I pulled into the parking lot at my daughter’s middle school last night for their annual Open House. I circled the lot, looking for a parking spot and finding none.
I circled again. Still nothing.
I was so happy.
Once of my favorite things in the world to do is create a parking spot where one did not exist before.
I circled a third time, evaluating all of my choices, viewing the parking lot now as a canvas for my creativity,. I could extend a row of spot, affixing my car to the end. I could park on the grass. I could sidle my car along the edge of the driveway, reducing its width by half.
Then I saw it. A slight bulge on the far end of the lot, probably present to allow the passage of cars in both directions.
Not anymore. I pulled into the bulge, nuzzled my car up against the curb, and hopped out. As I did, I noticed that a car was pulling in behind me.
“Is this a spot?” the driver asked.
“It is now,” I said. “I invented it.”
It would be a fine thing if my love for inventing parking spots came from my desire to solve problems creatively (and there is probably a little truth in that statement), but mostly I think I love the ability to eschew authority, ignore expectations, and reinforce the idea that there is very little law and order in a parking lot. Sure, you can paint your yellow lines and plan your traffic patterns, but if you’ve run out of spaces and I need to park, there is little anyone can do to stop me from being creative.
Flaunting authority. That is why I love inventing parking spots.
When I exited the building a couple hours later, I was pleased to see that four cars had followed my example and parked in a line behind me, filling the bulge.
This is common.
When I park on the grass, others follow suit.
When I stick myself on the end of an aisle, others do the same.
When this happens, I always wonder:
Were these people inspired by my creative idea or somehow given permission to violate the norms of the parking lot after I did so?