Tag Archives: cars

The Seven Deadly Sins of the Parking Lot

No matter what your opinion is on shopping, there’s one thing we can all agree on — the parking lot is a paved hell. It should be simple. Park the car, get out of the car, go about your business. But there are always a few who go to the dark side and ruin it for everyone else.


Lusting after a closer parking spot turns many people into Parking Spot Stalkers so overcome with desire for your spot that they dedicate themselves to claiming it for their own. 

While the logic employed by the Parking Spot Stalker makes sense—a closer spot is often more desirable than one farther away— there can be a troubling gray area when it comes to their actions. If it’s dark out and you’re a woman being followed by a car creeping up behind you like Charles Manson in a Volvo, it’s safe to assume they’re not sightseeing and it’s hard not to feel as if you’re about to become a special on Dateline.   

And God forbid if you forget where you park and have to cut through across the lane to find your car, as they’ll think it was an intentional move on your part, speed past you with a look of disgust and be forced to park in a spot that’s a full 10 feet farther away.


When lust gets overtaken by blinding envy, you are presented with the Parking Spot Rusher. This driver is so envious of your spot that they don’t patiently keep a safe distance back, turn on their blinker and wait. No, along with blocking other people from passing, they keep creeping up closer and closer while rolling their eyes and sighing so loudly you can hear it through two layers of car window glass.


This just in: The person in the parking spot cares more about trying to load a week’s worth of groceries into the trunk of their car before trying to strap a tired and cranky kid into a car seat than you finding a suitable spot at that second. Unless you’re going to get out and help them load up the car, just keep a safe distance back.


There are certain people who feel themselves to be above the laws of parking space lines and take up two or three spots. They presumably feel their vehicle is so pristine and important that the thought of the unwashed masses coming near it can’t even be entertained. You’re not a special snowflake. Color inside the lines.


While envy and lust can cause people to act out in pursuit of a prime parking location, it’s also up to the person who parked there not to let that position of power go to their head. When walking in a parking lot, it’s important to make your intentions clear. If you’re leaving and sense the parking lot stalker, a simple nod at your car will suffice to alert them that yes, you will be leaving.

If you’re going back into the store, shake your head so they can journey down the lot and continue to stalk someone else.


The grocery carts have a home. The carts like to go to their home, which is clearly marked and not hidden in some cart corral cave accessible only through a series of security measures and secret handshakes. Moms who have to do their shopping with youngsters in tow get a pass—as long as they make an effort to put the cart where it won’t obstruct someone else’s ability to park—but for everyone else, laziness is no excuse.

A shopping cart left to run amok could possibly cause a great deal of damage and injury, not to mention those abandoned in empty spots will inevitably cause someone to pull halfway in before realizing the cart is there and angrily backing out, pissing off people behind them. Nobody wins.


How many times have you been driving through a parking lot when out of nowhere some lunatic comes speeding at you from the opposite direction—ignoring the yellow lines and arrows painted on the ground— and nearly causes a head-on collision?

News flash: Just because you’re pissed your wife sent you back to the store for tampons doesn’t mean the rules of the road don’t exist when a trip to Costco is involved. Follow the yellow brick road, so to speak. The arrows are there for a reason.


They say pride comes before the fall, and this applies to pedestrians walking down the middle of the lane as if they have super-human pedestrian powers that override people in their cars trying to get past or around them. Pick a side—any side—and no one gets hurt.

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My Car Thinks I’m an Idiot

A few weeks ago I purchased a new-to-me used 2013 vehicle, not for vanity, but because my old car was rusting, didn’t always start and forced me to put more money into it than a disgruntled senior citizen puts pennies in the slots at a smoky casino.


So with another Michigan winter on the horizon—lord help us all—it was a proactive move that made me feel responsible—Yay! Safe, new car!—and simultaneously depressed that I had to spend such a large chunk of money on a car.

I hate cars.

Well, I don’t hate cars, but I don’t really know an RPM from REM and frankly have no interest in finding that out. But what I did find out soon enough is that my new car thinks I’m an idiot—and honestly, it’s probably right.

