Monday, December 20, 2010

Parting Of The Seas

Barbara: This is a phenomenon I notice all year long, but I notice it particularly at holiday time
(is “phenomenon” the right word?) and I couldn’t resist asking if you’ve ever noticed it yourselves.

First, let me set my phenomenon-question up: I have this thing I do whereby I “ask” for a parking space if I need one and it never fails: a parking spot appears where and when I most need it (I remember discussing this phenomenon on one of your blogs recently, but dang it if I can remember which one). Anyway, I’ve become rather “famous” in my little circle for my Parking Fairy miracles. Don’t ask me who I think I’m asking. It’s not God. If I believed in a super-deity, I would NEVER waste his/her time on my parking dilemmas. But whoever/whatever it is, it/they are kind and benevolent enough to grant my parking wishes. (Okay, I totally remember comparing parking fairy stories with Hollye, am I right?—and her question, which is another of my own, is why don’t I feel entitled to ask the Publishing Fairy or the Casting Fairy or the Producing Fairy for their help. Anyway, I digress…)

So, this Parking Fairy goes around sprinkling her fairy dust and I believe with all my heart that she/he manifests some kind of universal control. Which brings me to my actual question:

When you’re out and about, rushing to and fro, trying to get chores done, trying to get home on time, knowing there are a million things at home that also need tending, have you ever noticed that sometimes the seas of cars or people around you either part to make your journey easier, or they merge in your path to make you stop, hesitate, and wait? I notice this happening all the time and it kinda freaks me out.

Let’s say I’m grocery shopping. I’m wheeling my cart down and around aisles like a possessed amasser-of-goods, and everywhere I turn, someone appears out of NOWHERE wheeling their own cart which they stop RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME so they can examine the plethora of cereal boxes with fixed and determined concentration while their cart blocks the ENTIRE AISLE and I have to “excuse me”, “uh-hmm”, and “do you mind” for a seeming shopping-hell eternity before they realize I am fumbling madly, which causes them in turn to (absolutely mortified and apologetic) finally scoot themselves and their cart out of the way. And this happens not just the one time that day, but literally every aisle I need to navigate.

Or conversely, I am in the same grocery-shopping-mode, but the opposite happens: every person around me elegantly and magically moves out of the way. Like we are part of some elaborate, synchronized shopping choreography. Every item that I want and need is in stock and, on my drive home, every light turns green as I approach.

Both scenarios require effort and work on my part, but some days are satisfying, effortless-effort and some are maddening, frustrating, slow-me-down challenges. And just as I noticed this phenomenon, I began to wonder if those “frustrating” days aren’t somehow a good reminder that I might need to slow things down a bit and welcome the hesitations and waiting. When you think about, there’s nothing essentially wrong with “slowing down”, is there? Especially in these crazy times.

So what do you think? Grand scheme or random luck?

(And what if this same question was applied to life in general? Sometimes every light turns green and things roll along smoothly, and sometimes, seemingly apropos of nothing, everything blocks your way and nothing happens the way you want or need it to. So when your way is blocked, are you being guided to slow down, take a breath, and reassess?)

Deb: When I was a “younger” girl, my Dad and I would be driving from, say, downtown and he would announce that we were going to make every single light. And I would marvel. How I would howl with laughter when my Dad would start to slow the car down to a snail’s pace from a mile away if he saw that the light ahead was red and even if we were going one millionth of a mile an hour he would not actually have to stop. I thought of how difficult that would be today and how people would be all over our asses honking and cursing. I have to honestly say that I have not thought of that in 35 years, Barb, and your story prompted the memory, so thanks.

Me, I think I have mentioned before that I have great shopping karma. It always works out for me. Parking lot karma has not been granted. I am out there with the rest of the slobs taking my chances. Sometimes I get the best spot and sometimes I drive in circles, desperate and searching.

And if I am frantic and hurried, do I slow down and take a breath and let fate have its way with me? You bet I don’t. I use every dirty word strung together in the most imaginable way. Get’s me through it, yes it does. 


