Parking On the Back Forty

agriculture barn boardwalk bridge
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Yesterday, two events occurred which rarely do. First, a woman honked at us for taking “her” space in a busy parking lot and I waved my hand at her in a mocking way. Second, just a couple of hours later, I mouthed the words “A-hole”, as a young gentleman cut us off when we were leaving that same space. We had to back up to let him take the parking space that just a moment earlier was “ours” but he now already believed was “his”.

The way he was pointing his finger at me led me to believe he is a lip reader.

Now, it’s not all that rare to be honked at or cut off in a parking lot or even while driving on a busy street.  It is highly unusual for me to react in such a boorish, confrontational way.  I happened to be sitting in the back seat, not driving, and perhaps that gave me the courage to let my inner jerk out. I’m embarrassed to think about it today. (In my case, re-running the tape of that through my head is not exculpatory.)

But that is not what I want to talk about here.

I propose that a good number of problems in life may be solved if we’ll choose parking spaces as far away from our destination as the parking lot will allow.

In exchange for walking just a minute, or two, or five extra, drivers trade the battle for that-one-open-space for a vast number of options, often under cushy shade trees, even on the hottest of days. These are spots that thousands of drivers may have passed up for the privilege of driving up and down rows of parked cars just waiting to pounce. (As seen earlier in this essay.) Lots of times the “back forty”, that fur piece of land, is just a few yards away from the congestion, and the leedle longer walk from car to bar, from stopping to shopping, can be relaxing, the exercise salutary.

Some folks, for health or other reasons, legitimately need to park as close to their destination as possible. They deserve easy access to proximate spots.

But…this is a metaphor for life, really.

Parking ourselves outside the mainstream can provide opportunities to settle into the halcyon days of summer, or into the hush of winter. Instead of rushing to be first, or best, or most recognized, or richest, there are times when not surrendering ourselves to the rat race makes a whole lot of sense. Sometimes parking our lives on the back forty is the real answer, just a short distance but a long way from elbowing for space.

(When I think of people who live their lives on the back forty, on their own terms, I think of AK Turner, see Vagabonding With Kids, who has made her career – writing – and family into one big adventure.  Wow!)

The finger he was pointing, btw, was his forefinger. He was more the gentleman than I.

AND he got the parking space.

Next time, I’m parking in the shade.

nature red forest leaves
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