Friends And The Art of Parking

Even though the outside temperature was nearing the century mark, it felt even hotter as we waited on the asphalt outside the roll-in car show. The smell of hot oil and antifreeze lingered in the air as a few cars succumb to the heat and found refuge at the side of the road. It’s surprising how heat and long lines can test the level of each persons patience. Getting off the road and into the event was only half the battle. Once in, the parking games began.

Perhaps one of my least favorite aspects of attending classic car events is getting the car parked and displayed. Certainly there are plenty of car shows where you can simply pull in, raise your hood, pull out the lawn chairs and you’re set. But everything doesn’t always go as planned. On this evening we pulled to the back of the lot, where a group of friends commonly parked together. We parked the car, pulled out the lawn chairs and met up with friends in a shady spot beneath an old maple tree off of the pavement. We had the perfect spot to observe the variety of cars and motorcycles that entered the event.

Any warm evening in July tends to bring out all the avid enthusiasts, from young to old, and from new car enthusiasts to classic car veterans alike, and this evening looked like it was going to be a busy one. The group of us gray beards gathered beneath the tree took the time to discuss many of the cars entering the event. It didn’t take long for us to notice, the backup getting cars into the event had more to do with everyone getting parked than anything the event organizer was doing. As car guys struggled to find the “right spot,” whether it was in the shade, or near a friend, or near other similar cars, or… Of course the parking problems were compounded by people saving spots for friends with lawn chairs, coolers, or diagonal parking.

Suddenly a tap on my shoulder, as a buddy leaned in to say, “I think that truck is getting too close to your car” directed my attention there. A lifted, mid 70s Ford F250 with over sized tires had backed in along side my car just inches away. I went over to talk to the young man, and point out that he was too close and I was unable to even open the drivers door. He stated the spot his friends left him wasn’t big enough for his truck. I asked if he was going to move his truck, and he replied, “But then I wouldn’t be close to my friends,” then walked away. My friends quickly moved their cars to gain a little more room between my car and the truck. And we once again returned beneath the old maple.

The groups conversation now turned to the events that just occurred and what the solutions may be. Some thought the show organizer should tell all participants where to park, while others felt different sized vehicles should be parked in different areas, and yet others pointed out the spots marked out in the parking lot were too close for show cars. But in the end we all agreed these parking woes could all be resolved with a good dose of common courtesy. And that those same common courtesies should extend to everything we do at an event, whether we are setting up a lawn chair, a sun tent, a small bar-b-cue, or even listening to music. If we ALL stopped and thought about how our actions may be impacting others, car events would remain enjoyable to everyone in attendance.

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