Angelenos know the perils of parking, their shrill cries passing through the cosmos upon every sighting of the meter maid, their pleas for lenience always falling on deaf ears.
Filmmaker David Egan knows their pain. And he's documenting it--the method, the madness--for posterity in "Don't Even Think About Parking."
The act of parking a car should be a trivial part of life, he says while eyeing some meters on Beverly Boulevard, but "the fact is that it takes a lot of energy. It becomes a ritual, a cultural activity. In a certain sense this is the underworld, the land of the parked car."
Egan has had little trouble finding people in Los Angeles to spill their guts on the subject. One woman tells of her arrest for assaulting a meter man with her breasts. She doesn't deny that she attempted to run the guy over, but says the breast assault was trumped up. Another carries paint to cover red curbs and various utensils for jamming parking meters.
Egan has also talked to people who pride themselves on their ability to wedge their cars between others, either over or under the bumper, some who pray to parking gods and others who believe the act requires a dose of mysticism and money. Bad karma, they say, surrounds those who get a choice spot in front of a store and then don't buy anything.
Egan hopes to show the documentary at film festivals and on PBS' "P.O.V.," which broadcast one of his previous projects, "Hugo and the Blue Whale," the story of a metal worker who refused to move when the Pacific Design Center was being built around him. Egan is financing this documentary himself--not too much of a challenge since he's using a Hi-8 camcorder to make it.
"The whole film is about dealing with anxiety," Egan concludes. "It's about modernity and its discontent. It's about the mythological interpretations of contemporary society. It's about culture. It's about the kinds of things you have to live with to survive."