Parking, parking everywhere…
and not a spot for me…


Before we get started with the situations that got me thinking about parking my car, I need you to read an article. It was the article that got me turning a head-scratcher at the store into an essay. Here it is…

Plus-sized parking spaces for Chinese women drivers

And… obviously… wow.

I mean… wow.

My great aunt Doris was a legendary parallel parker.


She could… in a parallel parking maneuver that didn’t involve changing directions once the car was in reverse to begin the swoop… get a car into a space that was smaller than the car she was driving.

I’m only slightly exaggerating.


I was with her on more than one occasion when she pulled her car into places that created gatherings of people admiring her efforts. I saw applause and heads shaking in disbelief. It would not surprise me to learn people tell tales of her exploits to this day, decades later.

Her parallel parking efforts were so incredible that it inspired me to stay on top of my skills… and I’m proud to say parallel parking is one of my strongest driving abilities.

So… back to these larger parking spaces because women need them article… I’m not buying the concept that women drivers need more space in order to be able to park a car.

But it just goes to show some of the stupid, frankly bordering on unbelievable, concepts that get presented around the world.

Anyone… anyone… that has tried to insure a teenage driver knows that a boy will find higher rates than a girl. A portion of this comes from the statistics that teenage boys are more likely to get into an accident or be cited for something like speeding. And, of course, there are always other factors that may need to be considered.

Still… there it is… the insurance companies don’t seem to think women need larger parking spaces. Nope… the insurance companies see girls as safer drivers than boys.

Mom has this great theory. (Actually she has several, and if you know my mother you know I’m not embellishing any part of such a claim. The great theory here involves parking a car.) At the very foundation of her theory is this… if you have to edge closer to one car than another as you pull into a space that is between two others occupied by cars, and you have the ability to do so, pull closer to the passenger’s door of one car and further from the driver’s door of the other.


Because you know both cars likely had a driver.

Yup. That’s the secret. You know a car in a parking lot likely had a driver bring it there, so the driver’s door is probably going to be opened when that person returns. What you don’t know is whether or not the car had a passenger. There’s at least a chance the passenger’s door won’t need to be opened.

Ta-dah! Brilliant motherly observation.

So… lower insurance… observations from the women like how to park your car to prevent damage… and leading examples in my life weighing heavily in favor of the abilities of women drivers. (At least, in instances I have from before my sisters began driving. That’s a different subject entirely though, and not a set of histories that support the theme of this essay. We move on…)

The thing is… I didn’t come here to write about parking spaces and the impossible to defend idea about women parking their cars. Instead… I was inspired to write this article by a different set of circumstances that are kind of running right alongside this women parking topic.

Has anyone else noticed a problem with parking lots lately?

In the past couple of years I’ve seen spaces reserved for senior patrons… for drivers with children… pharmacy pickups only… compact cars… delivery of curbside takeout… and the list goes on.

Now… I like a spot right next to the entrance as much as anyone. I’m not opposed to walking in a busy place though. And I certainly understand that if you make some spaces smaller -- for whatever reason… from lot and curb design to actual thought and planning -- there’s a difference when it comes to stopping for some milk on the way home from work when you have to park a compact car or a dump truck.

Ahh… but the list goes on…

Reserved for the employee of the month… that’s a good one. A business near me is open at least twelve hours each day over all seven days of the week. They currently have ninety-three hours of reserved parking status for an employee that likely works forty. (And I won’t make any jokes here about how most business are only hiring part-time. That’s just not funny.) In short, you’re more likely to see that space empty than filled.

Reserved for the employee of the month… quite likely occupied for less than half of the operating hours of the business each week. I think this one might actually border on the inexplicable level of larger parking spaces for women drivers. While not as outlandish… or even remotely as insensitive or flat-out stupid… it does cause a head-shaking of indescribable disbelief.

(Sign reads (yes it does): “Reserved parking for our Employee of the Month only” -- Sign says (my words): “Hi. This space… the one closest to our doors… closer even than several handicap parking spaces… is going to be unoccupied for more than half of the hours we are open for business this week. Don’t park here.” -- Go ahead, tell me that makes sense.)

Honestly though… it’s not just the parking spaces. Lots have become obstacle courses of dead end rows, one-way traffic, angled spaces, carriage returns and all sorts of other fun. Commit just one row early and you won’t be able to exit the lot without turning around and heading back the other way. (And if you think parallel parking is fun, just try a three-point turn in these mazes.)

I’m not asking for significant change.

I fully understand how having spaces for curbside takeout can increase business for a restaurant and be beneficial for the staff. (And beneficial in several ways.)

I fully understand that customers that may be there with young children appreciate this. (And, often, literally, have their hands full before even stepping inside the store.)

I just wonder what people are thinking from time to time when they come up with these ideas… because all indications are, they aren’t.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at