Parking Lot Movie

I recently watched this Independent Lens feature (available to stream on NetFlix). This movie documents what happens when dudes with a lot of education run a parking lot. The film’s strength is how it portrays people’s suspension of civil behaviors and rationality when they are driving their cars, and especially when they are trying to find a parking spot for their cars.

This movie is an interesting counterpart to the Parking Wars TV show, that documents the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). The parking lot, and parking in general, seems to be a situation or a space where it is normal to see otherwise rational and humanistic people behaving irrationally and without regard to humanity. Nobody can refute the logic of the parking authority, cities would be unmanageable without a powerful organization to wrangle cars. But once that logic applies to your own situation, it suddenly becomes illogical and unfair. I say that as a driver who was booted twice by the PPA. To the PPA officers, my excuses meant nothing more than the excuses they heard from the guy before me.

I wasn’t planning to take another cheap shot at SUV drivers, but this one is too easy, and funny too. The attendants talk about SUV drivers being surprised that their cars were too big to park in the lot. One attendant describes an interaction with a frustrated SUV driver… “You could almost see the truncated syllogism in their head. ‘I bought the car… surely it comes with a parking space? How could there not be a parking space?'”

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