I remember my dad pulling into a parking space that there seemingly was no one else around. Perhaps it was to catch his breath, perhaps it was to enjoy an ice cream cone without having eyes studying your every move.. but then it would happen. Another car would pull up and park in a space very near if not right beside us. He would become annoyed, angry at other times. However, the constant thought /statement was, “They just came over here/parked here because I was here.” The older I got the more ridiculous it seemed to me for him to say. My dad was a kind, smart, rational man. However, when that statement came out of his mouth, he seemed far from any of the afore mentioned adjectives.
The years are advancing, the body is changing, and the mind is playing tricks on us all. Sometimes I want/need to be alone. I am comfortable in a restaurant eating a meal or going to a movie unaccompanied, for in those places you never really are alone. My refuge has become my vehicle. I am in control in there, no one giving me suggested routes or directing me to the closest spot to the door of a given retail establishment. I don’t seem to be bound by the four walls of a building either. It feels of freedom. Just me and my music, if I chose to play music. I also MUST note how powerful I feel having that absolute power over the sounds in my car. Remember not-so-long ago we were subject to AM/FM radio.
On a particular Friday afternoon, I found myself in one of those moods that insisted I NEEDED to be alone. I did not argue or resist. I hoped in the car and took off for parts unknown (not too far away it was a Friday). I decided that I felt hungry enough to eat, but rather than grab something from a fast-food joint I opted for a grocery store meal. That felt better, healthier even though that may or may NOT have been the case. You can talk yourself into anything, if you put a little effort in. I even had to get out and walk to get said meal.
Mission accomplished, I had my food and a bottle on kombucha. I did not like the parking lot vibe of the market and sought a more secluded calm spot. I settled on what seemed to be a less frequented shopping plaza that had a national chain hardware store as an anchor. I found the perfect spot under a tree and the concrete planter assured at least one space on one side of me would be unoccupied. Plus, it was the middle of the day Friday, surely folks had other things to do. I was not worried in the least.
I got about 3 minutes into my meal when a small white sedan pulled into a spot directly across from me one space to the left. I tried NOT to notice or pay attention and continued eating my food. Now a full-sized red truck pulls in next to the planter on the other side. Let’s not forget the silver sports car, which had clearly just been waxed. I looked around the parking lot, there were plenty of spaces, closer to the stores, I felt it coming on. Maybe I would have felt better if everyone pulled out something to eat or even drink, but that didn’t happen. I found myself locked into paying attention to these people and to what they, in their respective cars, were doing. This annoyed me immensely and at first, I thought,” Just start the car up and move to another spot on the lot or go home”. However, I was now genuinely hungry. I decided to stay put and do what I intended to do in the first place. Then it happened and a smirk of a smile came across my face as I thought about my father…I said aloud,” Dad, you were right all along. They did park in these spaces just because I was here.”