Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eagles (Part 2 of 4)

          One of the best things about being a Shark is there are a lot of useful hunter/driver skills you can pick up to give you an edge, and most Sharks have their own toolbox of tricks. Some of the wilder ones are pretty off-the-wall, but there are plenty of true believers. You start with the basics like the scientific, those skills that allow you to calculate the array of streets, traffic flow directions, stoplight patterns, and international time zones to be able to run the most blocks without ever having to stop. Most of us do a little of this, at least in our own neighborhoods. In theory this is the fastest, most efficient way to search for anything, right? But what if your efficiency and speed cause you to drive past a space that is just about to be available? After all, on a tough night, any space you find is the one that just opened up. Then speed kills.
          That is where intuition comes in. Almost as mystical as the “eye” (see previous post) but with a higher acceptance rate and cooler rep in most circles, intuition takes a Shark to another level. It’s no longer instinct, it’s something extra and that’s why I am tempted to categorize these parking types as Eagles. From 1000 feet up an Eagle can spot a fish 7 inches underwater. That kind of sight seems pretty magical to me and as these off-the-wall techniques imply a little magic, let’s call those who use them regularly Eagles. Intuition may or may not really work, but if it feels like it does, then why not? The US Army used Astrology in their D-Day preparation. Did they believe? I doubt it, but they didn’t want to leave out any possible resource in their planning, and I don’t want to leave any possible mega secrets to making this parking thing easier unexplored. The premise of intuition is that the “higher mind” somehow can know when a space will be opening up. This “higher mind” guides you to that spot, sometimes by killing time, sometimes by shortcutting you to the exact spot, or both.
          Is it OK to try something that you don’t believe possible? We who park on New York streets have already accomplished what our parents, our friends, what the whole world, said was impossible. Should we stop now? My friend with the “eye” has got some kind of wicked intuition and he’s not stopping there. Don’t you know people that you think are just somehow luckier than others? They are able to beat a ticket, talk a car off a tow truck off or leap tall buildings with a single bound. Everyone knows someone who went to Vegas and actually left a winner (not the Fri night winner who loses it all on Sat). Maybe luck is intuition. Whether it is intuition or luck or just your own personal random parking story, most of us like to believe in something a little larger than ourselves, so I have tried it and, although I am usually a skeptic, it seems to work.
          The days it does work seem magical. It feels like I am using more than 10% of my brain. The days it doesn’t work leave me feeling more like a 7. The trick is to know how to hear your intuition. When is your “higher mind” directing you and when is it some other finely honed parking skill plotting for you a much longer course? It's important to be able to tell the difference because your best instincts will overpower your own intuition in order to get that car moving around as efficiently and as quickly as you can and that’s when you miss out on that great view.
          If you know an Eagle, ask them how they do it. Try it for yourself. Let me know what works. Meanwhile, I leave out hope that if I can just learn to listen more to my intuition instead of a lot of good reasons, I may be a little luckier finding parking. I am getting better at it or I am getting luckier. Maybe I am just getting answers to a prayer. It wouldn’t be the first miracle inspired by listening to a higher voice. We may never know for sure about this method, but I know plenty of people who believe they can do it. Some of the most practical people I know have boasted they are better at parking than most of us. That famous Eagle eye evolved for the eagle’s survival. Well parking skills evolve too. I believe we who must park day to day on NYC streets are even now exploring the frontier of evolution of what the human brain can do.
          Another Eagle type skill is the Mind Control. Mind Control also seems to fit into the Eagle’s powerful gaze over everything as if from a great height. I learned this one in College where young men and women still believe they can control their fate. Mind Control is when you and friends create a story of the person who is going to leave a parking space at exactly the time that you will arrive. The more people participating the better. A car crammed full with students is best. So this doesn’t work well if done by yourself and it works best if you start from about 20 minutes before your arrival. You and friends create this story of a crazy couple who suddenly decide to go out for pancakes and grits, no matter that tomorrow is Monday and a workday, or the Father who tells his daughter to stay put in the all night Copy Shop, that he will drive down to get her. She’ll have to quick change out of that tight dress and heels. You don’t create a story of a doctor who has an emergency call, not unless you want that kind of responsibility. Then by the time you arrive the “force field” of your and your friends’ story makes it happen. Hey, maybe the Eagle’s forceful sweeps back and forth over a body of water actually bring the fish up near the surface. If nothing else, at least it’s a game to distract those annoying backseat drivers.

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