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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Parking Lot Etiquette

We've all either seen or experienced the following:

A vehicle is backing out of a parking place. The back-up lights are on, and you can tell that the driver is doing everything "by the book." about two parking spaces away a pedestrian is walking towards the already-in-motion vehicle. The pedestrian sees the vehicle moving but continues walking anyway. The pedestrian/moron decides that the driver is an idiot for not watching where they are going and either yells at the driver or smacks the body of the vehicle. The driver immediately stops. The pedestrian walks past the car, makes eye contact with the driver, then makes some form of gesture - verbal or "hand signals" - indicating to the driver that they are the ones that made the mistake!

Personally, I own a lifted truck, designed for on- or off-road travel. The top of the bed of my truck is five feet off the ground. One thing I've noticed since I bought the truck is that there are a great many people in the Los Angeles area that are LESS than five feet tall! The only thing that saves their lives when I'm backing up is the fact that the wind caught their hair and blew it up into my line of sight. I even watched one man walk behind my truck while it was rolling and throw his hand in the air to let me know where he was (probably the smartest thing he's ever done).

When I grew up, parking lot etiquette was understood by everyone. The basic rules are as follows:
  1. If you are walking through a parking lot and see a car coming out of their spot, stop walking until it is clear! This way you don't "accidentally" get run over.
  2. When walking through a parking lot, cross the driving parts of the lot as if you were crossing a street! Look both ways, then cross at your own risk. Don't walk through the middle of the lane as if you are the king or queen of Dipshit Island!
  3. If you are driving through the parking lot, either looking for a spot or leaving the lot, and a car begins to back out of their spot just ahead of you...STOP YOUR CAR! The ten to thirty seconds that you are delayed will simply not ruin your day (and if it does, you were already going to be late anyway). The driver of the other vehicle doesn't get the crap scared out of them when they almost make impact with you or you lay on your "asshole button" (also known as the car horn). Noone's day gets ruined. As a matter of fact, that person will probably pay it forward and not ruin someone else's day!
Those are pretty simple rules. Not all that complicated as far as I can tell. I used to think that maybe those rules were only taught to American children while they were growing up, because when I moved to San Diego it was only other ethnicities (i.e. not white or black...ahem...sorry...not "caucasian" or "african-american") from other countries (read: Mexico) that broke basic rules of parking lot etiquette. But after I moved to L.A. I realized that it had spread like a disease through that area, to the point that I, myself, am the occasional offender!

We need to get back to basics in the parking lots. We need to teach our children the right and wrong ways before they become offenders. And maybe, just maybe, I need to pretend that I really didn't see that tuft of hair fly up over the bed of my truck!

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