Parking Sharks - A Human Condition
We’ve all seen them. Cruising around slowly, lurking behind a corner or following some unsuspecting victim, ready to move in on a moment’s notice. That’s right, I’m talking about the parking sharks. You know, those people who drift about the parking lot for minutes on end as if they’ve nowhere to go only to pounce at the first opportunity to grab a parking space closest to their desired destination.
I’ve witnessed this exact scene countless times and it still amuses me to watch. I go to my local gym a few times a week and I always elect to do my cardio exercise upstairs with the big picture windows that overlook the huge parking lot. Instead of counteracting the tedious boredom of a cardio workout by watching the multitude of T.V.’s that are there for my viewing pleasure or listening to my favorite tunes on my iPod, I choose to watch this dance of the parking sharks that unfolds before me.
The scene is set
This particular lot has many vertical rows of parking stalls that run up and down in front of my gym. There are a couple of other small establishments that serve this same lot, but the majority of business is for the gym. I start my workout and watch as the first shark enters the lot. It cruises through slowly making its way up and down the rows of cars looking for the one spot up front. There are plenty of available stalls further back in the lot but the shark avoids these areas like a storm at sea. It desperately turns away for fear of getting too close to the void of empty white lines and curbs as if they will disappear into a black hole and never return.
Soon a pedestrian walks along the sidewalk looking to cross the small road that separates the sidewalk of businesses from the parking lot. The shark sees the opportunity developing and drops in behind the unsuspecting person as they enter the lot. Soon this person sees the shark following close behind them and glances nervously back at the shark as they walk. The person then walks between two parked cars to make his way to his own car thinking that he has dodged the suspicious shark only to have said shark zip up the row and back down the next to witness this person approaching a car parked in the front row.
A problem arises though as this person has to fumble for the keys to open the trunk and deposit an assortment of bags. Not to be deterred, the shark deftly blocks the row from oncoming traffic and waits….. More sharks try to turn up the row but this shark won’t move. They honk at him and he bares his menacing teeth by turning on his hazard lights. Time seems to stand still as the person who has finished with the trunk enters the car. The brake lights come on and you see the telltale sign of exhaust as the car starts up. Nothing seems to immediately happen as the person in the car, who feels safer now, tempts fate for a moment by just sitting there with the brake lights on. And the shark still waits……
Feeling the wrath of the parking shark bearing down on him he finally relents. The shark almost seems to shudder as the white light of the reverse backup light comes on and the car starts to move out of the stall. The parking shark slowly backs off, allowing barely enough room for the car to make a 3-point turn in an attempt to exit the stall. The shark is guarding his spot and won’t let anyone else dare think of taking his prize. As the shark enters the stall and parks, two figures emerge from the vehicle. To my surprise, it’s a fit looking couple that I see frequently at the gym coming in for their one hour spin class.
How many of you have witnessed such an event? I see this same story develop every time I go to my gym. What is it that compels people to do this? It can’t be laziness can it? I mean, here are people coming to the gym to burn calories and workout for the next hour and they feel the need to park as close as they can in order not to walk any further than they have to. Really?
Anyways, I felt compelled to share this story with the holiday season coming around the bend and all those wonderful parking lots that will be filled to the brim with parking sharks! What do you think?