Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vons Parking Lot: Scariest Place In America

[This was published in the La Jolla Light as an opinion piece before I began writing my own column.]

I know that everyone has to die of something. I, for example, am more than willing to die from chocolate. What I’m not willing to have as the cause of my demise is Death By Vons Parking Lot. People roar down the aisles of that lot like Bobby Unser on the Indianapolis Speedway. Except, of course, that when Bobby took the curve in the final stretch, he wasn’t talking on his cell phone.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the downtown La Jolla store itself. Great selection, wonderful management, terrific specialty departments, friendly staff, efficient pharmacy.

And it’s not that the parking spaces aren’t roomy. But the back-out space is tight and for those of us in little cars trying to back out between two SUVs, it’s totally blind. The folks channeling their inner NASCAR driver are peril enough in that situation, but it’s the pedestrians that are just plain baffling. Short of a deep-seated death wish (and the knowledge that those Beemer and Lexus drivers are well insured and will amply compensate your loved ones), I can’t for the life of me imagine what sort of brain activity, if any, is being registered by the wing nuts who are obliviously texting as they walk right behind backing cars. One can only sigh wistfully and wish this lot were in the Serengeti, where natural selection could take its course.

There is no good will toward man in the Vons lot on Christmas Eve day. Or during any of the peak shopping hours. Or even Sunday mornings. I’d like to think that Love Thy Neighbor included not running him over.

Of course, the lot is not without its entertainments. Hardly a week goes by when I don’t witness two black SUVs (always black, always SUVs) backing out of their spaces at 30 miles per hour right into each other. I think I can say with some authority that people who own black SUVs know some really bad words.

Sorry, Vons. I’ve lost my nerve. I’ll come to visit from time to time for old time’s sake. But as much as I like your store, I’m too old for this many near-death experiences. I’ve opted for the chocolate.

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