Then there are days that I’m left shaking my head wondering how it is possible we have such stupidity in our world. Examples of this include the fact there are at least 50 accidents in my city during the first snowfall of the year which suggests people actually forget how to drive in less than 12 months. Or when I see those idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church preaching hatred and protesting at funerals. Or when people cannot understand how a four-way intersection works even after driving for 40 years. Or when I see people drag their toddlers along to hold a sign for some random politician or to protest an event or an issue with more concern about their cause than the child freezing in the cold or being rained on or getting surburned.
All of those examples aside, one of the most common areas where human stupidity is displayed is in a parking lot which leads us to my first blog post in a series devoted to human stupidity. Now it goes without saying that everyone is well aware of what the purpose of a parking lot is, what the general rules of parking are, and what actions are required to park a vehicle. However, you cannot possible visit a large retail store on any given day without witnessing at least one of the following:
- A car parked so haphazardly that there is no way possible to occupy the space directly adjacent to it.
- A large vehicle which ignores all conventional understanding and is parked at least five to ten feet away from the front border of that particular parking space which in turn leaves a large portion of the vehicle hanging out in the aisle where people are supposed to be driving.
- A car driving down the opposite direction of a one-way lane totally oblivious to the fact that even if there was an open parking space, their only option to get into the space would be to back in (or ‘reverse in’ if you are British).
- A full size SUV or truck parked in a space clearly marked as “Compact Car Only”.
- A large vehicle with trailer that decides it is best to park perpendicular to the parking outlines thereby taking five or six spaces when they could have just as easily parked near the far end of the lot where they could pull through in line with the painted outlines and only required two spaces.
- A vehicle crossing the parking lot at an angle at no less than 35 or 40mph oblivious to anyone who is actually driving down the center of the aisle as intended.
- A vehicle which decides to invent their own parking space which follows no normal rules of logic to the point you start looking around for Ashton Kutcher to see if you might be witnessing the taping of an episode of “Punk’d”.
…and my personal favorite (which only applies to those of us lucky enough to deal with snow covered parking lots)
- Vehicles trying to guess where the actual parking outlines are, and rather than line up in line with an object like a shopping cart corral, light pole, sign, parking island, or curb… they just randomly park anywhere. This not only reduces parking capacity of the lot by a solid 20%, but the rows of cars will often weave back and forth until they resemble the trail a snake makes as it crosses a sand dune.
In some cases this actually creates rows that are so close together, cars are actually unable to navigate down the middle of the row and instead find themselves needing to back up the entire way creating mini traffic jams that only serve to infuriate those inconvenienced by the stupidity of others.
Just a month or so ago I was at the mall at witnessed this exact event, and the lines were so screwed up that I actually saw a parked car behind a car which was already parked across from another car – essentially boxing in the center car. I was amazed at this – because although I could understand thinking it might have been a legitimate spot (even though the tail end of the third car was easily six feet behind any other car in that row), you might have thought when the person got out of their car and realized there were two cars in front of it and that they had just boxed someone in they might have had the intelligence to move to another spot, but sadly… no.
This whole parking situation bothers me on a personal level because I simply cannot understand how someone who pulls into a lot and has been parking in lots for years cannot actually park a vehicle without a visible yellow line telling them where to park. This would be like going to a movie and sitting on the floor in an aisle because there was nobody there to tell them which seat to occupy. That isn’t only stupid – that is bang your head on a hard surface kind of stupid.
Thus, being from South Dakota and dealing with snow covered lots for several months a year, I get to deal with these idiots on a regular basis. You have the moron who parked seven feet away from the car next to them thinking that was a typical spacing method, which then forces every other car in line to adapt and when the original car leaves you are left with random spaces that aren’t quite large enough for two cars, but far too large for one. These are mixed with other spaces that would only be suitable for a motorcycle or 1982 Chevy Chevette with the exterior mirrors removed, and of course you need to add the people who are unable to judge whether they are even remotely parallel to the vehicle next to them.
Now granted several of the items in my list above may be considered rude more than just stupid, but I’ve witnessed all of the above often enough to know that most people just don’t know they are being morons. Rude people might purposefully park diagonally across two lines to prevent door dings, or park in a fire lane because they think they are special, or leave their shopping cart in the empty space next to them because they just can’t take the ten seconds required to return it to the shopping cart corral, but the difference is rude people know they are being rude and they just don’t care. Stupid people don’t even realize when they are being stupid, and because they are generally surrounded by so many other stupid people, then tend to think their behavior is normal and acceptable.
Maybe it is true you can't fix stupid... but can we at least tag them like cattle to warn others?