The Hamilton Post
Parking Lot Loser
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Everyone innately knows what a parking lot loser is. It's the unfortunates who are forced to park further than the coveted front row parking spots, and must walk to their desired destination.
I, on the other hand, have vowed never to succumb to parking outside the upper echelon arena, circling around and around as if hunting for big game, for prime parking.
As an expert, I have trained my eye to search empty spaces, two rows at a time, always aware of patrons coming and going, and the possibly of vacancies.
Living by the beach, I pride myself in finding parking spaces on Fourth of July, where parking is virtually impossible. “Excuse me,” I politely inquire, spying out dripping wet beach goers, “you wouldn’t happen to be leaving would you?” Once I get a “yes” I ingeniously offer rides to their car, and bingo, I made my big game acquisition, the coveted parking space.
This vow of never walking further than the immediate parking lot, had become a consuming passion which I accepted as “normal.' Owning a four wheel drive jeep, I have even gone to the extent of engineering my own off road spots, defending my position, as there were no signs stating "no parking."
When all else failed, my last resort was red zones. This took great analytical skill, to insure other cars could exist lest you get towed. Realizing, that eventually the $50 ticket would surely come, if amortized over five offenses, that was merely $10 each time to park, which I considered a convenient valet charge which I was happy to pay.
One day while going through this ritual, circling around and around, finally on the 5th circle, a friend of mine sitting dumbfounded in the passage seat, asked the obvious,”Lisa, what are you doing?”
“Finding a parking space,” I answered slightly annoyed.
“There is an entire lot above, Why don’t you just park there and walk?’ She sincerely questioned.
What a shocking statement. Walk and be a parking lot loser!? It never crossed my mind.
Park and walk? In the moment of truth, I had to face my obsession.
‘You do realize we have spent 10 minutes circling, when we could have just parked and walked?” She stated as if interrogating in an intervention.
Seeing my addiction for the first time, “You know I never thought of that.”
“Want to try?” She said as if hand holding me out of my compulsive behavior, reminding me when I asked my daughter if she was ready to give up baby bottles.
“Okay, I’ll try.”
Suddenly driving past the coveted parking up the hill, was a new found freedom. I parked immediately, and courageously got out of the car and walked to the destination feeling like I had earned an AA button of sobriety.
The True Test
Weeks had passed and as I was waiting for a car to exit to pull in the parking space, suddenly another car pulled up the same aisle, and turned on the turning signal. It was an obvious standoff, who would get the spot first?
Suddenly, I saw my obsession. Yet, I wasn’t obsessed anymore. Turning off my blinker, I waved the other car on, as if to say, go ahead, you first.
I parked further away, because I was not a parking lot loser, I was a parking lot winner that walked.
Lisa Hamilton/ The Hamilton Post