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THE AMATEUR PARKER … I’veDone Lots of Parkin I BY MELISSA BEAN STERZICK


RECENTLY MET WITH THE STAFF OF Parking Today, something I get to do barely once a year and which is always enjoyable. I communicate with them almost entirely by e-mail, but they are a good bunch of people


and a face-to-facemeeting ismuch better than the cryp- tic exchanges wemake over the Internet.


During the course of the evening, PT’s editor and publisher,


JohnVan Horn, asked me where I get ideas formyAmateur Parker columns.Above the din of five different conversations, forks and plates scraping, and wine slurping, I answered vaguely about look- ing for ideas on Google or just waiting for something to happen to me and then writing about it. Not my most sparkling conversation of the night, but I tried to


make up for it later. Because I do not drink, I was at a decided dis- advantage for the first half of the gathering and then the person making themost sense during the second half. In fact, some times I think I have absolutely nothing left to say


about my adventures in parking. But something always comes to me, in part because I amalways parking somewhere, and if I amnot


parking, I am preparing to park somewhere. Parking happens to be onmymind quite frequently. To be honest, I get nervous joining large groups of people


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at parties where adult conversation is in order and I am the least familiar face in the crowd. I’m not exactly shy, but have long held tight to the reins of an erratic and hereditary tenden- cy to blurt out weird and sarcastic comments in social situa- tions wheremy sense of humor is completelymisunderstood. It’s also been many years since I worked in an office full


time and did not change a diaper, vacuum the rug, and make PB&Js formy children duringmy lunch break. Being amother


I was supplied with no end of giggles by the thought of the entire PT staff trapped in a parking lot by an uncooperative gate.


is great, but it doesn’tmake anybody awitty conversationalist. I was slightly anxious about attending this PT get-togeth-


er, but most of my worries were caused by not having an answer to the simple question of “where would I park?” The ParkingToday office is near LosAngeles Interna-


tionalAirport, and I live in the vicinity. I knewif I gavemyself enough time to drive 12miles at 2miles per hour, I couldmake it there on time.After meeting at the office, we would all pro- ceed to a nearby restaurant, where I guessed I could face any number of parking scenarios: valet,meter, garage, nothing.


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