We all know one piece of advice to help us lose weight, or just get in better health — park farther away and walk to your destination.
Of course, that is excellent advice. Put more steps in, what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. Except …
When it comes to parking, I am, to borrow my son’s descriptor of himself, a “parkfectionist.” The idea is that the way we park our vehicles is as important as how we drive: it all shows character. People who park carelessly and end up taking two spots, who don’t know parallel parking yet do it anyway, disastrously, thoughtlessly — they are despicably selfish and self-centered. They are the same people who cut you off in traffic, who never show turn signals, who impatiently honk at you if you don’t start moving within a millisecond of that light turning green.
I like to think of myself as a good driver. I always show my turn signal, I wave a rearview mirror thank you with my whole hand when someone lets me into a lane, and in turn, I let others in when they ask with turn signals, and I always, always take pains with my parking.
I think of parking from the point of view of a get-away driver. What is the easiest exit strategy? What the second-best exit strategy? Am I on the line so that others can’t park next to me? If so, I better rearrange the vehicle. My parallel parking skills are legendary — I work hard at them. I actually taught my son to park before I taught him how to properly drive.
But there is one thing that gladdens me — a parking spot that is close to my destination. It is, most definitely, a boost for my ego, when I find the closest parking spot possible. Even when I go to the health club, I look for the best spot — God forbid I should take a few extra steps before I climb on the step machine for my health.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s a bit like being a hunter and stalking my prey — the better I am, the stealthier I am, the closer I am to take that shot, the more it shows my prowess, my skill level.
I know I am not the only one who feels this way — otherwise, nearly all the close spots would be available much more frequently — especially at places like the mall and health clubs. But because these primo spots are so rarely freed up, I’m thinking that it is not just the out-of-shape, the larger people, and those who simply want to get in and get out, it is almost everyone who prefers to park as close as possible.
All I’m saying is that I’m not going to judge people for wanting to drive more and walk less, even if it means they have to circle the parking lot several times. Glass houses, people! I certainly will not be throwing the first stone.
I’m not saying that it’s right and good — and driving around searching for the best parking spot is certainly not great for the environment that I so fervently want to protect. What I am saying that I am not going to change, that to find a really great parking spot just makes my mood better and, though I recognize the validity of arguing against that, there are so few things in life that come as cheaply and feel as good as the getting the very closest spot in the lot or on the street.