I Grew Up in a Parking Lot

I thought if I started a blog, it would force me to lead an interesting life.

Lucy and Me

Lucy and Me, Back in the Day

Anyway, this is me and Lucy, a car I’ve raised since she was one year old. She’s still with me now, but she’s been sitting in the carport for months, and just the other day, someone left a note on her windshield because he thought she’d been abandoned.

I grew up in a parking lot, where my mom and dad raised cars. They still raise cars. They publish a tabloid newspaper about the care and feeding of the cars we raise.

One day, I ran away from the parking lot. It was kind of sudden, at least to some people. It’d been on the back of my mind for awhile, ever since I saw my first foreign film.

And then what happened was I lived in Eastern Europe for a year. Prague, to be exact. My Gramma read about it in the Smithsonian and thought there, in this former communist country, I’d land me a nice rich Czech man, start a solid career and make something of myself. I think she knew that probably my parking lot aspirations were going nowhere, but I am not sure if her Czech expectations were any more realistic, but I can say that the beer there is the best in the world.

What impacted me was that I mingled with an entire nation of people that not only had never heard of autocross, most of them didn’t even drive cars. And they still seemed happy. That was the weirdest part.

My folks think that I have absolutely lost it. I live in downtown suburbia and I don’t even drive. I take public transit and ride my bike to most places. I believe that while being able to maneuver a car quickly through orange traffic cones might have its artistic merit, driving a car to get around is, for the most part, not good for you.

It took me awhile to finally leave the parking lot, but when I did, I cannot describe to you the freedom I felt, particularly when I realized that this was something that I didn’t have to do anymore. I could wake up on any given weekend morning and do whatever the heck I wanted.

Every once in awhile, I’ll stop by the parking lot for a visit, to see if I get the urge back. I come close, but the excitement of the unknown, of what’s really out there, pulls me back out. On these visits, invariably I’ll be asked if I miss it.

What’s to miss? Three minutes of fun and then dinner at Denny’s?

I don’t think this blog is about anything in particular, but I share with you my parking lot upbringing so that you understand that my childhood was a little different that most kids’. It was almost like growing up in the circus, even. I was a “national champion” autocrosser by the time I was 17 years old. Never mind that I was the only one in my class. But anyway, I somehow believed, from a very young age, that I was destined for parking lot greatness. 

As it turns out, all I really did was spin out a lot into traffic cones. I mean, when you really think about it. So now I feel like I have all this catching up to do. I have such a long way to go.

7 Responses to I Grew Up in a Parking Lot

  1. Ray says:

    Lucy hey?

    I’ve got a S14a Silvia with a rather potent setup called Strawberry who wants to race you 🙂

    Oh.. and it aint that limp wristed KA24 powered 240sx rubbish you have over in the states… it’s all JDM down here in Australia 😀

  2. katiekelly says:

    Oh my God, can someone please tell me what Ray just said? What’s a S14A Silvia? KA24? A JDM? Help me.

  3. Scott says:

    Katie Kelly…sweet Joseph! I was searching around for articles on Pleasanton Swimmers at Olympic Trials and somehow I found your blog. Google…

    …this is Katie Kelly from Pleasanton with the MG, right?

  4. katiekelly says:

    Crikey, I meant to respond sooner. Is this Scott, who used to somehow fold himself up to fit in the back of my MG? That you were 11 probably helped.

  5. Mark Looman says:

    Katie, please email me when you get a chance.

  6. AppGirl says:

    There are days that I miss the parking lot… and maybe even Denny’s. We should visit the parking lot together sometimes. Whoever spins out the most buys the drinks…

  7. ROLANDO ROCHA says:


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