Up North, people will drive in circles. They burn overpriced Speculator inflated prices for gasoline in giant SUVs in massive parking lots looking for the closest parking space to the door.
Lazy, but it's human nature.
Down here in South Florida, you'll notice that the first spots to fill up are under a tree.
Those spots all have the local license plates, or plates from someone who lives in the Sun Belt.
Why? Well, I've gotten into my Jeep that was facing into the sun once and found that the foam rubber on the steering wheel that Chrysler put there 10 years ago had become somehow molten and now I was holding onto a rubber snake that would twist in my hand.
Yes, this is the land of Rubber Cobras and people baking cookies on the dashboard of their cars.
Why not? After all, a cookie sheet will protect the dashboard just as effectively as that piece of carpet. Besides who doesn't like a tasty snack?
That's all well and good but the malls and shopping centers have only so much room to put Islands for Trees, and unfortunately they don't do a good job of covering the pavement area when there is a tree there.
On the other hand there public planners have to be very careful of what they plant next to a car park.
That was illustrated everywhere in this little patch of Paradise this weekend. We had a windy day.
Mind you this wasn't really anything to get excited about. It was only 35 mph gusts. 20 or so base winds. I can bike that fast on flat ground, 20mph isn't really that fast.
Except... I've got to be Good Guy Bill again and warn a neighbor.
You see, they're renters. They moved in with Northern Plates on the cars and they got changed out to White and Green Florida plates. They are planning on setting down roots.
So letting them in on the details of living here in the land of roaming Ball Pythons and falling Iguanas is our duty.
These renters have a rather nice little mini SUV. The badge of a Suburban type. Quiet folks, I can't say I've actually seen them more than once in the last few months.
That rather nice little mini SUV is parked quietly on their property. Right under the tree. It stays cool there. Cool is good.
Except... The tree is the neighborhood Mango. It's a magnificent tree, about 40 feet tall and about as broad. It's a mature tree that I wish was on my own yard. You see, that tree is in full fruit, and will have two crops this year.
Take one Mango tree in season and you will get about 100 pounds of fruit, plus or minus a couple pounds.
So the wind kicks up and the fruit becomes the picture perfect definition of a Windfall. Mangoes fall from the tree in all stages of ripeness. It just depends on how the wind hits them. Immature fruit are about as soft as your average piece of granite. Falling from 40 feet, it will take about a second to hit the ground.
Now, if you have a good fruit baring year, those wonderful mangoes on that magnificent tree become quite large.
Yes, 17 ounces of a green granite grenade flying at your head from 40 feet. That works out to be about 21mph.
Now, while 21mph isn't exactly fast, the force of a one pound, one ounce block of granite colliding with your windshield would be like if I had taken a brick and hurled it at the same spot.
Hilarity would ensue.
So folks when you decide to come down for a visit with your nice shiny SUV and park here under a nice big broad tree that is seemingly the only open place for you to park, take my advice.
Look up and check for falling fruit. The windshield you save may be your own.