Standing in the breakroom, drinking my first maple coldpress of the year (milk, maple syrup, coldpress coffee) I gazed idly out the windows and became fascinated by our parking spaces, particularly our preferred parking spaces.
"Hey" you may be thinking "That is not fascinating. That is not fascinating at all!" And I will not argue with you, mostly because my arguments with hypothetical people tend to grow quickly out of control. But I will say this:
Fascination is relative.
I am upstairs in fiction, facing a wall of books. Curiously enough Finnegans Wake is not far to my right (see my recent blog posts on this), along with Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. There's a nice, vintage copy of The Castle. Oh, and Henry James. Do I like Henry James? I can't remember. I do like the binding of this book, We the Drowned, though I've never heard of it. It has a boat in a stylized sea. I turn around and there is a novel called Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine. It catches my eye. So then, with this and so much more, what shall I be fascinated by? I don't know. I don't know! There is too much and I am overwhelmed. I am fascinated by everything and nothing. I am inclined to refrain rather than reach out.
But, hey, let's grab a book completely at random. All the Flowers in Shanghai, by Duncan Jepson. Now lock me in a small, windowless room with a nice recliner, lighting, and nothing else. Tell me you'll let me out in a few hours. The chances are good I'll get pretty fascinated with this All the Flowers in Shanghai, even though it is a book I am now happy to return to its place on the shelf. Indeed, I do so without even a glimmer of regret.
Which brings us back to our preferred parking. I don't know whether it is fascinating because there is nothing else to look at out there in the parking lot, or it is so fascinating that it beat out all the other super fascinating things that are going on out in the parking lot, but one way or another it has captured my feverish attention. All afternoon I have been keeping my eye on these parking spots and I am finally ready to share with you what I've learned.
First, let me explain what these preferred parking spaces are. We have:
Traditional handicapped spots, many near the front entrance, and one or two very far from the front entrance, but close to the staff/volunteers entrance.
Reserved carpool and vanpool parking, again, quite a few near the front entrance.
Reserved fuel efficient vehicle parking nearish the front entrance.
Parking for blogging clerks, extremely close to the employee entrance. Naw. Not really. I'd feel kind of funny parking there anyway. Though I am touched by the thought.
Now I will tell you what I have learned, through vigilant spying, about who all parks in these various designated spaces:
1. Traditional handicapped spots.
These spots have a long established tradition and law, and I think it is highly rare that anyone without a handicapped permit is parking in them. Nevertheless the range of the apparent disability in the people emerging from cars in these spots is extreme. The most fascinating thing I have seen with these spaces, on more than one occasion, is people parking in the one of the handicapped spots near the staff entrance, where they emerge from their properly disability certified vehicle, and walk across the whole length of the quite large parking lot, passing dozens of far closer, open spots, to get to the entrance. The privilege itself seems to trump the necessity for the privilege.
2. Reserved for carpool and vanpool parking.
For this kind of spot to have had even a remote shot at a positive effect I believe these signs should read "Reserved for vehicles carrying three or more people". From my spying I have determined that this sign basically reads to people as "A place to park your big van. You may also park here if your vehicle is capable, theoretically, of carrying three or more people".
3. Reserved for fuel efficient vehicle parking.
Like number two this kind of parking spot is part of our being a green, Leed Certified building. Also like number two it is completely ineffective due to overly ambiguous signage. I think when the Prius was more of a fad, in the early days of these signs, they sort of worked because Priuses would come from hundreds of miles away to park in these spots and when none were available they would wait for hours for these fuel efficient spots to open up. The better sign would need to say "Reserved for electric vehicles and vehicles that get 40 MPG or better". I believe the signs are currently understood to say "Reserved for vehicles that are not large SUVs". The exception to this understanding involves the large SUVs that park in these spots because they're confusedly pissed off about the whole thing.
Of course, there were all kinds of other fascinating parking habits I observed in my spying, but that falls outside of the purview of this post. Perhaps I will write about them in another post, but I may be overwhelmed by the wealth of riches and have to turn away. Indeed, to write about them, I may have to be locked in a room, which I sort of am, a big room, the size of a library, for about eight hours, four or five days a week.