Me and Parking Lots

My Dad was very punctual/often early. Punctual people are on time because, when they plan a timeline they included all steps (like walking to the car, getting out of car, walking to the destination from the car) and not just “how long will it take me to get there.” I do this, but I tend to round up, or allow buffer time for all steps in case of complications so I end up early everywhere. Eliah is the same way so I’m not sure how much of it is genetic or just habits trained into ourselves.

The thing about Dad though, when we were a few minutes early anywhere he refused to do things like “drive around for awhile” or “sit in the car” until it was time to go in. His idea was, “It’s only 2 minutes early. It’s fine.” So I was always the first person everywhere.

With me, since I’m less “punctual” and more “chronically early” I am notoriously 5-10 minutes early everywhere (OR MORE) and so -since I’m the one who drives – I do a lot of sitting in parking lots and driving around neighborhoods to kill time. My favorite is to sit in a parking lot. If I’m going to someone’s house and I’m 10 minutes early, I’ll stop at a nearby grocery store and sit in the parking lot until closer to time.

I also did a lot of sitting in parking lots during my first job out of college when I was still smoking but didn’t want to be the type of employee who constantly takes “smoke breaks.” So, I would just plan my entire lunch hour to sit in a parking lot somewhere and smoke to get my nicotine fix in for the entire day.

All of this is relevant because – during this pandemic – my time in parking lots has almost become a spiritual requirement to my day.

This is for two very important reasons. 1) I’m very sick of my house and 2) I’m an introvert who desperately needs time to recharge in solitude which is hard to do when everyone is also trapped in my house.

The good news is I have tasks that require I leave the house daily…like walking my Mom’s dog four times a day. Then there are her dialysis appointments and then there’s the basic errands like grocery trips. But because so much of that requires being around other people, I still buffer extra time for parking lot sitting.

Sometimes I’ll bring my lunch and sit and listen to a podcast in my car. I always have my book in my bag so I can just read for awhile. Other times I’ll stop for a Diet Coke (remember I don’t buy them for the house but I’m still allowing myself one a day to combat headaches) and just sit and drink my soda while listening to music.

Sitting in parking lots has becoming my church. It’s my time to myself to reflect and recharge away from my damn house.

The funny thing is, Nyoka enjoys it too so she’ll come with me while I’m walking my Mom’s dog but she’ll sit in the car and read while I’m walking him. Or she’ll sit in the car while I get groceries.

I’ve gotten some weird looks before from people who drive by me or who notice me reading/eating in my car and I always just think: You have no idea what you’re missing out on. I do something wonder though what I would say if someone was suspicious of me; but that’s probably never going to happy because I’m a 40-something white lady who no one ever worries is up to something nefarious. #whiteprivilege

But if they did I would recommend the practice. “Listen, many of us need some alone time right now. A lot of us are trapped in our houses with our spouses and our kids so we should probably just set up designated parking lots where people are allowed to go sit without interference.”

3 thoughts on “Me and Parking Lots”

  1. I have totally camped out in my car in random parking lots just relaxing, people-watching, nature-watching, etc.

  2. My mother talks about how when my father would come home from a business trip, she would shove us kids in his general direction and then drive to a park and just sit in the quiet in her car. I get it.

  3. More ways we are alike: being early and parking lot sitting. I rarely have any reason to leave my place these days, so sometimes I find myself just getting out and going for a drive. I might drive through somewhere for a drink or snack and then park and read/make a phone call. Anything to get out for a bit.

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