Saturday, February 6, 2010

Take The Parking Out of Lots

I have a grand ambition to make a short film about the detrimental and psychotic effect that the Whole Foods parking lot has on Portland. The film will feature legions of pissed-off car drivers as they compete for the best (i.e., closest) parking spot to the store entrance. There will be glamorous cars driven by healthy, organic food-eating shoppers who even bring their own reusable Chico bags, and they will all be competing for the best spot, circling the lot at dangerous speeds just to get the avocado inside.

But back to real life.

Today, I reluctantly bicycled to Whole Foods to buy organic tampons. I don't shop at Whole Foods very often, but organic tampons are hard to find on the Peninsula. In fact, I'm not sure they are sold anywhere else (I'd love to be proven wrong). After braving the organic Super Bowl shoppers buying their way to vegetarian sloppy joe paradise, I walked outside the store. Just as I was unlocking my bike, a guy starting yelling in the parking lot. "Hey, get the fuck away from my car, asshole!"

I looked up, shocked to hear this kind of language here in Portland. Then, the man yelled, "If you don't fucking stop vandalizing my car right now I'll kill you!" Since there were so many cars tightly packed into the parking lot, it difficult to see, but it really appeared that one man was messing with the tire of the pissed-off guy's car. And why?

The next thing I knew, the pissed-off guy charged the suspected vandal and did this sort of chest bump that you might see at a high school basketball game. But this all happened between two well-dressed middle aged men in the Whole Foods parking lot!

The pissed-off man then yelled "I am calling the cops right now! You are vandalizing my car!" At this point, the suspect headed towards the store entrance (presumably to purchase tri-color potato chips for Super Bowl Sunday) and passed right by me while I stood there holding my bike, dazed by the combination of shock, horror and amusement at what I had just witnessed; quite a spectacle outside the Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon.

This reinforces my belief that the Whole Foods parking lot breeds bad behavior. It sets people up to fail (to borrow an expression from my school teacher friends). It takes potential friends, neighbors, lovers, kid's play-date's moms, and fellow human beings and turns them into enemies. It is designed by someone who never had to navigate it in a car. It lacks beauty, form, and flow. The main exit encourages you to try to sneak out in the wrong direction to beat the traffic waiting in line to get out. I have seen many examples of bad behavior in this lot: aggressive drivers, cars speeding up instead of stopping to let the pedestrians go by, parking in the fire lane, and dirty looks. I call this Whole Foods parking lot psychosis and that's why I choose my bike every time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Off to a slow start

I used to coast through the first half of my classes in high school and then pick up my work in the second half to suggest to my teachers that I had improved, and that their exertions had accomplished something.

To this end, here's a tip.

Bike thieves jiggle locks just in case they were not closed properly (it happens more often than you might expect). Therefore the vigilant cyclist should give their own lock a jiggle, to make sure it is secure.