Look, I know that sometimes we have things to do after we park. Perhaps we need to check a voice mail or a text. Sometimes a song is playing on the radio and we want to finish listening to it. Perhaps now is the time to finish that snack. Or the other people on the road were such idiots that we have to take a few minutes to let the rage die down before we're fit to be around other humans.
Those are all understandable reasons to sit in your car. I have no argument with them. However, that should only take you a few minutes at most. However, if I park next to you, go inside my destination, come out thirty minutes later and see you still sitting in your car, I want you to know something. You're really creeping me out.
I get that it's probably me. I don't know you; I have no idea what you are doing or why you are spending long stretches just sitting in your car. There could be a lot of very plausible explanations for this behavior, and I would probably feel like such a jerk if I tried to make fun of you for it and found out that you have a very good reason. This is why I'm keeping my mouth shut and letting you go about your business.
You still creep me out, though. Especially if I can see you on your smart-phone and I know you're playing Angry Birds or some other awesomely addictive game. You can't do that inside? Aren't you getting hot out there? And if you have your engine idling and are running the AC (or heat) then I have to wonder how much money you're spending on gas. I also have to wonder why you're not doing this inside.
I get it. Sometimes you just need a break from people. You don't want people around you, and your car gives you a humanity free bubble of protection. It is your castle, and in it, you are king. You are free to listen to what you want, expel what you want and in whatever quantities you tolerate, and pick your nose with impunity. I get the appeal, I really do.
Still, when I pull up next to a car and get out, I don't expect to turn around and see a person sitting in the car next to me. It's just plain startling and completely throws me off my game. Suddenly I get self-conscious because I start to ask myself "How much did that other person see?" It's just like turning around on a long elevator ride to discover that someone else was sharing the car with you. You think back on what you did and wonder if you looked insane.
But it's not like you come across any better. I know you feel the eyes on the back of your head. As we're scanning the parking lot trying to remember where we parked (and pushing the horn button on our car remotes) we never fail to notice you, the car-sitter. You stick out and we just have to know what you're doing. Are you waiting for someone or do you go to strange parking lots and just sit in your car for hours? Is this a game you're playing? Are you deliberately trying to freak us out?
Perhaps this is all some evil conspiracy. You all might be laying the groundwork for an invasion. We get used to seeing people all over sitting in their cars. We become so accustomed to the sight that we pay it no mind until every street corner is filled with parked cars full of people. Then, when the time is right, you all leap out take over. You were hidden in plain sight the entire time, and we never saw it coming.
I just want you to know, though, that I am on to you. If that's your plan, consider yourself warned. You aren't going to get away with it. I'm blowing this conspiracy wide open, so you might as well pack up and go home.
For the rest of you non-conspiratorial car-sitters, just know that you're creeping me out when you do this, and I'm not the only one. We wonder what you're up to, and when we let our imaginations run wild, well, you saw what can happen. So think before you car-sit. If you could, please post a small sign on your dashboard explaining the purpose of your sit. That way we won't think you're up to something, and we'll be able to go about our day.
Charles B. French
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