A glory park is the best car park in the parking lot. Out front, shaded, free, wide, rare as buggery. Expensive people tend to own glory parks, or pay someone to shoo others away. Poor people dream of glory parking, including my wife. Airport parking, in particular, is the preferred hunting ground given the stakes are higher and glory most profound. I am not, to be clear, a glory parker. I like to walk, adventuring my way from the surrounding suburbs with time to kill. My default form of transit to the airport is the bus or train, whilst the glory parker will weigh up the time-cost equation and choose to drive. When I last parked at the airport (I had a kayak with me) the terminal was a smudge on the horizon, several kilometres away. My wife detests this idea. She wants a car space where she can see the eyeballs of the captain.
Life would be infinitely more boring if I had not shacked up with a glory parker. Whilst I’ve become increasingly agnostic to Helen’s ideology, sceptical but agreeable to her belief, I know wholeheartedly that prescribing to glory parking is in many ways deeply religious, which means they’re bonkers.
There seems to be some fundamental traits of glory parking:
1) sickening optimism,
2) believing that public clocks are wrong,
3) unquestioning faith in Google Maps (although this is a debated aspect of being a glory parker as glory parkers don’t often have their phone with them (left at home) or it dies when opening Google Maps (having never been fully charged in its life; lost charger, no charger, no time to charge).
Helen lands directly out front, so she says, 95% of the time, meaning she occasionally has to sprint to get where she’s going. I’m compelled to believe her. With legs that are 95% longer than most humans, she can run like the wind. There is no serendipitous or socially constructed whim at play here. Long legs, namely the femur, means you’re likely a glory parker (2x 95% stats = fact).
The glory parker is a particular kind of human, backing themselves into a corner as if to force the issue. They carry with them a sense of profound godliness, much like people who eat exclusively protein. They never walk slowly, and if they do, it’s because they’re on the phone, the plane is delayed, or they’ve broken one of their prized femurs. To watch a glory parker (I now have a front row seat) is to watch an embodied creature go about a superb kind of narrowmindedness. Food, water, the Sun, red-lights and shoelaces don’t exist to the glory parker. Honking cars are a sign of doing something right, and the system of packing (a suitcase for example) is often achieved during transit. Stuff is chaotically and repeatedly spread throughout the cockpit of a car as if a racoon had taken residence. Once glory is found and packing is mostly done, armpits, crooks of the neck, elbows and passers-by are employed to shift half-filled bags in the direction of the gate. The security screen is one last opportunity to see all items spread out before the final pack, just before you get checked for bombs.
You wear a certain type of uniform as a glory parker. Helen’s usual attire is fit for lining up at the 1960 Olympics in the 800m; shoes of soft leather, slick soled, made for fast and nimble glory. Jeans are not jeans, they’re those stretchy things that look like jeans, and her small bag- worn across the torso like a sash, contains a whole world of stuff, most of which shouldn’t be there (Beau’s favourite knife), or should be but isn’t (train ticket, phone charger, credit card, lip balm, brain).
Having always wanted to belong in a cult, I occasionally get sucked into believing in Helen’s world. I’m writing this from 20F, sitting next to my glory parking wife who sleeps deeply, maximising her daily allotment of rest (having got up only 8 minutes before departure this morning, meaning she could stay up and watch the Bachelorette last night, maximising her daily allotment of TV). Loosely committing to an absurd time-frame (finding a park within 15 minutes of our boarding gate) meant I secretly hoped we’d miss our flight. But no, Helen believed, signs were everywhere, wheels screeched, and she found a bloody carpark exactly where she said she would.
Somehow, magically, a dude in a ute (faded logo on front door, broken tools in the back, bent roof racks, glory parker) made contact with Helen. Whilst the dude warmed his engine, we tapped into the mammoth compound of 6700 long-term carparks. Our dude was likely checking his battered, almost dead phone for traffic advice from Google. Sitting next to a wide boulevard of empty handicapped spaces (on one side) and a fence (on the other), washed in all day shade from a solitary tree, the dude cleans his sunnies and plays with the radio. Helen drives through the maze of cars like a well-trained rodent. I wondered if driverless cars will be this decisive, and if so, what a brave world it will be. Before easing off the clutch, the dude sets off a flare, shooting a plume of orange smoke 50 odd meters above his car, alerting Helen to his location (colour blind people cannot be glory parkers as they don’t see this sign). I am not colour blind, nor do I see the flare, but I know it exists by the way Helen drives magnetically towards a particular space. Rounding the corner, my glory-parking, tin-arse wife slots into the dude’s spot, almost trading paint. The two believers close the transaction with a wave and head nod. My foot lands on $1.70 in change when I open the door. Helen reminds me that this money will buy her a Snickers. Yes, yes it will.
Red-car-wedge: Helen parks out the front of her office. Her text to friends was ‘like a gloooovve’.
Filling up at the bowser: Glory parkers don’t often fill-up, and frequently leave their handbag on the roof of the car.
Jumping for joy after (95% of the time) getting the carpark we all want. Her text to friends was ‘Oh what a feeling’ (but had nothing to do with parking)