A question

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Lately, I’ve really needed to ask someone a question about something that has been bothering me.  So, I’ll come right out and ask you.  Please, don’t be shy.  I swear I shan’t stalk you, steal your identity, or send you spam if you leave a comment.

According to a rather small sample – that is the patients and employees who park in the parking lot under my office building – approximately 1/3 of the population backs into a parking space rather than just heading in.  And I need to know why do people do that. It makes no sense to me.

It was never anything I really paid attention to until I started parking in the lot downstairs.   I know whenever I head into that lot that I’m going to need some patience.  Since it’s a medical center parking lot so there are a lot of people who are not feeling their best, and then throw in all the elderly folks, pregnant women, people hobbling on crutches, etc.  – this is not a parking lot for those in a big hurry.  Yet, of course, people are.  You’ve got the anxious folks and those who are just plain late for their appointment.  And on top of this is the tendency for people to want to get the parking space closest to wherever they are going.  (Yet, the elevator is located in the same damn spot on the first level as it is the fifth.  And, really, it is only a few seconds between floors once you’re on the elevator. Geez, people! OK, remember breathe.  Better.)

For the most part, I’m pretty good at sitting patiently as the person in front of me waits for the elderly person with the walker who just got off the elevator and is moving very slowly towards their car.  And since it’s a busy bi-directional garage, I can’t just scoot by and high-tail it down to the fifth level where there is always abundant parking.  So, I sit and I listen to my music and practice acceptance.  That is, until the person who has been holding me up (as well as the line that has formed behind me), decides to back into now empty parking space.  Come on, now!  Is that really necessary?  Can’t you just quickly scoot head first into the space?  Instead, they hold up both directions of traffic in order to back into the space.  And to what purpose?

So, please, if you are a backer-inner, please let me know why and what is the advantage of said maneuver.  I know y’all don’t do it strictly to annoy me (though that may be an added bonus for some), and I know it must serve some purpose.  Help me understand.

Thank you.

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5 responses »

  1. I’m a situational backer-inner. I would *never* do it in your example because I always so self-conscious about being that person who holds people up – BUT – I feel it is safer to back into a spot than ti back OUT of it into traffic. I’d rather back up when everything around me is stationary and pull out forward with better visibility into oncoming traffic. Because I live on a corner, I back up into my garage a lot. Especially since the time I leave for work is when kids are walking to school in the morning.

  2. I’m like Christiana… situational backer-inner (i was gonna say bi-backer-inner so I’m glad Christina came up with that much better term).

    And I do it for the same reasons. I find it easier to back in when everything is sitting still and I can back it in with ease.

    Plus I like to show off my backing skills to Emmie any chance I get. I’m quite good at it… really!

  3. I hate backing up, even though my car has a back up camera, so I can honestly say that in 36 years of driving I have backed into a space maybe three times and that’s allowing for grave error in memory!

    Yeah, I don’t get the backing up thing either. Which reminds me… when I was in Baltimore with my daughter this summer, we were trying to find a space in this kind of trendy area where she wanted to shop. We found about 4 blocks of diagonal parking spaces that were very strange. You have to back into the diagonal space! You cannot park straight in as the spaces are at a 135 degree angle to the flow of traffic instead of at a 45 degree angle. We passed them up. There was no way, no how I was going to try to get in one of those spaces in a rented car that I was not familiar with and in a strange city I was not familiar with. But it was strange indeed!!!

  4. I don’t know exactly, but I have a theory that- since if you head into a parking lot head first, you’ll be backing out of it eventually, maybe some people like to do the hard part first. Kind of ‘save’ the easy, driving out part for later.

    Kind of a work first, play later ethic- it might be semi-unconscious.

  5. Thanks Christina & julian for helping me understand the mindset of a backer-inner a little better. Things are stationary when back in, versus moving traffic when you back out. OK. Fair enough.

    I think it may come down to your comfort with your aim. Backing into a constrained space seems more difficult to me than backing into a big open space, i.e. when you’re leaving. But, I suppose a case could also be made for wear and tear on your neck. If you’re backing in, you do that pretty quickly, whereas if you are backing out of a space you have to be looking behind you for a while to find the opening to back out.

    I was trying to remember the french phrase “to each his own”, but you get the point.

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