone else is a nice thing to do.
Let’s start a little revolution, shall we? One parking lot at a time.