In the shade

I used to think one of the oddest things about Chico was the way people would park their cars way across a parking lot to get it under a sorry little parking-lot tree for a scrap of shade. That was before I’d experienced a car that’d been sitting for more than ninety seconds in a July sun in Chico, and of course now I do the same thing, estimating the change in the sun’s position so as not to end up in full sun before I leave.

I was shocked that someone would go to that much trouble for a little shade. In Minnesota looking for a spot in the shade would be unseemly, self-indulgent, and a little selfish, too, because you’d be hogging a spot that somebody more deserving could have.

Last summer I found a good spot in a parking lot, in deep shade and certain to stay that way for the duration of my errand. I was happy as I walked to the store until I saw another spot nearer to the store and just as shady. It was also close to a cart corral, in case I thought of enough stuff to buy to warrant that extra convenience for my shopping pleasure. I hadn’t parked near a cart corral, except no cart corral could possibly be more than thirty yards away anyway.

I had a perfectly good parking spot a few steps away, and I wasn’t planning to spend enough money to need a cart. Still, when I saw that other spot cool and inviting one slot away from the cart corral, I thought, “Shit! I could have parked there! If I hadn’t grabbed the first one I saw, I could be right there in the shade almost next to the cart corral! I blew it again!” That’s not a direct quote—except “Shit!”—but that’s the gist of it. I actually thought about going back to my car and driving to the new spot.

I was upset, disappointed in myself, and despairing of ever doing anything right for about 7.3 seconds, down from six months twenty years ago. Right after that I burst out laughing. Not all my loony thoughts make me laugh like that, and I especially appreciate the ones that do. I appreciate all my thoughts eventually, and some take longer than others.

The thoughts that take the longest to appreciate are the ones I’ve had so much that I don’t recognize them as thoughts and, instead, I believe them. Beliefs are very sneaky.

Posted Thursday, January 19th, 2012 under appreciation, happiness, judgment, perspective, Uncategorized.

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