What does your parking spot say about you? I’ve been thinking about this lately. Where and how people park make we wonder if we are creatures of habit, or do our routines, our habits, define and express who we are?
I work in a suburban office building which is in the shape of a long rectangle, with one of the narrow ends facing toward the street and the entrance to our parking lot. Near the front of the building there is reserved visitors parking, handicap parking, and one spot reserved for our CEO. NO ONE parks in that spot, except the CEO, even when he is out of town. In addition to these spots, there are a handful of “available” parking spots which are usually taken by the executives, upper management, and some of the sales people. This makes sense as their offices are near the front of the building. I have noticed that the higher the executive status, the closer to the front door they park. I don’t know if this is an unwritten rule, but even though those spots are not assigned, I often seen the same cars in the same order each day.
A little farther along, on the side of the building is another small parking lot, and none of these spots are assigned, yet like the front lot, people tend to always park in the same space. For months, every day when I came into work, I parked in the second spot in that side lot. Next to me was Big Black Van and on the other side was White Sedan, Backed In. I took comfort in pulling into work and seeing “my spot” waiting for me… It made me feel at home, comforted and relieved.
Then one day it happened – I came into work and someone had parked in “MY” spot. I didn’t recognize the car… who did it belong to? Why were they in “my” spot? How DARE they? Needless to say it threw me off and I had to pull around to Siberia – the back parking lot, far from my personal office just doors down from the side-of-the-building entrance. I walked into the back door grumbling and the whole thing put me in a bad mood for a couple of hours. Really? This was certainly a First World problem.
Why do we get so upset when our routines are disrupted? Why do we want our habits in the first place? And what do our habits say about us?
For example, Big Black Van always parks in the first spot. Is that because they get there first in the morning, or because they like the fact that the end spot is a little wider and therefore less likely to get their van dinged? And what about White Sedan Backed In? This car makes me think that they not only get into work early (and therefore can take the extra time to back their car in) but they also are ready to bolt at 5pm and want the fastest route out of work. They do their eight and skate!
For me, I realized that some habits give me a sense of balance and security, while other habits (those things we might consider bad habits) are the the ones that give me a false sense of balance and security, when they are actually holding me back. Lately I’ve been looking at my habits and deciding which ones I want to keep and which ones I need to release. It’s hard letting go of some long-standing habits, but I think the exercise of learning new ones, better ones, is worth the pain.
How do you feel about your habits? Parking or otherwise? Do you want to let some go? Are there some you just won’t let go of? Please share!