You have to believe...
June 17, 2005 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Spots Before His Eyes? At last, the Paper of Record publishes a story about something I've known and experienced for years. This retired math professor believes that New York is "...a parking paradise." Want a free parking spot, just believe you'll find one, and you will. When I lived in the SF area and had to go to The City for business, I would visualize parking and something always turned up. How about you? How do you conjure the parking Goddess?
posted by dbmcd (38 comments total)
The trick is to think outside of the box:

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:24 AM on June 17, 2005

We never had trouble getting a spot in SF, thanks to Gladys, the Goddess of Urban Parking. A quick prayer and there's a spot with a meter with time on it.
posted by paddbear at 11:25 AM on June 17, 2005

The parking lot where I work is consistently full, and getting fuller, as they add more and more seasonal workers (I work as a subcontractor for a defense/aerospace supplier.) I've figured out just about every way to scam open spots, whether it's parking in the "Tow Zone Medical" spots (which aren't really handicapped spots, and aren't labeled as such, so everyone just parks there anyway), or parking in the "Decal Required" spots, which they neither ticket for nor monitor, or simply arriving a little later than most people, after a few folks have already left for offsite work or early lunches. So far, I've not once had to park in the dreaded "upper lot" (which is about 1/4 mile away from the entrance to the plant) except by choice (for exercise reasons). I guess I just have good mojo, or dubious morals. Either way, I rule at parking.
posted by wakko at 11:34 AM on June 17, 2005

posted by hackly_fracture at 11:41 AM on June 17, 2005

when I drove to work (work in downtown manhattan, home in Jersey) I had to arrive at the spot an hour in advance (it had "no parking until 6pm" signs, so I'd arrive at 5 pm) and then wait in the car with the engine running in case a tow truck or cop came by wanting to write a ticket.
posted by shmegegge at 11:46 AM on June 17, 2005

When I was in grad school in DC, one of the two fellow students who intimidated me intellectually swore by this method. She went so far as to make her car "invisible" and leave it in two hour parking all day and never ever got a ticket on her bright yellow VW Bug. Ok, ok, we were in a Fine Arts program and all, but still, this was a smart smart person.

I don't believe in all that hokum. So I got a lot of tickets.
posted by rainbaby at 11:48 AM on June 17, 2005

I pray and visualize and drive around, and pray and visualize and drive around, and pray and visualize and drive around, and -- sooner or later a spot materializes!

Even though I sometimes have to pray and visualize and drive around a long time, I'm *sure* it's the magic of positive thinking, or esp or remote viewing or quantum mechanics or something...
posted by jasper411 at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2005

My sister is always going on about parking karma, and she always finds a good spot. All she does is try to be courteous on the roads, and presto, good parking.
posted by helvetica at 11:56 AM on June 17, 2005

Occasionally, I will park further away from the lot as a form of offering that I might get good parking when I really want it.
posted by boo_radley at 12:00 PM on June 17, 2005

I used to joke with friends about a parking god of some kind, cause I always get good parking and they dont...but really, I'm just patient enough to make 2 or 3 laps around the parking lot in my climate controlled car rather than park and walk it, and I usually park just a bit after classes start, so I catch the space of people who were late out of the class before going home..
posted by nile_red at 12:01 PM on June 17, 2005

When driving around a crowded parking lot, recite the following incantation:

Space is big
Space is dark
It's hard to find
A place to park

This will shortly summon a parking space for you. Once you find it, conclude the ritual by speaking the word "Burmashave." It never fails. However, it is vitally important that you say "Burmashave," or else the spell may lose its potency and never work for you again.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:03 PM on June 17, 2005

After using an astounding number and variety of parking talismans ranging from a Hindu finger god puppet to an abandoned baby rattle, we've found that invoking "Herb Caen, Saint of Puns, Perfect Martinis, and Parking*" worked best of all.
    * Caen's advice was to never assume that the "inches of free parking" applies to you until you drive directly to the closest proximity to your destination, and see if there might by celestial happenstance to be a parking place, like a small San Francisco miracle, right there just for you. When ever me mate and I find a parking place directly in front of the entrance to our appointment or apartment, we sigh, and mutter, "Well...we'll never get this spot again. I suppose now we'll have to buy the building...."
posted by Dunvegan at 12:05 PM on June 17, 2005

Funny, I haven't had a lick of trouble parking my motorcycle in San Francisco or any other city I've ridden too. Its also alot faster to get in and out of the city, especially when the cars are dead stopped on the highway.
posted by fenriq at 12:08 PM on June 17, 2005

all you need is the parking angel
posted by nearo at 12:09 PM on June 17, 2005

we have a small chant ...

"Squat, Squat, we like you a lot, how about a parking spot."
the sacrifice of a bad joke helps as well.

The origins of Squat are lost in the mist of time to me ... I believe he hails from San Francisco.
posted by Dillenger69 at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2005

I've never had a problem finding a place to park.

My bike.
posted by recursive at 12:19 PM on June 17, 2005

I know the parking space goddess as Naomi. I never park illegally so's to keep on her good side, and sing to her while looking for a space. She is always very generous.

Naomi's Song:

O Naomi, you are so beautiful!
Beep beep!
You have ruby red lips, like a shiny new Corvette,
Beep beep,
You have shiny jewelry made out of car keys,
Beep beep!

posted by Specklet at 12:22 PM on June 17, 2005

Every time I exceed a meter by even a minute, I fill it with as much time as I can before leaving.
posted by Triode at 12:34 PM on June 17, 2005

It does indeed sound odd, but I envision my younger brother Matt's face to conjure parking spots.

