You have to wonder if anyone appreciates parking lots as much as we alcoholics. Of course, I’m not talking about having a parking space. I’m talking about the way we gather outside the parking lot before and after our A. A. meetings. In fact, one reason why I dislike winter so much, and welcome the return of warmer weather every year is because of how these seasons effect our time in the parking lot. If it’s winter, we endure the cold and talk about missing the warm nights. If it’s summer, then we get to linger around and move from one conversation to the other as we watch the sky grow darker and darker as the sun slips away. I have had chats with fellow A.A.’s after a meeting that have lasted as long as the meeting itself. Sometimes longer.
Matt told me about living on the east coast, how he ended up here and how much he likes Des Moines. And he likes Des Moines not because we are a big tourist attraction, he likes it here because he found a new life and new friends. He found the good life.
Steve and myself stood in the very cold air on a dark winter night after a meeting and he told me about a major health crisis in his family. I shared similar experiences within my family, and my own because I was myself in the midst of a battery of medical tests at that time that could have potentially turned out to be serious. Do you know what? In spite of being in the midst of his own difficult circumstances, he offered up a prayer for my well being. We don’t always think to ask people to pray on our behalf. The parking lot made it so. And we decided it was time to meet up some morning to have coffee, to get to know each other better.
Brian and I discovered we have a shared interest in railroads of all things. He eventually invited me over to his house to see his cool model railroad layout. He makes a point now of showing me photographs of trains he takes as he travels around in his semi truck. I had gotten to know him through meetings, but in a meeting the topic of railroads isn’t discussed much! That’s a conversation for the parking lot.
Jim told me about living in California and working security at a big movie studio and what it’s like to see into the lives of movie stars and movie sets. Sure, there is money and fame but also a reality behind the facade that is much different. Reality shows up in the parking lot. it was just another conversation on a nice late summer evening. It didn’t make me want fortune, and it didn’t make me want fame. No way. It was just another conversation that made me smile because I got to know a little bit more about another A.A. – and life itself. And I stood there on the pavement, looking around as the world whirled past, feeling good to be alive, watching the sun sink lower, and then getting out my car keys ready to head home. In a good mood. In a good place. Having no desire to add alcohol to the mix. Thanks to the parking lot.