The parking lot where I work has five picnic tables. I guess that’s what makes it not just a parking lot, but a day use area as well.
Whenever anyone asks me if we have picnic tables or a picnic area, I stand up, and while using flight attendant-type hand gestures, say, There are two near those rocks, one in the meadow, one on the far side of the restroom, and one at the end of this spur.
At that point, some people say Thank you, and move on. I like those people.
But lots of other people have more questions.
Which of the picnic tables is the best? some people ask.
I usually manage to say something like You’ll have to decide that for yourself. I figure I get bonus points if I plaster a smile on my face during such an interaction. Of course, I’m thinking something closer to I’m working! I don’t have time to lounge at picnic tables, trying to decide which one is best!
If I wanted to be philosophical, I could say, Best? What is “best”? Best to me may be worst to you.
Or I could answer the question with a question and ask, What are your criteria for best when it comes to picnic tables?
The more annoying question is any variation of Which picnic table has the most shade right now?
Just a minute, I think whenever someone asks me to tell him/her which picnic table at this moment has the most shade, let me pull out the chart on which I’ve logged the relative amount of shade for each of the five picnic tables in this parking lot, according to the time of day and the day of the year!
In fact, I’ve never sat at any of the picnic tables in the parking lot. I don’t know which one is the best, and I don’t know anything about the shade situation. If I were choosing a picnic table, I’d probably avoid the one on the far side of the restroom (who thought that was a good place for a picnic table anyway?), but that’s about the only advice I can give.
The Lady of the House says visitors to the parking lot see me as the expert, and they want an expert opinion on everything.
Let me just put it out there: I’m no picnic table expert!
I think people in this society depend entirely too much on experts and authority figures. People have grown so accustomed to someone always telling them what to do, they’ve forgotten how to make decisions for themselves.
This is what I would like to tell people when they ask me about the best or most shaded picnic table in the parking lot:
Boldly go through this parking lot. Walk from table to table. Choose the one YOU think is best. Find the table with the degree of shade YOU find most desirable. Do not rely on my opinion, but instead, form your own!
I took this photo of a picnic table. Do you think it has enough shade? Too much?