What is it with this need people seem to have to find a parking space closest to the store? Last weekend, on a Saturday, God help me, I needed to get something from the craft store. The craft store would be “Michael’s.” I couldn’t wait, I needed the little 3/4 inch wooden balls they sell, for a project I was working on. I couldn’t think of any other place to get them. I normally order that stuff online, but I didn’t have time for the shipping. My wife, if you can believe it, even refused to go with me.
“I’m not going down to that madhouse on a Saturday,” she said.
The strip mall where the “Michael’s” is located has a “Barnes & Noble,” a “Toys R Us”, an “OfficeMax,” and a “Michael’s.” The major anchor retailers amongst a few fast food chains, and check-cashing places, and a “UPS Store.” That used to be “MailBoxes Etc.” I liked that name. Made you think there were mailboxes in there, obviously, but other stuff. Could be anything.
So I turn into the strip mall, and there is not a parking space to be found in front of the “Barnes & Noble,” which happens to be next to the “Toys R Us.” I immediately made the assumption that the majority of the cars were not in the book store. A little further down was my destination, and the lot in front of “OfficeMax” was almost vacant, but the spaces in the eight rows in front of the next door, “Michael’s,” were packed solid. I would have to drive around a little until someone put those backup lights on, and without looking in their review mirror, would start to back out. I picked a row of cars about mid-store, and headed down. As I got almost to the end of the row, close to the store, I saw lights on my left, so I stopped, allowing the car to back out. No thank you wave, or anything, the silver Camry just sped off in the opposite direction, going way to fast for a parking lot. In front of me, having come from the other direction, a car appeared. We’re both stopped, eyeing this parking space, she looked at me, and put on her blinker.
Now, where the hell did she think I was going? I was stopped. I had let the car out. So I put on my blinker. She signaling a right turn, me now signaling a left. She looked at me again, and then whipped the car into the space. A space, I might add, which would have been difficult for me to put my truck into even from the far lane where I was. Challenge won. I proceeded down the row, and back up another, and finally ended up parking in the “OfficeMax” lot, where there were hardly any cars, but a short walk to the store. This happens to me a lot, but I really don’t mind the walk. Cars were continuously circling the parked cars in front of the “Michael’s,” refusing to park in open spaces just a few yards away.
What doesn’t happen to me a lot is what happened that same afternoon when we decided, again God help us, to go to “WalMart.” Why my wife wouldn’t go to “Michael’s” but would happily go to “WalMart” on a Saturday afternoon has still not been determined, although, as you might imagine, it was discussed. Again, the lot is full, so I pull down a row, mid-store, and when I get almost to the end, a white truck is backing out of a space right up front. I turned and asked, “Is it a handicap space?” My wife confirms that it isn’t. I pulled into the space, right next to the cart-return, across from the row of handicap spaces, right at the front door of the store. I looked around. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I noticed a car was coming down the row, so I put my backup lights on, just for fun.
“This has never happened to me before,” I said. “Look at this. First spot in the row. Right next to the cart-return.”
When we came out, there was a cart next to my truck. One car away from the cart-return! I don’t think anything pisses me off more than people that don’t take the time to put the cart in the cart-return when they’re done. Guess they’ve never had a dent in their doors from a runaway cart. I have. Several times.
When we lived in Arizona, the challenge was to find the space at the mall with SHADE. A lot of the trees in the parking lots in Arizona, aren’t very big yet. The population growth has created many new strip malls, so the trees aren’t tall enough yet to give off a lot of shade. A few square feet at best, but people will drive around and around waiting for the back up lights on a car parked in the shade. The trees, if there are any, are planted a good distance from the store, but that doesn’t matter in Arizona. Shade can lower the interior temperature of you car by a few degrees. So instead of it being 140 inside your car, its only 135. In Arizona, handicap spaces are not in the shade.
Speaking of handicap spaces, I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen someone whose is truly, what I would define as “handicapped,” get out of a car parked in a handicap space. “He doesn’t look too handicapped to me,” I’ll say. “Doesn’t look like a little more walking would hurt him at all.”
Before everyone gets down on me, I don’t have a real problem with handicap spaces. I just think they’re a bit overdone. I hate to think there are that many handicapped people, driving cars for one, and then going to the same store at the same time. I also think that getting a handicap permit must be way to easy. At least walk with a limp or something. I remember seeing “Maternity Spaces” in a store parking lot once. I think that’s a great idea. Maybe they can get handicap permits now, I don’t know.
So I don’t waste gas driving around a parking lot waiting for a good space to open up close up. I prefer, in fact, to park my vehicles in the “south 40” away from all the carts that haven’t been corralled in the cart-return, people who can’t put a car between two white lines to save their life, and scratches, dents and paint chip created by careless people getting in and out of their cars. But, if I have a reserved space, like the one in my driveway, “You Take-a My Space, I Break-a You Face.” Just had to use that. Saw it on movie I was watching the other day.