Illustration by Caroline Bae

Long Beach Parking Lots For Deep Contemplation

By Leah Olds

Ever find yourself slumped in the driver’s seat of your parked car, staring out into nothing with a mid-tempo alt rock song on repeat, destined to become the soundtrack of your life’s greatest disappointments? Oh, you haven’t? Well… me neither. Definitely not. But in the event that you’re playing hooky with therapy, here are some great local spots that will help fill the void!

1. The ‘University Overlook’ Lot
Students of Long Beach State, rejoice! For only $210 per semester, you will be treated to a decadent high-rise parking structure located just south of East Atherton Street. This lot boasts rooftop views of a picturesque campus where you will spend at least four years questioning the projected stability of your professional future. A student can change their major, but they can’t change that deafening inner-monologue that makes them a stranger to their lifelong dreams. So if you want to start your day with an enchanted gaze at the Walter Pyramid, or with 35 minutes of circling around like a shark before settling for a low attendance rate, this is the destination for you. Scenic, expensive, and mind-numbing – these are what make up a true university experience. Go Beach!

2. The ‘I’ve Got Things To Do’ Lot
On the corner of Anaheim and Newport, this bustling commercial lot is flanked by a number of establishments, the likes of which include LB Laundry, Rose Massage, KBeauty, JJ Chinese Express, and El Pollo Loco. It’s the perfect Sunday morning “to-do” depot!
But enough with the advertising. It is likely that there is not a single errand you need to run here. You just needed a place to sit and think, or stare at a dumpster for 15 whole minutes with no interruptions. That five year plan you made as a high school senior is a thing of the past, friend. If you haven’t already secured your quirky group of best friends and the loft apartment in Los Angeles, then it is time to stop chasing the fantasy. Just find a parking space after business hours and watch the middle seasons of “New Girl” to get the desired effect. This is a destination that is guaranteed to soothe the sting of underachievement!

3. The ‘Hold Your Cousin Accountable’ Lot
There are so many spaces to choose from at this asphalt haven, you might consider initiating a four hour long video call with an estranged relative just to clear the air on why you haven’t spoken to them since “that thing that happened at auntie’s house two years ago.” Turn up the heat, sister!
Oh and Jerry’s Breakfast Place is right across from it, should you end up falling asleep in the driver’s seat after all of the unpacking. Take it from me, the only other call you're going to want to make after that will be for an order of chilaquiles with some orange juice and an Advil (not included with the Jerry’s breakfast).

4. The ‘Oh Look, It’s the Place You Haven’t Visited Since You Turned 18’ Lot
Praise be! It doesn’t matter if the sight of the chapel tower across the road gives rise to warm, nurturing feelings or deeply buried shame; at the very least, you will find plenty of spots for repentance at this street-facing lot on Third Street. But before opening your driver’s side door to air out the hotbox fumes and watch those CVS receipts get “swept away by the wind,” just know that everything you do is being witnessed by the eyes of God.

5. The ‘You Might As Well Get Comfortable’ Lot
Sometimes, the only way to gain control of mental-emotional consciousness is by losing control of physical-material surroundings. So if you’ve been cruising down Long Beach Boulevard with that dead look in your eyes, desperate to make everything in the world stop for just a little while, then venture to a place that guarantees unrelenting stillness.
Sandwiched between Park’s Transmissions and Fluffy’s Sno-Balls, this lot has plenty of parking spaces but no designated exit in either direction. That’s right, you cannot leave!
Unless of course, you choose to drive in the opposite direction of the entrance’s painted arrow. But who are we kidding – you need this stationary solitude, or you just might lose it. If you are a functionally manic individual who can’t seem to allow yourself a crying spell, let this impractically designed car park do the work. Here’s to going nowhere fast!

1st Runner-Up: The ‘Greasy Spoon’ Lot
Do you love fried chicken? How about aimless retrospection? If you answered ‘yes’ to one or both of those questions, start the 1992 Toyota Camry that your parents say has “nine, maybe ten years left” and pull into this lot in front of Popeyes on Redondo Avenue.
You don’t even have to eat anything! Just pull in, nudge the parking block, roll your window down, smell the drifting fumes from the fryers, then roll your windows back up whilst taking stock of the dreams you had long mistaken for precious childhood memories.

2nd Runner-Up: The ‘You Have Never Used A Wrench In Your Life’ Lot
Rapid-fire question: What is something that is a life necessity but also has a habit of getting messy when it is not properly looked after?
If you answered “indoor plumbing,” you are right! But you are also wrong. In fact, a better answer would have been “my relationship,” because some of you know damn well that yours is in desperate need of fixing. That’s why you should take yourself to East Fourth Street’s ACE Hardware and think about that with your transmission on ‘P.’
And while you’re at it, pick up a flathead screwdriver that you’ll only use once so that you have an actual reason to be there that doesn’t include grabbing some free popcorn or living out a symbolic epiphany.