Friday, January 08, 2010

A Misinterpreted Gesture?

In a letter to the editor in the Columbia Flier this week, former Columbia Council Representative and an outspoken opponent of any change in Columbia, Babs Russell, wrote that while sitting in her car at The Mall this past holiday season that “My thoughts were interrupted by the honking horn of a car whose driver thought I was getting ready to leave my parking space. The hand gesture I received from that driver as I exited my car was not at all in the holiday spirit.”

A friend of mine pointed out that maybe the hand gesture wasn’t really about a parking space.


Anonymous said...

Let's be honest. Most of that story was probably made up or seriously embellished.

Bob O said...

A bit unfair, I think. The mall parking lot is an analogue of a Darwinian pond of primal soup,when you think about it.

It's interesting to stand outside of one of the mall's main entrances and watch drivers as they try to find the "best" parking spot. They can be discerned as members of several species....

First, there's the Parking Lot Sharks. Their motto seems to be "swim forward or die," as they cruise the lot for ten, fifteen or even thirty minutes, waiting to pounce on an open spot. When they finally see someone back out, they sense blood in the water and surge forward to get there before anyone else can. If someone else does, they tear at the parking spot like a Great White at a chunk of rotten beef in the water.

Then, there are Parking Wolves. They stalk. Idling in a "no parking" zone, they wait for a lone pedestrian to exit the mall and head into the lot. on the scent...they follow them through the lot...idling along at 2 MPH, waiting in antici...pation...for the walker to get in a car. Then they pounce! Watch out for these Wolves, they travel in packs, and they usually try to cull the weak parking spots out of the herd.

Finally, there are The Pull-In Cheetahs. The Cheetahs find a high vantage point, and then watch for a spot to open up. Then they drop it into first, pop the clutch, and accelerate to 60 mph across the lot to cut everyone else off and do a Dukes of Hazzard into the now open spot. Usually Cheetahs are driving something like a Subaru WRX....

When these three species collide, the results are always amusing.

Me? Being more highly evolved, I'm a hunter. I treat the mall as a surgical strike. I look at the map of the mall before I go, decide what stores I need to visit to get what I want, find the best entrance and egress route, and look at the schedule. Then, I arrive ten minutes before the mall opens, park about halfway out next to a "tree island" (so my car will only get dings on one side), read my email on my iPhone until two minutes from opening time, and then walk to the door. It goes "click" right when I get up to it, I walk in, get exactly what I need, and then egress using an alternate pedestrian route.

My record is about $1700 spent in 35 minutes at Columbia Mall. Christmas Shopping Done.

All without getting the finger.

But I digress.

The loss of common courtesy during the Holiday Season at Columbia Mall is an indicator of where our society is going. Pack people closer together and hype them up...and what do you get?

Lou said...

I'm more evolved than that. I shop online.

Anonymous said...

Incivility while parking isn't a wise move. What person would knowingly leave their car unattended after just pissing off someone else who's about to leave that same place? Such behavior illogically leaves the last laugh for the stranger's option and would have a right-minded person wondering during their entire shopping stop thereafter just what might be afoot outside while they're away from their car.

"The loss of common courtesy during the Holiday Season at Columbia Mall is an indicator of where our society is going. Pack people closer together and hype them up...and what do you get?"

Agreed. The bottom line is if Columbia moves further away from its 'life in a small town' ideal, the more some people will abuse the anonymity of not being recognized by a neighbor as license to be rude, whether it's on the road, in a parking lot, or anywhere else out and about, especially if too-increased density's multiple additional stressors like more noise, traffic congestion/delays, and pollution are added to the mix.

So, park nice. And *zone* nice, too.

Anonymous said...

I am a proponent of finding Rock Star Parking at the mall and everywhere else I can. I would prefer to park next to the door at the Athletic Club, have a 1:30 work out just because... There is a secret to Rock Star Parking. I have a pretty good record...3 out of 4 tries.
Know what the secret is?

wordbones said...


Do tell.


PZGURU said...

WordBones - I bet you get the same salute fairly frequently too! In fact, I'm giving you that very salute right now.

Seriously, your childish attitude toward Barbara Russell is unbelievable. Why is it that you would think that that kind of behavior is acceptable treatment of anyone? I guess you feel it's ok because you dislike Ms. Russell? Please, try and grow up a little.