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Parking Lot People

May 17, 2018

One of my favorite parts of the entire school day is the twenty minutes I spend after school in my car. Every day without fail I leave my seventh hour physics class, walk to my car, sit in the driver’s seat, crack the windows, open my jar of honey roasted peanuts, and watch the world go by. From my perch, I watch the boy in the blue Honda race out of the parking lot while listening to Imagine Dragons; I see the girl in the silver Audi sit in her car, turn on her phone, and wait for the parking lot to empty; I see the security guard yell at students trying to sneak their car into the parent pick up line, and the van full of boys scramble out of the parking lot while honking their horn and generally acting obnoxious. It is from these observations that I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of people in this world: those who rush out of the parking lot and those who wait.

When that final bell rings, students rush out of their rooms at a pace that can only be described as frantic; they will jump out of windows and slide down banisters in an attempt to get to their car first. Which is where the world, or in this case the school, splits itself into two types of people; the people who get out of the parking lot before the buses and the people who don’t. You see, at my school the parking lot empties in a very specific way, one line is emptied for about 10 minutes until the buses are let out, then a second line is emptied until the parking lot is completely vacant. However here’s the catch, if you are in the first line and don’t make it out in the first 10 minutes you will be trapped in the parking lot for at least 40 minutes until the second line has emptied completely.

The school population divides itself amongst the two lines with about 30% choosing the first and the rest choosing the second. The people who pick the first line tend to be risk takers- after all, they choose to try the line that has less of a chance of getting them out in favor of possibly leaving faster. However, it would be a mistake to assume that these people are in a rush to leave because they hate school. The people electing to try the first line aren’t just slackers; there are all types of people from athletes, to academics, to kids from the anime club, to a notable boy who isn’t afraid to rock out to Beyonce in his car. These people may not be united by hobbies or friend groups or classes; they are instead motivated by a common frame of mind that tends to be more assertive when it comes to things they want: as evidenced by the plethora of horn-honking and one finger salutes students in the first line give each other while trying to battle for a place in the line. The people of the first line can only be described as daring with a “get it done” mentality.

The group in the second line is similar to the first only in that it is filled with people of different backgrounds and interests and united only by personality. This line’s members are foils of the other and are composed of people who have enough patience to realize that the odds are in their favor if they wait. These people can be defined by terms such as patient, long-term planners, and possibly even apprehensive because they rightly fear the frantic insanity of the first line.

As for me, I am a member of the second line on most days. After being a strict first-liner for most of junior year, I was finally scared so badly by the fearless driving of my peers that I decided for the sake of my car, my insurance premiums, and my personal sense of safety to wait the extra fifteen minutes in the second line. However, it is important to note that when it’s necessary, I can hold my own in the battle of the first line.

Long story short, the world can be split into two kinds of people: those of the first line and those of the second. While I realize that getting out of a high school parking lot in a timely manner isn’t a pressing issue for most of the population, the mentality is the same. Even though a middle-aged paper salesman from Scranton has nothing to do with the physical lines of a parking lot they do have to make choices about how aggressive they’re going to be when going for a promotion. Basically, everyone in the world can be split into being a first-liner and a second liner based on whether or not they believe in playing it safe or risking it all. There are people who will fight for themselves and what they want because they want results immediately, and there are people who are willing to wait a little longer for a more probable result. The key to becoming a successful adult is deciding when to take a risk and when to play it safe in both your personal and professional life.

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