Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In My Element--Finding a Parking Spot


The beginning of relationships can be awkward: freshman year roommates, blind dates, bloggers.

To avoid “boy is it ever (insert weather observation) out there” or “of all the cheeses on that platter over there, which is your favorite?” I have a collection of ice breakers I use.

Being new to the blog and wanting to share my element with you I thought I would use the best of my ice breakers: “What do you do better than anyone you know?”


Not sure? I'll give you some examples: my brother is the better than anyone he knows at catching things he accidentally drops (cell phone, keys and Jonathan Kelley at Element Bars is better at Nintendo’s “Contra” than anyone he knows. I am better at parallel parking than anyone I know.

By parallel parking I do not mean maneuvering between orange cones in the blog parking lot. My parallel parking skills are at their best in urban settings when parking spot demand outweighs supply and there is inconsistent spot turnover. In these situation you need horn deafness, know how to carnival, ability to spot the spot, ride the rear and embrace the yellow.
When I get the opportunity to use these skills I am in my element.

Spotting the spot- My eyes are open for sudden movements of cars and gradual movements of people. Here are some particulars I look for:
• Brake lights of parked cars (a sign that the car has been turned on or is backing up).
• People leaving work tend to say good-bye to coworkers with keys in hand.
• People with lots of groceries or shopping bag that need to get to the car to unload cargo.
• Illegal spots near fire hydrants at the beginning of the block where I stalk like a Lion on the Sahara listening to sports talk radio.
Riding the rear- When a fellow competitor is trying to get into a spot that either is difficult or too small I move in right behind them. I DO NOT HONK, the competitors behind me will do that. When the horns sound, I make eye-contact shrug my shoulders and mouth the words “I’m sorry” at the flustered parker.

Embracing the yellow-If I have driven around for a while and can’t find anything. I take the pole position instead of racing through the yellow. When the light goes green I dictate the pace at which the pack goes around the block. Perhaps something will open up or I’ll spot someone trying to get into a car.

Horn deafness- Embracing the yellow, setting a slow pace and trying to get into a tight space tends to anger people in the form of honking.. . . or so I’ve been told. I don’t hear horns.
Carnival-ing- Once I have found a spot a few inches bigger than my car or more, I find a way to get my car into that spot. Even if it means hitting a bumper or two. . .several times. Like bumper cars at a carnival I figure out a way to get my car into the spot no matter the contact it takes.
Is the ice broken?
I could write many more words about the skills in bold up above--but in order to break the ice I need to hear what you are better at than anyone you know. For my Thursday post I will continue the conversation with more about my element, your element and the intricacies of parallel parking.

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