Paranormal Parking Syndrome

We used to have pretty predictable traffic and parking patterns in Tillamook. After construction started downtown a year or so ago, we were told things would change. They have...but in ways that could make your head pop off. Change is supposed to be good. As rational human beings...we know things HAVE TO CHANGE. However we need to see the change STOP before we can label it as progress.

In the meantime, most folks around here have developed some interesting ways to get around “the traffic”...this is what we call “IT.” “IT” is the construction which has left us very confused, leading to some interesting and surprising decisions by drivers. Dedicated souls never give up. We will drive through, around, over and under anything that challenges our course. That's the part I love about living here.

We may call ourselves “survivors” but there are all kinds of things in our way. Take holiday know, something like Memorial Day. It's a reminder that things are really going to be different from now until it snows again. Traffic is on the rise. From one year to the next we can tell that we have been discovered. Oh sure, all of you who have already been discovered might think we're simply a bunch of whiny wimps. Well, we are, but we're learning to share. Oh, and we don't really like “IT.”

The other thing we are, is old. We have an astounding percentage of senior citizens in our County and we're darned proud of it. We do a lot of good things but the paranormal part comes in when we go to the store. I have a dictionary which defines paranormal as “anything outside normal perception or knowledge.” It seems that parking is one of these things for many of us in the Geezer Tribe. We may be the safest and most diligent drivers ever but some of us seem to lose whatever marbles we have left when we go shopping. If we don't already have cataracts, our eyes glaze over and we start looking for the best parking spot the minute we pull out of our own driveways.

The problem is that “best” is a defined by the parker. As a parkee, I have learned that the spaces I am trying to get out of are highly coveted. I think it's because I have an old, awkward car that is difficult to park and unpark.

In contrast to jockeying for one of the two parking spaces at the hospital emergency room, grocery store parking is the worst. In a class by itself...a paranormal world, littered with broken side mirrors, tiny dents and Grandma drivers with Grandpas telling them what to do. When you see a disabled sign in the very careful. I have one but I keep mine hidden...I don't want to attract any competition. If I have to use it, I get in the spot first and then I put up the sign before I get any dirty looks.

Against all prevailing judgment, Mr. S took me to town last Friday to pick up our car, Blanche Pearl. With her new brakes and oil change, she was absolutely glowing. For some reason, I thought I could sneak in to the store, pick up a few things, and sneak right back out before a crowd arrived. Going in was a piece of cake. Coming out was the stuff nightmares are made of.

First, I have to say that ALL parking lots should have ONE WAY lanes. Not two...or as some drivers decide...three. After shopping, I took note of my surroundings because the lot looked like pictures I've seen of downtown Beijing. I discussed the situation with Blanche and we inched our way back. A giant pickup roared up and honked. I inched back in. I inched out...this time the person next to me in a giant van took more inches than I had. I inched back in.

With a better view on one side, I oozed out and found that Blanche and I were under assault. Blinker on, a grandma had our parking spot in her sites. Peering over the dash, she didn't notice that I was having a heck of a time threading the car out. In her paranormal state, she had blocked both lanes so no one could get my coveted spot. She forgot that I had to drive through the piece of road she was in the middle of. For every inch I backed out...she pulled ahead, blinker blinking and hands white knuckled on the wheel. I finally squeaked around her car as she finished parking. Me? Not going back to town until it snows. :)

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