The first clue was when I thought the fancy new key was actually a weapon in disguise. Instead of the customary key I was used to, I was given this fancy thing that ejects with a push of the button. Along with starting my new car, I plan to use it as a silver spear of self-defense should the occasion arise.

Once I got past the actual starting of the car, there was the small matter of the NASA-like dashboard. Not only does it let me know how fast I’m going, but also tire pressure, oil levels, temperature, radio volume and the first 1,203 digits of Pi.

In addition, I can program in 36 different radio stations to my “Favorites” bar, which is handy considering I listen to about six different stations. Ever. But should I decide that I want to get into Mexican rap, there is apparently an XM station for that, my amigos.

When I put the car in reverse, a video camera takes over that console and shows me what’s behind the car. Handy if there is something directly behind my vehicle. Not so much if a juvenile mouth breather on a scooter comes dashing across from the side. However, the kicker is that while I’m backing up I am NOT allowed to change the radio station or adjust the temperature.

Very tricky, my four-wheeled friend.

Speaking of the temperature, there are just too many options. If I’m cold, I want to be warm, but I don’t know if the little arrows pointing at the person on the screen will blast up through the front vents or defrost my front windows and possibly a Thanksgiving turkey.

But the biggest surprise was when I was driving along pushing buttons and had a temporary moment of panic. While I rarely question my bladder control, the seat of my pants got so warm that I wondered if I had reached a stage of not only vehicular incompetence, but also incontinence.

I was relieved—no pun intended—to find it was just heated seats. Another example of why I’m why I can’t have nice things.

On the upside, it only takes me about 10 minutes to find my car in a parking lot now instead of still looking for the old one, and I expect it will only take 25 more trips to the gas station to remember that the gas tank is on the opposite side it was on my old Blazer.

But at least I have the On Star person to talk to for free for the next two months before my trial runs out, as there are times that I just need to vent. They often seem a bit confused that I’m not actually directionally lost, just wandering a bit emotionally, but I think it’s a nice break for them, too.

Start your engines.

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Where Do I Send the Check?

Being a single woman who supports herself and an increasingly needy feline, I’m kind of picky on how I spend my increasingly decreasing money.

I prioritize—general bills, quality food that I want and enjoy and catnip so the hairball will leave me alone while I stare at a blank page on the screen. I don’t buy fancy clothes or makeup, I rarely eat out or party and obviously I don’t have cash to spend on a fancy blog design—or any at all.

Wow. That would be the worst singles ad ever.

With that out of the way, there are some things I will never hesitate to pay someone else to do. These are things I could probably do myself to some extent if I was willing to a) learn and b) pay for it by losing what sanity I might have left.

I can’t afford to lose any more sanity, so instead I just lose a few bucks.

My Taxes

This time of year everyone is buzzing about trying to find their 1099 or WD40 forms or what have you. I am a creative person. I am not a numbers person. All I know about taxes is that the small woodland creatures I keep fed in my back yard cannot count as deductions and that people dressed like Uncle Sam/Lady Liberty holding “Fast Tax Services” signs dominate busy street corners.

Considering the penalty for making a mistake on your taxes isn’t as simple as crossing something out and writing “Oops!” like I do in my checkbook, I’ll gladly pay a trusted professional—not one dressed in a costume—to figure all these things out.

Anything Automotive

Aside from putting gas in my Blazer and scheduling oil changes, I’m clueless when it comes to automotive repair. As a female it pains me to say that because it’s such a stereotype, but it’s true. If there’s a problem that can’t be solved by turning up the radio so I don’t hear the dysfunctional sound it’s making, I’m calling in an expert.

I can’t be trusted to not accidentally triple-knot my shoelaces, so this includes changing a tire.

Cut My Hair

I’ve accepted the fact that my hair’s “awkward phase” has lasted about seven years. Because of that, I’m not above coloring my hair from a box.

