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> A Strategy for Parking
  The Complexity of Driving
  The Cost of Driving
  In the HOV Lane
  Some Quirks of Mine
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  Driving in West Texas

A Strategy for Parking

When I'm parking in a parking lot, what I like to do is park as soon as I get near the edge of the occupied area, like so.

(If you're familiar with how electrons behave in semiconductors, you can see I've drawn in a Fermi level for the cars. The analogy isn't perfect, but it's good enough to be interesting; I plan to say more about it some other time.)

I'm not entirely sure why I like to park like that. Sometimes I think I just like to walk places. Other times I think I've found the optimal parking strategy, that the time I spend walking is more than made up for by the time I don't spend looking for the best space. More likely, the strategy minimizes not time but aggravation at least for me, since I don't enjoy driving around looking for spaces.

Another possibility is that I'm reacting against the opposite strategy. Looking for the best space may seem harmless enough, but before you know it you'll be waiting for other cars to pull out, or even following people to their cars. That really burns me up, when someone follows me like that but at least ve doesn't get a good parking space out of it.

The most interesting possibility, though, is that my parking strategy is actually an instance of a more general strategy, which I think of as easy deflection.

* * *

I was re-reading Cryptonomicon recently, and was pleased to see that Stephenson and I had converged on the same idea.

Randy finds the core mall, which looks a little shabby compared to its satellites. He parks in the far corner of the lot, explaining that it is more logical to do this and then walk for fifteen seconds than it is to spend fifteen minutes looking for a closer space.


  See Also

  Convergent Evolution
  Easy Deflection
  No Eking
  On Walking
  Voluntary Simplicity

@ June (2001)
o June (2004)