The Science of Parking

April 15th, 2008 / #cars, #observations, #random

In my twenty years on this planet and in our society, I’ve been afforded ample opportunity to observe the inner workings of life and the way people act. I am by no means an expert on social science or anything like that, but it occurs to me that life and success therein can be boiled down to a very fundamental science: the science of parking.

Throughout life, we all go through various stages. Be they natural human progressions like learning to walk or professional progressions like landing that big job with the fancy corner office, these stages are extremely relevant to one simple thing – parking. And while the type of parking varies as life plunges on, the issue always remains the same. Each one of us yearns for that parking space we don’t have currently.

I realize that this idea is just a matter of the grass being greener on the other side, but it’s quite telling to see how this simple science of temporary spatial occupation evolves as we grow.

When you’re little, you can’t walk. For whatever reason, the good Lord didn’t bless us with thunder thighs out of the womb, so we must acquiesce to the whims of our parents and park ourselves wherever they see fit. This is all well and good until you figure out that there is more to this world than the juvenile jail of your crib. You want a new parking space – a better space to your liking, perhaps with a view of WGN and Bozo the Clown and 24 hour security in the form of your favorite blanket.

Then, you grow to be a child of school going age. You’re driven to school every day until you see the sweet parking space the fifth graders have for their bikes. You want that freedom. And wouldn’t you know it, you are given the chance at a new parking space when your folks deem you old enough. Sure, it’s a bit cramped, but when you can ride your bicycle to school yourself, who cares? You have your own parking space which says that you are older and more mature.

However, these faux parking spaces, as necessary and wonderful as they may be can never compare to the thrill of having an actual parking space for, you know, an automobile. And to consolidate the boundless task of describing the individual steps that lead to the pinnacle of parking satisfaction, I will summarize every man’s professional goal in life: Like The Jeffersons, move on up.

You spend your entire working life climbing the ladder, jumping through the hoops, and moving ever-so-closer to the prized parking space right in front of the building. It goes like this until, through your immeasurable hard work and dedication, you can finally pull into that space in the morning without fear of crossing an executive type or incurring a fine from the Parking Gods whose power is matched only by the mighty Zeus or Athena.

But what then?

You get tired; you slow down.

You slow down all the way to the point where you look back on your lifelong journey from parking garage to parking garage, from meter to meter, and you suddenly ask yourself why you did it.

Was it for the fame? Was it for the glory? Was it for the money? No, it was only for that one parking space.

Maybe I should start riding the bus.


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