But ever since an unfortunate incident when I was six and cut my own hair (and that of our dog,) put it in envelopes and hid it under the couch, I have not gone near my hair with scissors. Considering my hair is lame anyway, it’s worth it to me to pay a lovely woman a few bucks to trim up what’s left and blame her for how it will look.

Anything with My Computer

I have basic computer knowledge in that I can overshare on Facebook, send out email writing pitches that I never hear back from and find pictures of sloths wearing makeup. I cannot do HTML or self-host my blog, and when I receive an error message or my computer freaks out in some way, I freak out in every way.

A phone call is made. A check is written.

Make Sushi

While I’m all about making my own food 99 percent of the time, I don’t understand people who make sushi at home. Okay. I get that it can be fun to have a “sushi rolling party” or whatever, but when I want veggie sushi I don’t want to spend three hours trying to get rice and perfectly sliced veggies to stick to a sushi mat before rolling it up, getting distracted and knocking the roll off the counter.

It will probably cost me three times more in supplies and 100 times more in frustration to attempt this on my own. Plus, when I’m hungry I get cranky, meaning there’s a good chance sharp chopsticks should be nowhere in the vicinity.

However, that tantrum might be worth paying to see.

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Aside from major medical procedures and house construction, what are the things you never hesitate to pay someone to do?

Backseat Driver

When it comes to driving, I would say I’m pretty average.

I’ve never been in an accident (insert superstitious knocking on wood here) and have only had one ticket—the story behind that one a post of it’s own. I admit I have my moments and we all know that I’m directionally disabled, but I generally drive rather aware of my surroundings.

With that said, I sometimes feel like 98 percent of people shouldn’t be allowed to operate a vehicle when it’s apparent they can’t operate a turn signal.

Maybe I’m getting old and cranky, but lately I find myself wanting to run people off the road if only so I can get out and school them on the fact that there are two lanes for a reason and speed limits are not beginning points for negotiations.


In other words, if patience is a virtue, I am void of vehicular virtue.

So in the interest of keeping my road rage to a minimum, I  present to you a few observations and suggestions to anyone driving with their head up their ass.

  • If you beep your horn .03 seconds after the light changes green, I can promise I will shut off my car, lay on the hood and feed birds for an hour.
  • Pulling out in front of me and then proceeding to go ridiculously slow is not excused by the fact that you have those little family people stickers on the back window of your minivan or a WWJD bumper sticker.


WWJD? He would go the speed limit.

  • However, pulling out in front of me and then proceeding to go ridiculously slow might be excused by the fact that you have a decal or bumper sticker representing a Detroit sports team or love of animals. Go team and go rescue a cat. 
  • While I appreciate caution, there is no need to stop completely when making a 90-degree turn where there’s no stop sign, stop lights or opposite-direction traffic.
  • However, there is a need for me to sing  everything from “Dancing Queen,”  to Rage Against the Machine at the top of my lungs. When it comes to car karaoke I’m sort of a professional, so your  stares will only encourage my behavior.
  • FYI: A car is not an invisibility force field that shields you from the general conventions of society. We can see you pick your nose. I don’t know if you lost your keys up there or what and to each their own, but when the intense picking of your honker causes you to forget that green means go, I will honk.


Pick a lane, not your nose.

  • Finally, if you drive a semi truck, please do not race the semi truck in the lane right next to you, forcing all of us to watch this sad little drama play out. Nobody wins, especially the lines of cars stuck behind you. How’s your driving? Slow and reckless at the same time, a driving dichotomy if there ever was one.

And let’s not forget a couple things in regards to pedestrians—namely me—as I tend to take a lot of walks in the summer and prefer not to fear for my life.

  • If I’m walking and you’re driving, honking at me and yelling out your window will not encourage me to wave back. It will encourage me to flip you off, as it will scare the shit out of me.


  • On that note, if you’re talking on your phone as you roll up and through a stop sign and almost run me over, waving, giggling and mouthing “sorry” does not help. One of these times I might just throw myself onto the hood of your car and create a dramatic scene just to freak you out.

Like I said, I am void of vehicular virtue.

You’ve been warned.