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Monday, July 28, 2014

Parking as narcissism meter

One consistent pattern I've noticed in my hometown is that how people park is a reflection on their personalities.

At the Y where I swim, there are six ten minute parking spots, for people there on brief business. One woman, a confirmed narcissistic personality, always parks in the 10 minute parking spot for at least an hour while she works out.

(If you're going to the Y to exercise anyway, why is it so horrible to have to walk an extra 50 yards in the parking lot?)

Another indicator is when people will straddle a line, effectively taking two parking spaces for their car. I see this on a fairly regular basis, and can't help but think how selfish (read: narcissistic) that is. Sometimes it's a befuddled old person parking this way, in which case you have to cut them a break. But usually it's a huge SUV driven by someone with a commensurate ego.

In New York City, the narcissists express themselves slightly differently -- by double parking. If someone wants to get out while their car is boxed in, too bad.

At Costco, people sometimes see someone else loading up their car and will wait for a couple minutes for them to finish packing and leave, so that they can get that choice spot. In the meantime, all the cars behind them have to wait those couple minutes as well. Similar behavior.

Any time anybody essentially says, my time is more valuable than yours, it's narcissistic behavior. And anytime anybody doesn't stay within the lines, they're saying the rules don't apply to them.

Which together are a pretty good summation of the syndrome.

17 comments:

Steven said...

Sometimes I think I may be a bit narcissistic (like right now talking about myself) but I'm against these things and would diligently avoid them. If I'm a passenger in a car, I get annoyed at the driver if he/she is dozy and makes people wait, even for a few seconds. I suppose this could be caring what other people think too much.

Steven said...

I was invovled with a woman once, years ago, who talked constantly about herself. I cut her some slack because she had had a hard time with her previous boyfriend and I thought she needed to talk. But when I think about it, she was self-invovled and was always the victim in her stories. Once she asked me about myself and I felt close to her so I decided to open up; a minute later she was nearly asleep and not listening.

She would arrange to meet you at night and then make me wait for a long time while she finishes off talking to her friends or something. Or go do something while you wait and take a really long time.

But she was sexy and kind in her own way and I'm still grateful she came into my life for a while at just the right time.




Anonymous said...

I suspect that customers who try going through the "10 items or less" checkout with way more items are probably also narcissists. Reneging on promises is another one. I have a family member like this - makes generous promises, then gaslights by denying she ever made them (or claiming she offered far less than she really did). Basically, narcs think they're above the rules and that promises don't mean anything (except for when the promises are made to them, in which case they'll never forget what was offered).

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Steven --
Sexy and kind versus mildly narcissistic? Well, life is all about tradeoffs, that doesn't sound like a horrible one. One thing about sexy girls, they always think they're more interesting than they are, simply because they've gotten used to guys listening to them as if they're fascinating. Which they actually are, in their own way, it's just that it's not what comes out of their mouth that's so interesting.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Those are two more good examples. The former is relatively benign (like parking wrongly, I suppose), the latter is infuriating. I too have had experience with people who regularly renege on promises, and it definitely makes you want to wring their necks. That can be a sign of narcissism, but it can also be a sign (in my experience) of Aspergers, and also borderline personality disorder.

Steven said...

Sex with a hot and horny female is a pretty powerful incentive. Guys will put up with an awful lot for that! Even if it is sometimes over a little quicker than they'd like. Not guilty your honour.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realise Aspies also reneged on promises a lot. Then again, you've said before that Aspies have narcissistic traits so it shouldn't really be a surprise.

I note the way you describe narcissism as a "syndrome", which I'm not sure I agree with. Narcissism is an unfortunate trait, but I don't believe it's a valid medical condition. To medicalise selfishness is to excuse it.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Steven --
Ha! You are guilty, but only of a misdemeanor.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Wiki actually lists "narcissistic personality disorder," but they say only 1% of the population has it, which is ridiculous. The entire sociopathic population has it, and they check in at around 3 or 4% already. I'd guess more like 20 -- or 30 -- percent of the population has it.

I wasn't looking to excuse selfishness, but I do see you point.

Pavonine99 said...

Hmm, not sure about all this.
Personally, I don't like to call anyone a narcissist unless they have a real lack of empathy and are willing to harm others to further their ends.
Anything less isn't a disorder, it's just an annoyance.

John Craig said...

Pavonine --
I may be overstating the case. And I certainly wouldn't certify anyone based on parking alone. But my point is, and maybe I should have been clearer about it, that there is a high correlation between narcissism and those behaviors. I also happen to know the woman I described who always parked in the ten minute zones, and there's no question about her narcissism.

Glen Filthie said...

I park like a drunken slob on the outer most periphery of the parking lot at Costco. Nobody else parks out there and there are no problems with dinged door, dents, or scratches that come from parking alongside some stressed out idiot who is in a hurry and could care less about your property.
I don't know if that makes me a drunken slob or a narcissist...

John Craig said...

Glen --
Unless you've been drinking, neither. The other stuff becomes moot if you're parking where nobody else does.

Anonymous said...

How about people who wear their sunglasses in the Mall?

John Craig said...

Anon --
That certainly betrays a certain level of vanity, but it's not an inconvenience to others the way, say, taking two parking spaces is.

Anonymous said...

I think it's way more than vanity.

To me it seems like they are to important to even feel the need to make eye contact.

Also women who wear sunglasses inside almost always wear leopard skin patterned clothes.

Could you ask your son what he thinks, he seems smarter the you? ha ha

John Craig said...

Anon --
I goes that's true about the eye contact, hadn't thought of that angle. And now that you mention it, sunglasses and leopard skin prints do seem a common combination (though I'm not sure I'd go so far as "almost always").

My son's confidence in his intelligence has gotten a big boost recently because he's ben beating me pretty regularly at Jeopardy. We watch it most nights at 7, and although he doesn't know more than me, he's quicker, and if we both know the answer, he'll often spit it out before I've even finished reading the question. So he wins. (And he does know an awful lot for a 22-year-old.)

This evening we'll have a bunch of Bryn Mawr girls staying with us, and I'm going to suggest a competition, all of them vs. my son. My money's on m son.