Sunday, April 27, 2008


Epiphanies tend to come in strange places and at unexpected times: Mine came yesterday in the parking lot of the Towson Town Center mall.

I did what I always do. Entered on Joppa Road, which pours me right onto level C4. This is strategic on my part. Level C4 is one of two levels (the other one is C2) that go straight to the mall—no stairs or elevators required. It’s also the level of my two favorite mall destinations—Anthropologie and Nordstrom. Hell to the yes.

Suffice it to say that on an overcast Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, level C4 was a fustercluck. Cars everywhere. People faking you out by putting bags in trunks, shrugging apologetically, and going back into the mall. Cars going the wrong way down one-way aisles. Several horrible tableaus involving one person slowly backing their enormous SUV out of a spot, as another person blocks all comers, their turn signal blinking defiantly.

I maneuvered. I found an aisle that seemed less crowded. No luck. I thought I saw a free spot but it was just a compact car. I got stuck in a rolling roadblock. My blood pressure boiled.

And then I did something I never do. Seriously, NEVER. I went up to level C5. Level C5 was about half full. There was no backup, no mall rage, no moving violations. Hell, I think I saw a bluebird sweep in and sing a happy song. I parked and made the horrible trek 25 steps into the mall.

So here’s the question: Why the hell is parking on the mall level so important to me? (And to others, apparently.) Are we all so addicted to convenience that we can’t even walk those extra 25 steps? And don’t we realize that it’s actually a lot more convenient to park on C5? (And presumably C3, though I haven’t confirmed that theory.) Or is something else at work here, some sense of triumph, of superiority—an unflagging belief that getting a better parking spot actually makes me a better person?

All I know is, I’m a C5 girl from now on. You can have your rock star parking, I’ll take my regular chick parking and my peace of mind.

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