…and put up a parking lot. Yep, parking lots are on my mind today.
Specifically, I am disturbed about parking lots that have parking spaces that are too small to comfortably squeeze your car into.
Now, there are some older parking lots here in Sacramento that were laid down back in the day when most peeps did not have 15-ton SUV pickup truck/tanks. The white lines were uniformly painted to accommodate smaller-sized vehicles.
When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, the really “big cars” were Cadillacs and Lincoln Continentals and old “muscle cars.” And in the 1970s, the decade when gas prices started to go to the “never the same again” zone and there were ugly long lines at the pumps, small economy cars became trendy.
Somewhere inbetween then and now, many Americans bought into the idea that “bigger is better.” Along came the dinosaur-sized SUVs and 4-wheel drive vehicles that city people don’t even use for all-terrain purposes or even to haul concrete. They just drive them to work and back and ferry their over-indulged kids to soccerviolindancepianofootballtheaterandplay-date events.
The station wagon became extinct and people started driving around in steel fortresses.
Of course, I could go into the gas-guzzling, economically-challenged, environmentally unfriendly aspects of these monstrosities…but as much as I would like to digress, my pet peeve today is about parking.
Because what is even more ridiculous than cramming huge death machines into old parking lots that aren’t designed for them, is the brand new parking lots that are laid out in the same spacially-challenged way.
For instance (and of course there is one): the Safeway supermarket located at 19th and S streets here in Sacramento.
This structure was built in the 21st century…long after SUVs had started pummeling the roads into potholes and craters. (No wonder the infrastructure in the United States is crumbling…but that’s another story….)
So what do they do? They lay out a brand new parking lot where the spaces are sooooo tight that driving around in it is kind of like trying to maneuver around on a narrow switchback mountain road.
Now, I have a small car that should be fairly easy to park. However…if there is an open parking space between two humongous SUVs or 20-ton pickup trucks, my SMALLISH car won’t fit. I can TRY, but it is very hard to judge the space and god-forbid I should dent the side of a sparkling oversized Ford truck when I open my car door. Hey, wait…hmmmm…heh heh….
After I had done my shopping last night, I pulled out of my narrow space, being careful not to rear-end the cars parked 3 feet behind me and then carefully negotiated the turn that would lead me to the exit.
First I had to wait for a pickup truck the size of Texas to BACK-IN to a space. After that obstacle was cleared, I drove a little further and there was ANOTHER huge truck sitting smack dab in the middle of the exit lane waiting…for…something…who knows??
The driver of this Antarctica-sized death tank had to backup out of the driveway so that two cars, including mine, could get past.
I didn’t do the little wavy-thank you thing because I was thinking (admittedly rather uncharitably) “What the HECK do you need a truck that freakin’ big for???”
Just like rap music, I thought the SUV “fad” would die a natural death. Maybe the parking lot builders did too. But despite gas prices topping over $4 a gallon, the SUVs keep rolling along the highways like an Army convoy.
Parking meters are multiplying like rabbits around here (Parking Enforcement employees must have incredible job security), so when there is free parking in a lot the size of a postage stamp, one feels compelled to risk all and go in and do battle.
Maybe I just need to determine how careful I want to be when I swing the car door open. I dunno…it’s tempting though. I learned to drive in Los Angeles and down there, dings and dents are as common as potholes and faded white lines, Hummers and narrow parking spaces.
©March 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver