Parking Lot Non-Scale Victory

Los Angeles is known for having horrible traffic and crazy drivers, and it’s a well-earned reputation. But here’s a little-known Los Angeles fact: It’s not just on the road that drivers in Los Angeles behave rudely and aggressively – it’s in the parking lots as well. People don’t know how to park around here.

California is a progressive and environmentally-aware state, and there have been initiatives to encourage people to drive less and drive smaller, more efficient cars. The smog laws are the most strict in the country. There are a lot of carpool lanes. When GM started manufacturing the EV1 electric car in the late ’90s, Los Angeles built charging stations all over the place, and gave them the best parking spots, right next to the handicap spots (although the charging stations are long gone, some of the signage pointing the way remains).

Then there’s the compact car parking spot. These spots are shorter and narrower than regular parking spots, and their smaller size allows for more cars to fit into a lot where land is at a premium, and, in more spacious venues, it subtly encourages compact car usage, as compact spaces are often closer.

When I’m making my way through a parking lot with lots of available spaces, I often have a laugh noting other drivers’ definition of ‘compact.’ It befuddles me that there are people who consider their giant SUV, dual cab pick-up or boat-sized sedan to be a compact car. But when I’m in a parking lot that’s nearly full, there’s no laughter. I get so annoyed when an oversized car is in a compact spot, because half the time, they encroach so much on the spots next to them, that they can’t be used at all. One dumbfuck illiterate driver can take up threeparking spots. It just ain’t right.

Worse yet are the times when I park my Ford Focus in a compact spot, next to another compact car, but when I return, that neighboring car is gone, and some tank is in its place. Sometimes, that car is precariously close to mine. Last May, I wrote a post about having to climb through my car, from the passenger side, because there was no room on the driver’s side. Click here to check it out – it’s a good read about a weight loss perk that I hadn’t even considered until I benefited from it.

The other day, the aforementioned scenario happened again. After Tavi brought me to my first-ever yoga class, we headed down the street and grabbed a post-workout snack at Jamba Juice (a 230-calorie berry-and-beet smoothie and a wheatgrass shot). When we returned to my car, another car had parked pretty damn close. It wasn’t close enough to warrant me climbing through from the passenger’s side, but getting into the driver’s seat without banging the door against the neighboring car would require some careful slinking and slithering on my part.

It looked much tighter in real life than it does in that photo!

Since Tavi was with me, I had him photograph my entry, because I knew this was something that I wouldn’t have been able to pull off when I was heavier.

Approaching the car. Have you ever read about how some animals, like rats and octopi, can fit their entire bodies through a hole no bigger than a quarter? That's what this feels like.

Right foot in. Turning sideways because my hips won't fit any other way.

Sliding forward, so both hips are inside the doorway, which will eventually allow me to start sitting.

Smile for the camera!

Starting to sit. My hand has to hold the door in place, so my left knee doesn't push it into the other car. I'm turning my head, so it clears the opening between the car door and the roof.

Once my head clears the roof, I can pivot, still holding onto the door, and start to bring my left leg inside the car.


The entire process took 12-13 minutes.

Kidding. The entire process took a matter of seconds. Once I was in, I actually got out (the same process, reversed) and did it again, to make sure that Tavi got all the photos. Yep, those are the lengths I’ll go to for the sake of a good blog post. Or this blog post.

It’s accomplishments like this one, that, in the grand scheme of things, are relatively minor parts of my day and my life, that often excite me the most. They show that the changes I’ve made are trickling down and affecting me in ways I can’t predict or anticipate. They show that every single moment – not just when I leave the gym or step on the scale – has been bettered by my weight loss. Best of all, they remind me, often at times when my weight is the last thing on my mind, of the magnitude of my accomplishments. Hell yeah, that deserves a…



8 Responses to Parking Lot Non-Scale Victory

  1. claudia says:

    i get what you’re saying..but in defense of us w/ big cars- sometimes there are no normal sized spaces. I’ve been in some lots where every single space was marked ‘compact’ so, should i not be able to shop there? or should we say Smart Cars shouldn’t be able to park in a regular sized space?
    Alright, that said, i get the point of your post, and really, congrats to you- i’ve hit a lull in my weight and can’t seem to lose a pound. So, i am proud of you, and so glad you could fit your boot into that tiny little car door opening. and LOL that you re-did it to get all the pics.

  2. claudia says:

    boot was supposed to be booty

  3. Arlene Hittle says:

    You’re a better person than I am. I’d probably have just let my car door slam into the other car.

    Congrats, David! That truly is one of the little, but very exciting victories.

  4. Andie says:

    Love it!

    I had a great moment at dinner out, walking out of the restaurant. Two tables we had to go past were really close together, and 6 months ago, I would’ve had to find another way out. But this time, I just turned sideways and slid right through. The people I slid past didn’t notice, because I didn’t have to bump into them or ask them to scoot in. It felt awesome.

  5. Man, you’re the better person. By a lot. When I had an old, clunky subaru (which I ADORED) I just LET FLY with the door. And one time (parking in philadelphia on the street) some ahole illegally parked me in from the front. I proceeded to start my car and push his out of the way.

    Oddly enough a small group gathered, and I thought for sure that I was going to get into some kind of trouble (i mean, I basically rear ended him, and then proceeded to continue to do so to get out) but I got some applause, and an elderly lady who said “good for you, what kind of fool would park like that?”

    but yeah, I really miss that car.

    • David says:

      What a great story – I love it! I’d never have the guts to do something like that, but I’ve sure thought about it! KEEP IT UP!

      • Heather says:

        Apparently karma waited a long time to get me back, after I posted that comment, I went to the market and the wind pulled my car door out of my hand, taking a very nicely shaped nail with it! At least the damage is only cosmetic!

        When I had that car i was like honey badger!

  6. wow, this is crazy. Congrats man. I tecd to scope out parking spots where I think no one will do that to me. I would have had to wait til the person in that car came out. You want to know whats really embarrsing is I’ve had to ask people in the past if they could back my car out for me becase I couldn’t get into it.

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