PARKING GARAGE COURTESY

Parking garages are … an invention. Logically, I understand their purpose in cities where space is more coveted than followers. Let’s be honest, they are space savers. You can fit more cars in the same amount of land if you build vertically than you can on a ground level only surface. That’s just common sense. Taller equals more capacity. This is true for houses, ice cream cones, beer glasses, mohawks, the new Starbucks shipping freight container looking stores, anything really. Build up – it’s the future. They say shoot for the stars, so why not start closer to them?

Aside from the logical purpose of these structures, they suck. Basically the seventh level of Dante’s inferno. Never in my life have I been excited about the chance, or the requirement, to park in a garage. Where to even begin? The beautiful concrete architecture? Sure, because apparently we are still in the brutalist movement. They’re all giant striped rectangles made out of the world’s most bland material. Concrete. I’m sure there’s some structural reasoning behind that, but aesthetically? Bleh. You can never miss a parking garage, that’s for sure.

I’m going to give the architects the benefit of the doubt with the material they are limited with. Let’s move on to the next awful thing about the invention of the parking garage. Attendant booths. In other words, a way to charge you for parking. Why? Because how else would we pay for the cost to build the beautiful monstrosity? Does anyone look forward to paying for parking? I mean, you’re paying to leave your car somewhere. Somewhere that is not even responsible for what happens to your vehicle while you’re not in it. What kind of scheme is this?

Design and money are one thing. My main problem with parking garages, though, is how people choose to drive in them. Before driving up that ramp, I would like to know who keeps approving garages that are wide enough for anywhere between 1.25 – 1.5 cars in any given driveable path. If you are building a two way garage, why on Earth would you not make it wide enough for 2 entire vehicles? How is that helpful to anybody? Vehicles do not do well in confined spaces. They are not ninjas. They do not pivot well. They do not recover if bumped into. What is this madness? 

On that note, all garages with blind corners need mirrors. Not mirrors the size of a smartphone, either. Giant, clear, well placed mirrors so you can see oncoming vehicles that will not fit in the space designed for less than 2 cars. Otherwise, it’s just a hope and a prayer. Might as well close our eyes and have Jesus take the wheel all the way up. Up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up until eventually you find a spot in the one area that makes the potential benefit of using a garage disappear. Covered parking would be the one plus. Because, you know, birds have to poop too. But at the top, welp, so sorry you spent money to park in the elements.

I would also like to know why people think it’s ok to drive at city speeds through a garage where there are corners involved and not enough space. Where are you trying to go? There is one way up and one way down. Slow down. Think about your actions. Are you trying to steal the closest space? From who? While you’re at it, stop driving in the middle of the lane! It’s meant for two cars. You are not special. You do not get extra space. Be courteous. STAY IN YOUR LANE. And don’t give me a dirty look when you whip around a corner on my side of the garage and almost hit me. I’m following the rules and you, well nobody knows what you’re doing. Back your driver’s license all the way back to the DMV so you can get a lesson in two way traffic.

So, we’ve trusted our cars to the concrete jungle, spent way too much money to leave it there, successfully navigated the blind corners, dealt with all the questionably licensed drivers, and found a spot. Now, getting out on foot. Why is this always the most complicated thing in the world. Where are all the exits? Why are they so hard to find? Let me be free. But, first, better remember some combination of letters, numbers, colors, and / or symbols or you’ll never see your car again.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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THE OPTIMISM OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION CREWS

I’m all for optimism – it makes life so much more fun! Don’t agree? Alright, you pessimistic son of gun, clearly you need a hug and some CHEWY CHIPS AHOY (because they are everything that’s right in this world). Then you probably need to be slapped because no one else needs your negativity. Keep that mess to yourself.

Anyways, I digress, like a turn lane with no road to turn onto. Have you ever noticed how many turn lanes lead, well, nowhere? Who put them there? More importantly, what higher up approved the paving of said turn lane? And of course, who pitched the idea? Who woke up one morning and thought ‘This new road is going to be great, but if we put some random turn lanes in the public will think we plan to come back and maintain the road for future development’? Because that is what you think, right? Oh, clearly they are going to build something there, otherwise why put a turn lane in? And if they’re building something new they will want to make sure the road stays in decent shape to attract all the young, hip people to make this town a global hot spot for the yuppies .

The funniest part is you never see one of these stag turn lanes that have been freshly paved. They’re all slightly faded, the paint is cracking – clearly it’s been there for awhile and still it leads into the always desirable wooded area where a serial killer is probably waiting for you to wander in like the curious being you are. Or it goes to a swamp which is most intriguing because what on earth is being built there?! A water park?! A pool?! Last I checked solid structures on a liquid foundation don’t work…outside of Venice of course, which should be a wonder of the world.

I wish I could have the same optimistic outlook on potential future endeavors in my job. If I could go to my manager and say ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if I spent three months working on a project that will do NOTHING for our business currently, but if we decide one day down the road that it might be feasible for us to explore possibilities in that direction, I’d have laid the very first step by creating a Google Doc, putting a title on it, and formatting it to perfection…but nothing more’. What would the response be? Well, probably a drug test for starters, then some variation of ‘hell no, get back to work’!

So clearly my job doesn’t follow the optimism model that road construction companies do and what a shame that is. At the end of the day, those workers probably go home satisfied and feeling like a true team player. They set another crew up for success after all…at some point, maybe, in the future. Not only did they do their job, oh no! They went above and beyond and added turn lanes everywhere. Like Oprah. YOU GET A TURN LANE AND YOU GET A TURN LANE AND YOU GET A TURN LANE! EVERYBODY GETS A TURN LANE!

It could be worse though. There could be NO turn lanes. Then the whole country would be like Atlanta and everyone’s Google Maps would be purple during rush hour. Purple?! Yes, purple. I didn’t realize there could be traffic worse than the deep maroon color, but leave it to hotlanta to give us a new level of stoppage. They don’t even use the traffic lights because no one would move – there are traffic cops that man EVERY INTERSECTION to shut down the drivers who think that as long as they are in the act of turning it’s fine regardless of the impact it has on traffic going the other way. That’s a topic for ANOTHER TIME though.

Moral of the story: more turn lanes are better than no turn lanes. If nothing else they allow you to imagine what might be coming. And, as Albert Einstein said, ‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.’ So these seemingly random turn lanes are making us smarter…wow are road construction crews thoughtful!

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who is frustrated about the never-ending road construction, share this with them so they stop complaining and start realizing that it’s all for their greater good. Thanks for reading!


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