Jim Kenzie has joined our team at Vicarious! Read his columns here, you don’t want to miss it!
One of my best friends growing up was Jim Bakes. He was “Big Jimmy” because he was a year or so older than me and much taller. I therefore became “Little Jimmy”; you can imagine how much I liked that moniker.
Big Jimmy’s Dad Gordon used to drive us to school on occasion. He was the only person I had ever seen who backed into his driveway. I asked him why.
“When you arrive at your driveway,” he replied, “you know what traffic is on the street, so you can back in without worry. Then when it’s time to drive out, you can do it safely. But if you drive in frontwards…” – which everybody else did – “… you have to back out into the street, and you can’t really see if anybody is coming.”
It’s pretty obvious when you think about it, which, equally obviously, few people do.
That was for a driveway, but the same principle applies to any spot where you have no choice but to drive straight in, either frontwards or backwards. I.e., a spot against a wall or a sidewalk. I’ll call these “back-in spots”.
If you drive in frontwards, you have to back out into who-knows-what sort of traffic.
So please, everybody, back in to your parking spot.
With apologies to Mr. Beckham, “Back in like Bakes”.
In a larger parking lot, like you might find in a shopping mall or big-box store, there are often double spots, nose-to-tail. These I call “pull-through” spots because, again obviously, that’s what you should do with them. Drive in frontwards, “pull through” so the car is now facing out the other side, and when you return, you just drive on out. All frontwards.
Duck soup. Not that I’ve ever actually had duck soup…
But I have seen many people in mall parking lots enter a “pull-through” spot with no car in front of them – THEN THEY STOP AND PARK THERE!
C’mon, people. Give it some thought.
I once encountered the weirdest parking lot ever. It was somewhere in B.C. The lot was up against a brick building, so there were no “pull-through” spots. But there was a sign on the wall reading, “Please drive forwards into your spot.”
This was the most bass-ackwards sign I have ever seen. It was for a Boston Pizza store. Now, you may be able to guess where Boston Pizza is headquartered. Yep, Edmonton Alberta. So why did they call it “Boston” Pizza? My guess is that its name was created by the same idiot who made up their parking rules.
Brad Diamond of Motoring TV fame used to park his big Yukon SUV frontwards into “back-in” spots because he needed access to the rear hatch to unload all his cameras and stuff. If he were up against a wall or something, fair enough; he had little choice. Then of course, he needed to back out, which was doubly dangerous due to the size of his truck.
But if the spot T-junctioned to a sidewalk or a piece of lawn so he could in fact access the back of his truck, he’d still go in frontwards. Force of (bad) habit.
I tried many times to convince him of the error of his ways, so far without success. At least he didn’t have “MOTORING TV” splashed all over the side of his truck, so the rest of our team wasn’t tarred with his brush.
On another occasion, I demonstrated another parking trick. I was test-driving a Bullitt Mustang, a commemorative model to honour the car that Steve McQueen drove in that movie. In my view anyway, that was the best movie car chase scene ever. (The Dodge Charger the bad guy was driving? That car lost something like 8 hubcaps during the chase. That flick did not win the Oscar for “continuity”, if there is such an award.)
I took this hot-shot Mustang to pick up my eldest daughter Megan at a party she was attending at a pub in Burlington. Her husband had to drive their car somewhere else, so she had got a ride there with a friend, and I was picking her up.
As usual, I backed into a spot and waited for her to say her goodbyes.
A group of dudes was standing outside – the ban on smoking in bars had been enacted by this time. One of them slurred, “Hey man! Nice car!”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Too bad you don’t know how to park it!” he gibed. “It’s crooked!”
“I do that so the doors of my car don’t bump into the doors of the cars on either side of me.”
I could smell the sawdust burning from across the lot.
Why don’t more people park properly?
At least, readers of Vicarious no longer have an excuse.