- Imagine the open spot and there will be one!
Never, I said, raising my eyebrows frowning, not a chance…
During my years in Seattle I used to work out at Gold’s Gym at the Convention Center downtown. I parked in the garage underneath, which is huge. My experience from parking anywhere, Seattle or Umeå, was there were never open spots where I needed them to be, close to where I was heading. Therefore, in this garage, I always ended up grabbing the first open space there was. Which gave me quite a walk in a place that wasn’t my choice for such a thing.
Now, I was complaining to a friend about this. And that’s when he uttered those words: Imagine the open spot and there will be one. Meaning I would drive all the way to the Convention Center entrance through the garage and there would be an open space for me. Yeah, good luck with that…
I knew people who had this kind of luck. My at that time husband was one of those. He always drove to any entrance he was heading for, and if there wasn’t an open spot someone would pull right out in front of him and, magic, there it was! For me, always having to walk blocks and blocks, this was extremely annoying. And the worst part was, he didn’t even see the problem. Why are people going on and on about parking, there is always parking! (Now this applied for most things in his life, which to be fair, of course made me, who walked block and blocks in any aspect, furious).
Anyway, one morning after dropping the kids off at school, driving my usual route downtown to the gym, I decided to take a chance. I didn’t grab the first open space, I grabbed the second. Next time the third. I started visualizing spots deeper in to the garage labyrinth, and one morning I was so close I could see the entrance. And there was a spot. I can still sense the stunned joy. Really?! I parked feeling like I was steeling someone’s private space. Someone more prominent than me.
From that point I started visualizing an entrance spot from the moment I entered the garage. And most of the time there was one. Eventually I learned to trust there would be a space for me. I drove through the garage with a new confidence. And I parked at the entrance like I owned the space. Ha!
As time and years passed I finally wasn’t acting like a tourist in the Seattle traffic any more, I abounded the garages and parking lots to become an acclimatized Seattleite hunting for “easy street parking”. There is definitely nothing easy about street parking, but eventually I learned to master pulling in and out of those snug parking pockets, and even more, I made them show up! At especially difficult destinations I started visualizing even before I left the house. I became so skilled even my native Seattle friends were impressed!
As I’ve mentioned many times before Seattle and Umeå carry similarities, only on different scales. Parking is one of them. Especially with all the construction going on. Finding an open spot at Storgatan is like hunting for one on Broadway.
I don’t drive any more, my back can’t do it. But I am often a passenger. As I can rarely walk more than only a few meters my drivers need to park as close to my destination as possible. When my errands require a downtown visit, Storgatan is the only option for me. That’s when my drivers start to get nervous.
I am not though. It’s gonna be alright I tell them. Crossing the Umeå River on one of the bridges I start focusing. I stop the conversation and I visualize an empty parking space. Sometimes there is. But more often there isn’t. I tell my drivers to go slow and be patient. Come on come on come on, I am thinking. And there, someone, often two, are pulling out and we can choose which spot works best for us!
Always? Pretty much. The only time it doesn’t work is when I get caught up in our conversations and forget to concentrate. Or at the University hospital. That’s such a jam packed place even I get nervous. I loose my confidence in the positive outcome. And also, my focus is blurred with the reason for me visiting the hospital leaving me anxious, my mind not entirely on parking.
Now, as visualizing parking spots has become this successful I am pondering, is there any way I can expand the business? If this works it might be possible to apply in other fields too, right? It should, shouldn't it? Well, I am working on the rain… Visualizing it stopping for the few minutes my breakfast and dinner walks last when I can take them. And how does that go? Well I would say! A rainy day, I can usually trust it to hold for my walks!