No parking

When I was a brand new lawyer, my office was situated in a nice five story bank building that sat across from the downtown courthouse.  Attached to the office building is a three story parking garage.  It is an incredibly convenient place to park when you are running late and in a hurry to get to court.

The maintenance supervisor for my old office building is a curious fellow.  He sports a mangled beard and is always wearing one of those shirts with a name patch and a grease stain.  If you stand close enough to him on the elevator, you smell alcohol.  And this man is incredibly possessive about the visitor parking spaces, which are on the ground floor of the parking garage at my old office building.

When I left my first firm to move on to different things, I would still routinely squeeze my truck into one of the visitor parking spots at my old office building when I had to be at the courthouse across the street.  I was convinced that the maintenance supervisor knew what I was doing.  If I saw him while parking, I would sometimes go so far as to walk into the building and then make an exit into an alleyway!  It was as close to covertness and the Bourne Identity as I am likely to ever get.  But this whole process made me incredibly anxious.  I was always worried that when I got back there was going to be a nasty note on my window, or perhaps a big orange boot on one of my wheels (fortunately, I am not sure that they make a boot big enough for my 4 x 4 truck, consequently enough - I have never used four wheel drive.  But it is there in the event that there is an unexpected blizzard in Florida!).

Several weeks ago, I took to literally trying to do everything different than what I had been doing in weeks and years past.  For instance, my wife and I routinely battle over the thermostat.  She wants it at 70 degrees at night.  I'd be fine if we left it on 74 all day.  I am of course delusional and convinced that these few degrees make the difference between a $250 power bill and a $100 bill.  So, I started turning the AC down to 70 at night before she had the chance (disclaimer: I have not consistently done this).  I have tried to smile at my kids rather than have out of body experiences when they use the manners of Cretans.  And I even decided to stop the covert parking operations at my old office building.  It was an incredible relief!  I now simply park down the road and I don't worry about dodging my nemesis.

It is often uncomfortable getting out of the habits that we are comfortable being uncomfortable in.  Sometimes the behaviors are more serious than others.  But sometimes starting with the little things is enough to prompt bigger change.  And sometimes that is all that is needed.  


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