So maybe Jamie Lundquist had grown a little plump lately, although she preferred the term “fluffy.” It was a woman’s prerogative, right? Especially after all of that holiday celebrating she’d suffered through recently. A little Christmas party appetizer here, a little (all right, let’s be honest: a lot) of New Year’s Eve drinking there, and the next thing you know, your ass is dragging, your clothes have morphed from merely snug to oh-crap-the-zipper-of-your-jeans-won’t-go-up, and you long for the days when you could pinch just an inch. Nothing a little effort at the gym (not to mention some self-restraint at mealtime) couldn’t fix, right?
That’s why she found herself slogging off to Verity Beach’s one-and-only fitness center on a frigid January morning against her better judgment. If that wasn’t bad enough, an early morning workout flew in the face of her normal wintertime sleep pattern, submerged beneath the cozy comfort of a goose down duvet till nine. It wasn’t even dawn when she arrived at the place, knowing it would be yet another day of parking space roulette. In January, it seemed the amateurs—like her—came out to the gym in droves, and parking was at an all-time premium. God forbid she parked a block away and walked the extra few hundred feet. No way, man! It was freezing, and she was already going to have to exert herself far more than usual in the dead of winter once she got inside. She had to preserve her energy stores!
So she did what she’d done every day since returning to the scene of her now-daily penance, driving sloth-slow, scouring the horizon in the hopes that someone would be pulling out and she could nab the space. She glanced at the far corner of the ample parking lot and spied what appeared to be a spot, flooring it to get there before anyone else did. But once she approached, she realized that for the third time this week, some yahoo with a fancy vehicle—this time a sleek, shiny, new black SUV—had taken it upon himself (the people who did this sort of thing were always men) to straddle two spaces to protect his car from door dings.
Dammit. This sort of thing chapped Jamie’s burgeoning ass big-time. Didn’t the moron know that January at the gym was parking lot purgatory? In the post-holiday competition to undo what the season of joy had wrought, it seemed all that good cheer was being diminished by selfish bastards like this guy, who couldn’t simply take a space and hope for the best with his precious car.
Well, she would show him. She sized up the remaining half-space, confident that if she couldn’t fit her fat butt into her jeans, at least she could wedge her modestly sized car into this demi-space. Thank goodness vehicles didn’t gain weight with too much celebrating. She glanced in her mirror, pulled forward, then put the gear shift in reverse, checking the backup camera on her dashboard, ever-so-gingerly drifting backward as she masterfully squeezed into the remaining void.
Jamie couldn’t help but feel a bit smug about her accomplishment, even though it meant the jerk would not be able to get back into his car on the driver’s side.
“Oh well. That’s his problem,” she muttered as she put the car in park. “Let him climb in with all the spare room he has on the passenger side.”
But as she checked and rechecked her positioning, she started to feel a teensy bit guilty and took a couple more passes to straighten out her car. She even made sure her tires hugged the curb on the other side of the space to allow as much room as possible for Mr. Selfish to maybe—if he lost weight after his holiday bingeing—get into his pretentious penis-substitute-on-wheels through the driver’s side door.
She turned off the ignition, exited onto the curb, and dusted off her hands, mission accomplished. She’d practically had her exercise for the day and even entertained the idea that she could shorten her workout after this arduous parking job. But no: she was here, surfing season would soon be upon her, and she wasn’t going to move up a size in a wet suit because she took her holiday celebrating—and her parents’ contentious divorce—too seriously. She was gonna wrangle that same discipline that led her to rise before dawn to surf each morning, once the weather was not so hostile, and SoulCycle her ass down to a more manageable size.
As she fumbled in her purse for her gym pass next to the manly-man SUV, she was bowled over by the noxious fumes from what must have been a skunk or something. Yuck. The guy probably ran it over for sport. Bad enough she had to park near this jerk, but for the air around her car to be enveloped in the nasty fug of skunk aroma, well, ugh. For good measure, she decided to slip a note onto this bonehead’s windshield, letting him know, in case he was unaware, that his parking job was lame. She rifled through her purse and pulled out a notebook and pen, pulling the cap off with her teeth. She leaned against the hood of her car as she scrawled out her message, lifted one of the car’s windshield wipers and secured the note beneath it, then headed into the fitness center.
After starting the day on a sour note, she was feeling good about herself, her determination, and her destiny to return to fit and petite, ASAP.
It was gonna be a great day.
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