Friday, November 16, 2007

Preparing for Christmas Part 1: Parking

The Christmas season is approaching fast, or what most people call the Christmas season which is really the Advent season. This means that there is much preparation to do with only a very limited amount of time. In this multi part series, I will be working you through some of the finer points of preparing for the holiday season. This part is dedicated to parking and how to prepare for doing it on Black Friday and beyond.

First, learn how the car you will be driving to the mall performs and how fast it can go from 0 mph - 60 mph. This bit of information will help you in determining whether or not you can out gun a fellow shopper to the recently exited parking place on the near by row. After having the above information, practice pulling in and out of your garage at extremely high speeds. The garage provides the perfect testing ground for simulating a parking place at the mall. The narrower your garage the better, as it will get you more comfortable for the initial run. I recommend doing a fast lap or two around the block so as to build up to max speed and get practice at leaning into the turns and high velocities. Learning to make tight turns at high speeds is key to acquiring any parking place at the mall during the holiday season. Also, it is encouraged that you become comfortable with weaving in and out of traffic and stopping on a dime, for this is a useful parking lot skill. For those people who are daring, I highly recommend learning how to use the power-slide to parallel park. It is quick, efficient, and will almost certainly secure you a parking place. Remember, how you practice is how you will perform when it matters most, so don’t skirt or short change your self on the practice runs.

Second, after learning how your car handles, go to the malls that you will be shopping at through the holiday season. Map the layout of the lot. Are there parking garages that you can use, a roof that you can park on, or a near by street? You should also consider the lay of the spaces themselves: are the spaces parallel to each other or are the all angled so that you can only enter the spot from one direction? These are things to consider, as they will make the parking experience the more efficient. Also, it is of grave importance to calculate how an asphalt parking lot handles differently than a regular cement lot, so practice all you high speed maneuvers to determine how to react come shopping time.

Thirdly, come shopping day, do not be afraid. Fear is your enemy and a weakness. Provided that you have done the necessary practice and learned the parking lots of the malls at which you will be shopping, you should be fine and have nothing to fear. You have even less to fear if you drive a large SUV, as you can easily intimidate any smaller vehicles that are in the lot searching for a parking place. Intimidating other drivers is crucial in obtaining the most coveted of spaces, most people believe that acquiring a parking place is not worth wrecking their car. Use this against your opponent. Be sure to show your teeth while going up and down each isle – even more so when you pass a fellow shopper looking for a place to become free. Growling and grunt is a necessity. I also suggest caring packets of Alka-Seltzer and chewing on a couple of tablets as you drive in the parking lots so as to give the impression of a crazed rabid person in search of prey. This is highly effective, as it will stop drivers in their tracks, which will give you the opportunity to jump ahead and pull into the recently vacated spot. Lastly, do not be afraid to shake your head neurotically and let out a deep yaoup as if you are Xena or William Wallace. Every bit helps and increases your possibility of puling into a parking place with ease. Remember, do not fear, the other drivers can smell it, and if they smell it then you have already lost and will most likely spend hours in search of a parking place.

Lastly, if for whatever reason you cannot find a place to park simply pray “Hail Mary full of grace / help me find a parking place.”

There are several movie you can watch that will help you get a feel for high speed travels, sudden stops, and tight turns: any James Bond movie, The Blues Brothers, Days of Thunder, Talladega Nights, Cannon Ball Run, and the Fast and The Furious. There are also a couple of video games you can use to help get you in the mood for the holiday parking lot experience: the Grand Turismo series, Spy Hunter, and the Mario Kart series.

Stay tuned for advice on preparing for the shopping experience.

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