Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Parking lot maneuvers

When I first moved to McLean, my husband had already been living here for several years. He grew up in Brooklyn and I'm not exactly sure what the relationship is, but it was very important to him to take as many shortcuts as possible through parking lots as he went about his errands around town. For the first couple of weeks, I had no idea how to actually DRIVE ON THE STREETS to get someplace, because all I knew was what I'd seen driving through parking lots next to him as he pointed out, "There's the Giant," "Here's the Safeway," "That's the Blockbuster," etc.

It became a joke around the house that my husband lived for his, what we called, "parking lot maneuvers," and we were always trying to one up him with more, and more bizarre, ways to get to places via going through parking lots that were actually much more simple to get to if you DROVE ON THE STREETS.
Larry's pride was a 2 parking lot maneuver that involved going through the SunTrust parking lot to get to the street in front of the Safeway, and then going through the Safeway parking lot to get to the street in front of Pappa John's. The big deal was that there were no traffic lights you had to sit at and wait through.
We are a competitive family. When the boys were younger, we used to play a card game together called PIT, as in a stock trading pit. The goal of the game was to amass all the cards of a particular commodity, such as corn, wheat, etc. Once you'd done that, you had to yell "Cornered Corn!" or "Cornered Wheat," and bang this push bell on the table. We would get so competitive, and so physical about winning, that people (me) were known to actually bodyslam the bell on the table, to keep anyone else from getting to it.

You would think that this has no relationship to this story, but it does, because one day, our middle son came home looking like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary. Or in his case, someone who knew he had come up with a parking maneuver so astounding in its ingenuity and boldness that he would leave Larry breathless, astonished, and totally unable to come up with anything better.

Let me lead you through this triumph of male one-ups-man-ship. It's a trip from our house to the post-office. A normal person would go out to Old Chainbridge Road, take a right onto Elm Street after the light at Old Dominion, and be there in a minute or two. But that's not how you do it when you're competing for King of Parking Lot Maneuvers.

You start out up Kurtz Road -- this is the main road that leads out of our neighborhood. The direction you are heading is completely opposite to the direction of the post office. But no matter.
Oh! Look! There's the SunTrust parking lot.

Let's take a left turn!
This is Parking Lot Number 1.

You drive through the SunTrust Parking lot.
It's a little hard to see here, but the SunTrust parking lot is directly adjacent to the Salona Village stripmall parking lot.
So you drive from Parking Lot Number 1, directly into Parking Lot Number 2 without crossing a street to get there. I'm not sure how many prestige points you get for this, but it's probably a lot. It's a fiendish move.

Once you're in the Salona Village strip mall lot, you drive a little bit, past the Treasure Trove and Green Matter and almost to the McLean Family Restaurant and there is the opening to Chainbridge Road.

Turn left and then take another quick right into the Safeway lot. This is Parking Lot Number 3.
Here we are in the Safeway lot.

And here we are, with Old Chainbridge Road right in front of us.

So you take a left onto Old Chainbridge, and then take a quick right into the next parking lot. There are a lot of little business-oriented shops here. This is Parking Lot Number 4.

It's a block long lot. Once you go through this lot, you're on Beverly Road. And this is where the trip goes back to normal.
You turn left onto Beverly.

Take a right onto Elm Street

Then another left into the post office parking lot. That's Parking Lot Number 5.

Of course, by the time you get there, it's taken you 10 minutes or more, because of speed bumps, waiting for traffic to clear to make all those left turns, and in general, just going much more slowly than you would if you were driving down a regular street.

But damn! It's a 5 Parking Lot Maneuver.

Larry was never able to surpass it.

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