ONE DAY IN A PARKING LOT


Wednesday, April 18, 2007: I’m in an older Pontiac, running a pick-up, drop-off, pick-up and drop-off again at the Victoria General Hospital. Entrance into the lot requires automatic payment, so long as you’ve been abiding in the lot for over 10 minutes. 9 minutes? Free. 11 minutes? $1.25.

Problem? The lot is perpetually full. Full to the brim. As stuffed as a turkey on Thanksgiving. Full to the gunnels. Ready to burst.

To drop a body off, you must make your way through a two-lane ‘road’ toward one of the two main entrances, either the Victoria building or the Dickson. Drop one body off, retrieve that body and another, drive them to another far-off entrance. Allow wheelchair to be found, wait patiently, retrieve body (person, I mean) and take off. Pay $1.25. Awful.

So the debate that runs through my head during the second pick-up/drop-off stint two hours later is this: If I am stuck in this lot for 20 minutes, having not even found a parking spot to stop in yet…what vehicle should I be driving? A 1999 Pontiac Grand Am? Not my favoured choice.

Imposing front end; somewhat prominent seating position; complete surround-view visibility; tidy overall dimensions. Those are absolute requirements. Mercedes S-class? Too big for the tight turns. Range Rover? Getting warm.

Mini Cooper? Not enough intimidation nor is there a high enough view of the up-ahead (Necessary for quick bypasses). Acura RDX? Tidy dimensions, plenty of relaxing luxury and stereo capability to keep us serene. Mazda 5? Perhaps not quite high enough, the view out the rear isn’t quite up to snuff because of that lack of height.

This is tough. Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix? Perhaps not enough of the serenity quotient.

We’ll run with this choice for now: Volvo XC70. It’s not tiny, it’s not terribly tall, no S-class levels of lux, but it does or has enough to meet every requirement.

Plus the most comfortable seats in the business.