Parking Lots

Obessesive Compulsive Parking Disorder.

I have a couple of rules that I apply to myself when it comes to work.

One. never eat at your desk. I think this is a great rule because it forces me to get up, I don’t force my coworkers to listen to me eating or invade their space with smells that I find appealing and they may not, and I have to get away from work for at least 45 minutes to an hour.

Two. Leave the building at lunch. I don’t care where I go or how long I am gone. I have to leave the building. This does a couple of things. It gets me some exercise. I get exposed to sun and fresh air. It clears my head, and recharges my creative juices.

Oh and if at all possible, I walk to when ever I can to get to my lunch destination. This isn’t a rule, it’s just a nice add-on.

The reason I am posting this is because of strange phenomenon that takes place at the building where I work. In my office location there are over 6000 employees. There are parking spaces for more than 8000, so there is no shortage of both covered, and uncovered parking.

So what is the phenomenon I am talking about then?

The phenomenon is this; there are people who leave the building at 11:00 AM and go to their car. They get in their car and drive from where ever they have parked and then sit idling at a stop sign waiting for a gate to one of the lots to open up. You see there is one specific underground lot that only has room for 1000 or so cars. And there is a group of individuals that covet these spots more than anything in the world. Some of them sit for as long as an hour and a half, with the engine running, waiting for a single driver to leave, just so they can get a spot in this lot. Seriously. I have witnessed this for the last 6 years. I have to say I think it is just sad.

There is a second phenomenon that I like to call “Parking lot vultures.” These people are less concerned with a specific lot. They just want to move their car a few feet closer to the door of the building. I call them “Vultures” because they spend an entire lunch hour circling the parking decks waiting for anyone closer to leave. Some of these people will wait until the closest spot opens up and then pounce on it.

Both groups are just sad as far as I am concerned. I keep thinking about the amount of life energy that they spend each day waiting for a lousy parking spot. The amount of money they spend. The wear and tear on their cars. The harm to the environment caused from the exhaust of their idling car. Seriously, what a waste of time and energy. If the average time spent circling and idling is 45 minutes a day, over the course of a year it equals 112.5 hours. (.45 X 5 X 50 = 112.5) That is 16 days. 16 days spent sitting in your car waiting for a better parking space. If I had 16 extra days in the year, I sure as hell wouldn’t spend it in my car waiting for a parking space. I have better things to do, and life is to damn short for that. (if I am in my car I want to be driving it)

Now before someone gets all up in arms and sends me a comment about how some people can’t walk long distances from the car to the office, or something along those lines; the maximum distance from the farthest parking spot to the farthest office is less than three blocks. And it is entirely possible to walk inside almost the entire way, even when you park in a surface lot. Although on a day like today I’m not sure why anyone would want to. It’s a beautiful 71 degrees and sunny out.