  1. I have not got the worst parking lot karma,but I haven't got the best as well. With me it seems most of the time when every I find a parking spot some one always comes in a takes it.I HATE that. One someone does takes my parking space when they see that I want to get it,they that is the time when I honk my horn at them. I am the one who will honk my horn in traffic if you cut me off. When I was taught to drive my father would do something that would just make everyone so pissed off. If a car was getting to close to him in traffic he would slow up so they would have to go slow. He still does that till this day. People hate him when he drives.

  2. I do the parking request thing too Barbara, just by visualizing a free space where I want it, a few moments before I get there. It does seem to work consistently. It does make me think I should practise something similar in other areas of my life where I want things to go a particular way. Sometimes I do. It doesn't always have the result I want though, and I don't know why. So my jury is out on the whys and the certainty about any of it.
    Deb, recently I watched Carrie Fisher's standup show, Wishful Drinking, and when I saw the photos of her mom, Debbie Reynolds, I thought Holy Smokes, Deb looks so much like her! Have you heard this before?

  3. It happens to me both ways. Sometimes I want to park far away so I can walk a little. Depends totally on my mood. Also, I find the grocery aisles are okay most of the time. Every once in a while I find myself in the middle so I can shop both sides. What I don't like is when Target changes up it's aisles always moving things so I go to where it was last and nope aisle items have changed. I used to make my list for the market according to the aisles until everything changes. Thanks for the memories.

  4. Kate that's funny you say that. EVERYONE thinks I look like Debbie Reynolds including Carrie Fisher whom I auditioned for once in L.A. I even won a TV when I was in my early 20's at a City Hall festival that was doing a lookalike contest. Colin doesn't see it but I do!

  5. Lyndsie, I think I've got caught around your dad on the roads ;)

    And Madge, the changing-aisles thing drives me CRAZY too!! MY grocery store does it on a regular basis...

    And Deb, I never knew that Carrie Fisher story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Deb! Speaking of memories! When I was a little girl and my mom and I would go from southeast Alabama to west central Arkansas to see my Grandmama and other relatives, we'd have to pass through Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on the way. On that stretch of highway, there were, oh let me remember, I think 11 traffic lights in 9 miles? Or, was it 9 traffic lights in 11 miles? I think it was the first. My mom would play that game with me! I'd be totally giggling as she'd do the slow way down, speed way up as necessary thing so we would never really stop at any of those traffic lights on that stretch of highway.

    Wow, I haven't thought about that in probably 20 years. LOL

  7. Yes Barb- I'm the one you had the parking gods conversation with. And I do believe that certain signs are given us at times, telling us to slow down, to pay attention. We all are messengers to one another, and take part in a very intricate dance. But we often miss the message.

    I think you and I have been messengers for one another. : )

  8. Rigel, so sweet that you and your mom had that same tradition!!

    And, Hollye, abso-friggin-lutely. No question.

  9. I have often longed for a reliable Patron Saint of Lost Keys and a Patron Saint of Now-Where'd-I-Lay-Down-My-Glasses-the-Last-Time-I-Took-Them-Off.

  10. I am cracking up at Deb's dad--that's beautiful! I think it's ALL a matter of perception. You notice what you've primed yourself to notice. When i go out to shop for the holidays, I always park BACK A WAYS so i don't have to deal with the manic, stupid people fighting and bickering over the up front stuff. People don't part for me because I walk at lightning speed in my dodge around them way (slow people annoy me badly... at least if they insist on walking four across--one or two--fine-your perogative to meander. 4? Pair off and give everyone else part of the aisle dammit.

    I definitely think you should talk to that publishing fairy, Barb. In fact I think I'm gunna have a little chat, too...

  11. I have noticed the same thing. Some times everything goes right, others... well I don't like to think of those times. I start screaming. It does seem like the more harassed I get the slower everything around me goes.
    Maybe the universe is trying to tell me slow down and breath. If I do, things seem to magically speed up and allow me to go my way.
    Yep I think there is a universal plan, but we just hate being told what to do and fight it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.