Friday, May 2, 2008

Crooked Parking

Scenario: You (someone) are circling a parking lot to find a parking stall near a store you are about to enter. The open spot closest to the store (by about 10 spots) is flanked by two cars that are both parked crooked so that their right wheels are over the yellow line to their right. So the car to the left of your spot has its right wheels in "your" open stall. BUT, because the car on the right side also parked on the far right of their stall, there is ample room for you to park there. If you're like the old me, you grumble to yourself about how stupid people can be, but since there is room you decide to pull into that spot - instead of parking 10 stalls farther away from the store - despite the fact that now your right wheels will be over the yellow line too.

At this point, are you any better than the two cars you were grumbling about?

I say, "No." Parking crooked is only going to perpetuate crooked parking for a longer period of time.

Have you considered that these two cars may have parked crooked ONLY because the cars that were there before them were crooked? Have you also considered that when you get out of the store, these two cars will be gone and you will be the "stupid person" who parked crooked? Did you consider that if you would have just parked 10 spots down in the first place, straight parking may have been restored to the entire row after the two crooked cars left?

Now I ask you to think about how this situation may relate to human nature, feedback loops, and change. How do our behaviors in our environments either promote or prohibit change for the betterment or detriment of our environment? Are we satisfied with playing the role of the "grumbler" or would we prefer to be the "changer for better"?

I will be a changer, thank you.