You’ve seen them; you may even be one…you know…the car driver in search of the perfect spot in the lot. The one who will circle the lot for an hour to snag the spot just outside the drug store door so they can run that five minute errand. The one who will “stand their ground” hovering adjacent to the spot being vacated by the previous parker; giving the “Death Stare” to any nabob utterly foolish enough to think that they were there first and that somehow they were entitled (by the parking lot squatters laws) to the about-to-be-emptied space.
I was (in a land far away and long ago) ready to park in a spot at a Taco Bell restaurant when some Carrion Driver dispatched his diminutive son to STAND IN THE PARKING SPACE and therefore claim it as his own. Fleeting moment wise, I did ponder the possibility of running the little, OshKosh B’gosh-bedecked animated parking cone down to emphasize that the spot was ACTUALLY MINE…but then, with my son in the car, I thought, perhaps, that would not demonstrate the most Christian response to life’s little irritants.
Then, just last week, there was the little old lady from Pasadena (“Go, Granny Go!”) who blocked my wife’s exit from our parking space just so she (Granny) could claim it before anyone else did. The trouble was, said little old lady WAS BLOCKING OUR WAY OUT so that not even she could gain access to the coveted spot. It was a complete parking blockade: we could not get out; she could not get in; no other car could maneuver around us to get anywhere at all. I wondered what she was thinking and then I wondered why I wondered what she was thinking because she was clearly not thinking at all.
Anyone who doubts the reality of original sin or the extent of same should spend a few minutes in parking lot observation mode. There, unscripted (“spontaneous and unrehearsed”), the persistence of our perniciousness plays out for all the world to see.
And that’s another thing: (with a special warning for those prone to auto nose picking…not, you know, automatic nose picking, but nose picking in the auto)…when you are in your car, other people can see exactly what you are doing. There is no Klingon cloaking device; when you gloat to yourself and pump your fist in the air with glee because you pounced on the parking space…We.Can.See.You.
Enough you Carrion Drivers…you Parking Lot Vultures…give it up already. There are acres of parking available just a few yards away. Studies on the psychology of driving abound. Numerous theories float out there in the “PhD-sphere” on what motivates us to act so selfishly and stupidly when we get behind the wheel. I don’t know how much truth is in any of them; I do know that, when we pursue a parking space as if it’s a divinely bestowed right, no good can result. Our anger can burst forth like a ripe pimple…and nobody wants that. [Please hold your “Eewws” and “Yucks” until the end of the blog post.]
I once asked a fellow driver [name withheld lest I have to go into Witness Protection] if he OR she (notice my clever disguise of the driver’s gender) would have responded in a church parking lot to Parking Lot Vultures in the manner he OR she (see, consistency in my gender masking) reacted out there in the mall parking lot. I did not get a response; well, I did get a glare which is, technically, a response (of the non-verbal but borderline-lethal-anyway kind).
Gentle is the way; generous is the way; being slow to become angry is the way. How can we say that Jesus–author of the call to meekness and mercy–is our Lord if we seek lordship of the parking space? Or lordship of anything else for that matter.
I have to go now; my parking space just opened up…why do people take so long to put the car in reverse? Can they not see that I am waiting here? I am VERY late for my Parking Lot Vultures Anonymous meeting.
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