Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This is driving me crazy

Have you ever noticed that many bank parking lots are tricky? Most of them have one-way drives. I’m guessing maybe that’s because of the drive-thru teller windows. It might also have a little something to do with security, although I’m not entirely sure about that. I mean, I don’t really think a robber is going to pay attention to a one-way sign in an attempted fast getaway. However, trying to travel speedily the wrong way down a one-way drive crowded with cars all headed in the opposite direction might prove detrimental to an escape.

Either way, and whatever it is, I’m sure there is a reason for it. If they go to all the trouble to paint arrows on the asphalt and put up directional signs, then there definitely must be a good reason even if I don’t really know what it is.

My office is in a bank building. I don’t work for the bank; we just lease space on the second floor of the building. I’m in and out of our office, and therefore in the parking lot, at least a couple of times a day. We also have a bird’s eye view of the parking lot from our second floor window. And we watch.

The parking lot here has one main entrance from the road. The main entrance is NOT also an exit. It’s a one-way deal. There are other outlets from the other side of the parking lot, but the main entrance from the roadway is a one-way drive. The parking spaces are diagonally aligned in the direction of the one-way traffic flow.

I’ve seen it happen time and time again. A car enters the parking lot from the opposite direction and travels the wrong way up that one-way drive. They are usually customers who want to go inside the bank instead of using the drive-thru teller lanes. For some reason they just don’t want to drive the extra 9/10 of a mile further down the road to get to the appropriate entrance to be in the correct direction for the parking spaces. I’m sure they see the Do Not Enter sign but deliberately choose to disobey. Then, because they are travelling in the opposite direction of the lot plan, they have to do a 3-point turn in order to get their car somewhat in between the white lines of a parking space. And even with the 3-point turn, they never quite make it, which creates problems for other people trying to park adjacently.

Crazy thing is, when they come in that opposite direction, they pass by a section of the parking lot where the spaces are perpendicular to the drive, not diagonal, so no 3-pointer would be required. Which, by the way, is probably exactly why those straight parking spaces are there - - to provide a place to park so you won’t have to go the wrong way up the one-way drive. Of course parking in those spaces would mean you would actually have to walk a few extra steps more to get to the door of the bank.

Yesterday I was standing out on the walkway by those one-way, diagonal parking spaces waiting for my lunch date to pick me up. Sure enough, a woman drives her Buick up the wrong way, does the 3-pointer, and puts it in park even though one tire is still over the white line. She got out and as she walked by me she said with a humpmf, “I know I’m not supposed to come in that way. But I did.” I hadn’t said a word to her. I was just standing there. I had my sunglasses on so she couldn’t even really see my eyes to know if I was looking at her or not. I guess she didn’t see me when she first drove up, then when she realized I was standing there, felt the need to comment.

I’m curious. What are these people thinking before they pass by the Do Not Enter sign?

Maybe, “It’s just little ol’ me. It won’t matter.”

Or, “I’m just one little car in the midst of all these others. No one will notice.”

Or, “Just this once won’t make a difference.”

Or, “If I hurry, no one will notice.”

Or, “Just this once won’t make a difference.”

I am struck and convicted by the fact that I don’t think anyone really seems to be thinking about anyone else but themselves. It’s just me and my way.

We don’t consider beforehand the opposition we might meet from others actually going the right way. We don’t really think about becoming the cause that stops progress. We don’t consider how placing ourselves just over the line becomes an obstacle to the one next to us. No one thinks about what an example they might be setting for some younger person watching. No one wants to think about the guilt they might feel if they get caught. We won’t let ourselves think about any actual consequences for going the wrong way.

No. The thinking is more along the lines of: Even though I know it is wrong, this way is more convenient for me. This way, I won’t have to travel as far. This way, I won’t have to walk as many steps. I’m in a hurry and this way is faster.

But does that kind of thinking really get me anywhere but further down the wrong road?

Oh, that I could always, in every situation, see the right Way.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

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