Matt has what we always called "Matt luck" when we were younger. No matter how much he might screw up, he usually landed on his feet. We also noticed that, when Matt was in the car with us parking spots directly in front of the place we wanted to go were always available.

Now, when Karen, the girls and I are heading for a crowded parking lot, we all picture Uncle Matt in our minds' eyes. we find it helps to picture him squinting into the sun with a slight scowl.

I know it seems too new-agey for belief, but it works too often for me to give it up now.

On preview, adding occasionally to the karmic parking account also helps.
posted by mmahaffie at 12:38 PM on June 17, 2005

posted by delmoi at 12:48 PM on June 17, 2005

When I had a car, I usually resorted to tears. Either that or some strategic bumper-to-bumper nudging of the cars before and behind me.
posted by Lady Penelope at 12:50 PM on June 17, 2005

How do you conjure the parking Goddess?

I park my car in front of my apartment and leave it there unless I need it an emergency, choosing instead to bike or walk everywhere else.
posted by Rothko at 12:55 PM on June 17, 2005

The mighty parking God (or Goddess to females) enjoys the occasional sacrifice of the remains of cola drinks or other cold fluids such as water on hot days. Coffees or teas on cold days. And he will part the sea of immoble cars for a nice spot. Always works for me.
And when it doesn't I choose not to notice.
But it makes sense to worship the mighty parking God, I mean some Gods offer salvation, this one offers nice parking spots. C'mon!
posted by Smedleyman at 1:03 PM on June 17, 2005

Thanks for the laughs, and additional suggestions - I'll add the various prayers, songs, and relevant rituals to my repertoire. Thanks also for being gentle with me on first FPP.
posted by dbmcd at 1:08 PM on June 17, 2005

I park my car in front of my apartment and leave it there unless I need it an emergency, choosing instead to bike or walk everywhere else.

I'm very surprised you don't get keyed for that. Must drive your neighbor's crazy.
posted by shmegegge at 1:22 PM on June 17, 2005

ok, those herb caen links should be an fpp, that guy rules.
posted by shmegegge at 1:23 PM on June 17, 2005

It's well known within my family that the Parking Lot Gods™ have chosen me for special favour. The funny thing is I don't mind walking.

I keep trying to get them to talk to the Lottery Gods™ for me, but no dice. Yet.
posted by deborah at 1:24 PM on June 17, 2005

Gladys, Gladys, full of grace
Help us find a parking place.

Only to be used in case of dire need. Gladys prefers homosexuals.
posted by Nelson at 1:28 PM on June 17, 2005

I'm very surprised you don't get keyed for that. Must drive your neighbor's crazy.

It is city permit-based parking, so we all cooperate, because we don't have to worry about people who don't live in the permit zone bringing their cars in.

The main issue I have is with neighbors who take up one and a half spaces, which does affect spacing for everyone down the line.

Thinking about it, leaving my car in place helps everyone else space properly.
posted by Rothko at 1:29 PM on June 17, 2005

I've gotten used to parking really far from my destination. Sometimes so far that I take my bicycle in the car with me, park a mile or two away and bike to the location.

It works especially well if you are going to big events where the traffic gets thick and slow and the parking costs too much. Once you get to your location you have amazingly easy access around other cars and no touble 'parking'.
posted by Rashomon at 1:52 PM on June 17, 2005

I have no problem with this as an FPP. (who am i to criticize?) It does seem to spark healthy debate and the opportunity to be funny in front of fellow mefi'ers.

What I do have a problem with is BEN GIBBERD. Who not only CAPTILAIZES HIS ENTIRE NAME, he also has nothing better in his reporting career than to follow 72-year old Park"king" around in his aveo.

Umm helllooooo, darfur anyone?
posted by kou5oku at 2:54 PM on June 17, 2005

When I was little, we had a half-serious family joke about thanking the parking fairy. She needed to be thanked before you arrived at your destination, of course. At a prompt, everyone in the car would say "thank you, parking fairy" in unison to express our appreciation for what we were about to receive.

We now refer to the perfect parking place as a "grandma spot" because of my grandma's fantastic luck in always finding the perfect spot. Her trick is to go right to the front and not mess around with the inferior spots, since it is just as likely that someone will be leaving at the front of the lot as at the back.
posted by cali at 3:20 PM on June 17, 2005

Is this something you'd need to own a car to understand?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:34 PM on June 17, 2005

I'm just amazed, and gratified, to find that I'm not the only one using some form of karmic wishing for parking. cali's "grandma spot" and the "matt luck" that we use are two sides of the same lucky coin.
posted by mmahaffie at 6:01 PM on June 17, 2005

Speaking of Caen, I'm almost certain it was in his column that I first read the following parking prayer:

Hail, Mary, full of grace
Help me find a parking space
posted by trip and a half at 6:27 PM on June 17, 2005

Your intentions in the present moment, are creating the "spot"
in the immediate future for you.everything else is a prop.
more of this sort of thing
posted by hortense at 6:28 PM on June 17, 2005

walk to work.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:34 PM on June 17, 2005

I live in upper Manhattan -- Washington Heights -- and when I used to have to drive to work, in New Jersey, parking in the evening could easily take me much longer than the roundtrip drive. It's one thing to envision a spot -- another thing entirely to compete for that spot with the dozen other motorists double-parked on the block, waiting for that same spot.

I tried positive thinking, but found that making u-turns against oncoming bus traffic nose-in to the spot to gank it from someone else, or parallel-parking from the sidewalk when an empty vehicle was double-parked in front of a tight spot -- that was more effective.

We make our luck.
posted by stokes at 5:33 AM on June 18, 2005

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