In Reverse…

Flummoxed am I at the behavior of folk (mostly men…all right, 95% of them) when they enter a parking lot. I am stymied by their need to back up into a space. Why? What makes it so important to chart their course in such a way, putting it into reverse and parking it just so? Why not just pull right in, nose first? It’s befuddling, to say the least.

Why, I remember just this past summer, when Julie and I were ensconced in the pleasing environs of Brenton Point (a place that I have commented on previously). As we maneuvered along the serpentine driveway of the parking lot we witnessed eight or so muscle cars, all parked with the rear of the car facing the ocean, every hood opened and men gathered about. They stared, with lubricated eyes, into the innards of these metal beasts, their collective sight far removed from the sparkling sea.

“Hey, whaddya say we drive along a stretch of road, find a perfect parking spot on the coast, and back in so we face away from the ocean?”

I don’t get it. We had to chortle at such a scene.

And just down the road did we see a man back into a spot, turn off the ignition, and just sit there with his 4 year old boy. The man stared out at the expanse of field and the outhouses beyond while his young charge fidgeted in the passenger seat. We were quite certain that the little boy would have much preferred to gaze at the immense beauty of the Atlantic. Quite inexplicable.

But this behavior is not just relegated to lots near the shore. Oh no. This phenomenon happens everywhere. Wal-Marts, supermarkets, even Dunkin Donuts! These men, with their seemingly innate urge to put a vehicle in reverse, stop all entering traffic as they slowly navigate their cars into tight parking spots.

After witnessing such nonsense, chortles are hard to come by.

As men get older, approaching middle age or beyond, the need to ‘back in’ their toys becomes irresistible. Perhaps…perhaps ‘reverse’ is nothing more than a regressive gene, an unconscious desire to return–backwards– to their youth.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

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