Friday, July 10, 2009


Houston is a car culture. For years any political moves to reduce traffic and encourage mass transportation were voted down. It seemed that everyone who had a driver's license had a car and some who didn't have a driver's license also had cars. So all commercial and business establishments had to accommodate all those cars. Probably more land is paved as parking lots than there are buildings. And things are spread out so it isn't as if you could walk from one place to another in the 100 degree temperatures we are having this summer without being fried.

When we come back to Houston we fall right back into the culture. And part of that culture is finding the closest parking place possible to the business you are going to. It is a game....driving up and down aisles looking for a spot or watching to see where someone who is leaving the business might be going to get in their car so you can be ready to pounce on the spot they leave. God forbid that the person might get into their car and not back out immediately. What? How dare they sit there in their car and have a cell phone conversation while you are waiting to slip in when they pull out. But what is even more seriously dangerous is when someone else is able to get into the parking space before you do. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a shoot out over that.

Sometimes I have to laugh as I'm grumbling to myself about having to park at the end of the parking lot and walk to the store. In San Miguel we never get the car out for errands in town. I'll walk to Mega or to the Centro without giving it a thought but in Houston walking from the edge of the parking lot means I lost the competition for a good space. Texans don't like to lose that game.


Steve Cotton said...

As always, I enjoyed your commentary. But I was distracted by the photograph. I have been here only tree months, and I have already forgotten there are places where parking spaces are wider than the actual width of a car. At Bodega Aurrera today, I literally squeezed out of my Escape because the properly-parked car next to me was simply close. But I bought some great limes. It all evens out.

Billie said...

Steve, I know exactly what you are talking about in Mexico. In Houston, especially at the Kroger lot where I took those pictures there are lots of BIG cars so the slots are generous.

So what are you using the limes for?

Nancy said...


I went to Sam's Club today and was excited because school was out and I knew I'd be able to park in front of our house when I got back! During school days it is impossible to predict if you will or won't be parking three or four blocks away!

I'd love to hear more about what contrasts you notice while you are NOB.

pitchertaker said...

Old tricks/habits are hard to forget, huh? Stephen always lets me drive when we go into Boston for a gallery opening or some such....for some reason I always immediately get a parking space within a block of where we're going. He says I have a "parking angel" on my shoulder. I'vd give up that "parking angel" for a "lottery angel".....

Susan said...

You are absolutely right about Houston being a car culture. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll be downsizing from four vehicles to just one, but I can’t wait! One of the things I’m most looking forward to about moving to Merida is being able to walk almost anywhere, and the health benefits are just an added bonus!

I recognize that Kroger on Buffalo Speedway. It's close to my office, and it’s absolutely the worst place to go for a quick lunchtime errand. I've wasted lots of gas over the years circling that lot for a space. If you have time while you’re here, you should try the fresh spring rolls at Vietopia (same shopping center). They're way better than Kim Son.