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Conquering the Dreaded Parking Garage

November 23, 2010

I consider myself to be a strong, intelligent woman. Parking garages, however, are my kryptonite. While I definitely have a silly “duh” side of me, parking garages bring out an entirely new level of stupidity. I think it’s an actual learning disability, so rare that it doesn’t have a name.

As soon as I enter a parking garage, I lose all sense of direction. You’ve probably heard of people trapped in avalanches who become so disoriented that they don’t know which way to dig to get out of the snow, and dig themselves deeper. That is me in a parking garage. There are suddenly no landmarks. Everything looks the same. Not only do I lose a sense of what floor I’m on and where the exit is, I actually lose the ability to identify where in the city I am. I could be in ANY parking garage because they all look the same from the inside.

My excuse is that I grew up in a town without parking garages, but I probably use that excuse to cover up my suspicion that my brain just doesn’t work in that area. A mouse in a maze could find itself out more quickly than I can find my way out of a parking garage. I have learned some tricks though…keep turning right…go down (Usually. Once I was in an underground parking garage and it was horrible) …follow the arrows…make each turn with the deliberate confidence of someone who knows where she’s going, so as to fool others into believing I know where I’m going. I’ve been getting better.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to face off with a parking garage and win. I skated all over one.

There’s a parking garage in Santa Barbara that for some reason, everyone hates. I haven’t lived here long enough to know why, but it’s the “new” parking garage that people seem to boycott just because it’s stupid. Like I said, I don’t know why, but for that reason, I’ve hardly been in it myself. It has an upstairs and a downstairs, which makes it particularly dangerous to someone like me. It was suggested to me that the roof of a parking garage is a good place to practice skating. I haven’t skated nearly as much as I would have liked to this week, so tonight was the night.

I headed downtown after dark, under a nearly full moon. Made my way to the parking garage that everyone hates, and got to the roof. When I got to the top, I was more than pleased. It was smooth. Mostly flat. No gravel. Well lit. And empty (because everyone hates it).

So I went to work, warming up, practicing cross overs, “jumps” (if you consider a jump to be 1/2 inch of air), sticky feet, and even a few butt falls on purpose so I’d get over my fear of falling. By the end, that parking garage and I had a new relationship and I no longer have reason to avoid it.

And that is how I conquered the dreaded parking garage.

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