Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The holidays are over. Most of us have already started blowing our New Year’s resolutions. We are firmly ensconced in the DEAD OF WINTER.

And for once, I’m not complaining about it.

Here in southwestern Pennsylvania, winter has been kind. So far. It’s been mild. We’ve had rain instead of snow, but not enough to cause flooding. Mud? I can live with a little mud. Yes, I realize we have a couple of months to go, and Old Man Winter might slap us up side the head any minute now. But last year the nasty stuff started the day after Thanksgiving and continued until April. So every day of nice weather we have is one less day of the wicked stuff. And one day closer to spring.

But there’s one thing I like about winter no matter what the weather. The stores aren’t jam packed.

All right, there is that milk and toilet paper madness that hits whenever the forecast calls for more than a flurry of snow. But in general, it’s easier to shop this time of year.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it really isn’t the holiday craziness INSIDE the store that I dread so much. It’s the craziness in the parking lot.

I confess. I hate (loathe) parking lots. People lose all sense of humanity when they’re trying to get a good parking space. Or any parking space.

Yes, I seriously wish I had the nerve (and that big ol’ tank of a car) to do this. Don’t you?

But even once you’ve got the space, you still have major obstacles to overcome. One day, shortly before Christmas, two different drivers nearly backed over me while I walked from the far reaches of the lot to the store. Is it too much trouble to look behind you before ramming your car in reverse and pounding the gas? Seriously.

And then there’s my 91-year-old mom who walks with a cane and can’t jog across the pedestrian crossing. I have to act like a school crossing guard and stand there, daring these impatient idiots to hit me, so Mom can hobble into the store. I’ve been known to give “The Look” (Joyce, you know the one) to drivers who act like they’re going to mow us down. So far it’s worked. The day it doesn’t, I hope someone gets a license number. At the very least, I’ll be kicking the hell out of their car’s undercarriage as they drive over me.



Joyce Tremel said...

Even when the lots aren't crowded, I like to park far away anyway. Someone is less likely to ding the car with their car door.

My pet peeve when shopping is when people park their carts in the middle of the aisle. It seems to be especially prevalent on Sundays when the whole fam-damnly goes shopping after church--Mom, Dad, six kids, grandma, all clogging the aisle. This is the big reason I try to avoid the grocery store on the weekends (unless there's a Steeler game--then the store's like a ghost town). One of these days, someone's going to get a lot more than The Look, though.

C.L. Phillips said...

The scourge of grocery parking lots? Women driving SUVs talking on their cell phones. A woman was killed a few weeks ago by a driver in the local grocery parking lot. So sad. The driver didn't see her. Nothing's been said about any cell phone use, so it could be a tragic accident.

I took it as a message from you-know-who.

Slow down. Breathe. Walk in the crosswalks, and don't back out until you are CERTAIN the coast is clear.

My new motto? I am not in a hurry.

Great post Annette! Thanks for reminding us to be good to each other.

Ramona said...

Isn't it a weird winter? I'd be fine with skipping snow this year. It's pretty and I like to shovel it, but it's not nearly so much fun without my doggie.

My thing in parking lots is I like to park so I can pull ahead and avoid backing out. I hate to back out. So I'm probably near Joyce, but for a different reason.

Annette said...

Joyce, I agree on all counts. I prefer to park far away, but when I have my mom with me, I try to find someplace where she doesn't have to walk too far. We have a handicap placard, but those old timers are the worse for fighting for those few spaces. As for carts clogging the aisles, don't you love it when people have a reunion in the middle of the aisle and block everything while they catch up??? Argh.

Annette said...

C.L., that's so sad. Drivers on cell phones scare me silly.

Ramona, the problem I've encountered with pulling into parking spots so I don't have to back out is the person who pulls in behind me always parks so close to my back bumper that I can't get my groceries in my trunk.

Liz Milliron said...

I've always said that the "peace and goodwill" of Christmas clearly doesn't extend to the parking lot. I too try to park away from other cars. My son runs through lots assuming that the parked cars mean less danger. Um, no.

And yes, I had the traffic jams in grocery stores, too. If I have to stop, I always try to move my cart as far to the side as possible, to allow others to get through. Because of those lovely get-togethers, this is not always possible. Love shopping during the Steeler games. Too bad that's done until next fall.

Ramona said...

Annette, you bring up one of my biggest pet peeves--grocery cart behavior. I HATE when people leave their carts at the front or wherever in the aisle, and wander off to do their groceries while others have to maneuver around the cart, which is always in someone's way. Grrr! I'm always tempted to dump a bunch of embarrassing items in it.

Annette said...

Ramona, that would imply that you were carrying those "embarrassing" items with you to begin with. ;-)

Patg said...

I hate parking lots too. I refuse to use the undercover, mall lots anymore. The walk across the street does me good, and as CL said, I'm in no hurry. But even in that smaller lot, I park near the end because closer in, you can't see a thing backing out.
My complaint with shopping carts is when people leave them IN a parking space. Lazy a.....s.

Becky said...

I have two things I do at the pedestrian crossing. If I think someone doesn't see me I give the hand up and facing them to get their attention. And then there is the other one. If those fools don't slow downn I give them the hand down like I'm using a yo yo. And of course I give them a dirty look. Will someone run me down on purpose one day? You never know.

Joyce Tremel said...

Speaking of leaving carts in the aisle...why in the world do some women leave their purses in their carts???

NEVER put your purse in the cart. Even if you only turn your back for a second or two, it's long enough for some crackhead to lift it. Keep it on your arm/shoulder, or don't take a purse to the store. I'm a walking public service announcement when I go shopping.

Nancy Martin said...

When I was crippled up with a back problem, I sometimes left my shopping cart out in the lot because I couldn't make it back to the store---or I couldn't walk from the store to my car without leaning on a cart. Now that I'm better, I make it my mission to clean up carts abandoned in the parking lots. I figure they're left by people who didn't have a choice---and felt as guilty as I did!


Gina said...

I love that clip, Annette. Been there, wanted to do that but always had sufficient self-control not to. I'm always careful to watch for backup lights when walking - that often the only warning. I really hate it when I'm sandwiched between vans or SUVs and can't see whether anything's coming when I'm backing out. My strategy is to park between the vans/SUVs when I get there, on the theory that by the time I'm done the big things will be gone and tiny cars will be beside me. Works almost every time. I just shove the shopping carts in the aisle aside, muttering "excuse me" in a polite tone of voice if there are people attached. Yeah, purses left in carts - the crackheads don't even have to take the whole purse. It's usually hanging open with the wallet sticking out.

Annette said...

I do put my purse in the cart, but don't leave it unattended. And I use one of those gizmos that rock climbers use to clip it to the cart. If someone tries to snatch it and run, they're going to have to take the whole cart with them. I figure it'll slow them down just enough for me to get in a good swift kick.

Becky said...

I hate carts that are left abandoned in the parking lot. I'm not leaving any of them around my car. A nice wind will just blow them around. So for the sack of my car I take them to the nearest cart return.