Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I’m writing this post from the parking lot of community college, where, curiously, everyone seems to drive a nicer car than I do. Speaking of cars, I like cars --- I also like driving. Regrettably, it’s apparent to me that everyone has figured out how much I enjoy driving and they’ve united to make sure that driving is as much of a pain in the ass for me as is possible.

I’ll start off with STANDING. You know those signs in front of office buildings, strip malls, and just about anywhere else that say “NO PARKING OR STANDING”? Yeah, those aren’t just “No parking” signs. There’s a whole ‘nother word in there, and I am amazed at how few people know what it means. And no, it doesn’t mean standing there on your New Balances, wondering how to make driving painful for me.

You know how when you park somewhere, you put the car in park? (Ed. Note: for the manny tranny drivers out there, read: in neutral with the e-brake on, in gear with the e-brake on, or if you are the poor bastard who ended up with my old Toyota pickup truck, in gear, with the e-brake on, and with a large stone chocking a tire) Well, standing is when you stop somewhere, but don’t get out. In park, in gear with your foot on the brake, doesn’t matter. If you ain’t moving and you’re in the car, you’re standing.

Anyways, when you’re standing in front of the grocery store, and I pull up behind you and just wait, expecting you to move, and you stick your arm out the window to wave me around, I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass, I promise. I am actually confused. Because there is a large “NO STANDING OR PARKING” sign in plain view, and I know that you had to take the same written exam I did to get your driver’s license, which includes the distinction between Standing and Parking. You should feel like I’ve given you a compliment --- I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt; inferring that you know the laws of the state in which you’re operating a motor vehicle and have the intelligence to apply that knowledge. See, I’m not all bad.

My wife kept laughing and pointing at me when she watched this

Next up is “Me First Syndrome,” a disease more prevalent in the northern region of the great Commonwealth I call home. This is a disorder that causes the afflicted to feel the need to be in front of you and everyone, regardless of the sustained speed of the lane at large. That last part is the caveat that makes this disorder so hilarious / frustrating.

What I’m talking about is when you are doing an industry-standard 10-over with the flow of traffic and a respectable following distance between your car and the car in front of you, and a car will ride your ass. As a citizen with a healthy regard for the greater good, and of course a spectacular grip on the ins and outs of macro-level transportation dynamics, you change lanes to allow this BMW car to pass. In doing so, you break your cruise control decelerate 7-15 miles per hour. Since the lane you just moved into is going 3 under the speed limit because of a cautious gold minivan, a work van, or a 97 year old lady in an Oldsmobuick, you change back into the lane you were in originally to restore your original speed. If you’re cruise control savvy like me, you simply press “Resume” and your car starts smoothly accelerating back to your original speed, an industry-standard 10-over.

What’s this? The Infiniti car that just got all up on you, is going less than your original speed of 10-over, and now you have to hit the brakes and break cruise control, to avoid losing the space cushion between you and the afflicted. This, my friends, happens because the car that rode your ass and that you changed lanes and broke cruise control for, did not want to go faster than your cruise speed --- oh no, they wanted to be in front of you. Me First Syndrome. It's usually guys like this. (link too hilarious / terrible, even for my blarg. Nothing awful, just a lot of colorful language - and Ed Hardy shirts.)

Pictured: A guy in a Prius who would rather drive around the parking garage for 16 minutes waiting for a spot with minimum walking distance to the office door than park in an empty spot and walk an extra 20 seconds.

Parking lot stalkers: I work in a building where there is a 6-story parking garage, to accommodate all my esteemed colleagues’ Lexuses cars. I get to work early, before almost anyone, so I always get a spot on the ground floor. Well, sometimes I’ll walk out to my car in the middle of the day --- to grab my iPod, grab a jacket (ever been in a server room?), or just sit in there and listen to music for a few minutes to relax.

Well, 10 out of 10 times when I am walking to my car to grab my iPod or whatever, a Prius car will trail along behind me, at my walking speed, basically steps behind me. Well, I’ll dart in to where my car is, unlock it, reach in and grab my iPod or Altoids or whatever I went out there for, and re-emerge, seconds later. This is almost always met with a violent sigh, some hand motions, usually resembling that of a (n angry) touchdown, and mashing the accelerator to the floor to speed away. Because nothing spells frustration like squealing your tires “at me.”

I actually get a kick out of this, but, God bless me, I try to help them out. Nowadays, when I sense a parking lot stalker, I will give them a very deliberate hand motion opera of sorts that clarifies that “I am NOT getting in THE CAR and DRIVING AWAY; I am getting my IPOD, and WALKING BACK into THE OFFICE.” The semicolon is really tough.

This doesn’t seem to help, though. I’m usually met with the same violent sigh, angry touchdown, and squealing tires that I get without extending this courtesy, only I get it sooner. Parking lot stalkers.

The new Dashboard Confessional is out today, “Alter the Ending.” I am sure it will be good, because my wife, the vox populi is actually excited about it. Also of note, and on topic, speaking of parking vultures, the new Them Crooked Vultures album is available for free streaming now. And it's good.

And as you see from my earlier post, John Mayer's Battle Studies leaked, and is now available for streaming.

Anyways, have a nice Tuesday, and if you’re driving, think of me and my superior understanding of transportation flow, comprehension of laws, and hand motioning skills.

Seriously, you should see my we-both-got-to-the-4-way-stop-at-the-same-time “I’MA STAY HERE, YOU GO; I’MA STAY HERE,” a baby could understand it.

Cruise control saves lives,

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