What is it about a rectangular patch of grass that so captivates the New England psyche? Is it genetic? Cultural? What am I missing? For the life of me I can’t figure out why everyone thinks the Yankee parking lot is the Dublin Town Green.
Our office has a simple horseshoe parking lot that runs the length of our building. Between the two branches is a narrow patch of grass—no more than fifteen paces wide—that is home to a small tree, some flowers, and a sign. There is no statue commemorating the valiant Union dead. There’s no gazebo or bandstand and there’s hardly enough room to get yourself into a run before bumping into one of the parked cars. There is no reason, save for the shape, to believe that our meager lawn is a public park.
And yet they come.
Some only come for a stroll, maybe as part of their daily walk or as a shortcut from the Dublin School down to the library. Others stick around for a while. I’ll often see a couple of kids playing in the median while their mothers watch, leaning on the side of their car, waiting for God knows what. I once caught a group of kids filming a skateboard video out there, and this summer we had a running feud with a couple of Frisbee players whose aim was sadly lacking.
“Meet me at Yankee” has become an all too common phrase in the Monadnock region. Need a place to load up a bus for a school trip? Meet me at Yankee. Want to consolidate cars before heading into town with friends? Meet me at Yankee. Need overflow parking for your event? Meet me at Yankee!
Our parking lot is the living, beating heart of Dublin. It’s a town hall, recreation center, and singles’ club all rolled up in one. It’s also (when not too busy) where I park.
What baffles me the most about this phenomenon is that there are literally a dozen other places within a mile that are better suited for all of these activities. No more than 100 yards away on the other side of the street, there is a municipal parking lot that, unlike ours, is never full. I should know. I’m forced to park there every year when the church next door has its annual rummage sale. Right next to that lot is a ball field that was specifically designed for children to play on. Its only flaw seems to be that it isn’t shaped like a rectangle.
More puzzling than that is the fact that at the end of our parking lot—no more than a twenty second stroll from “the green”—is a wide-open, mowed field, complete with picnic benches and a little garden surrounded by a white picket fence. We really wouldn’t mind people playing there, and yet they don’t. It’s perpetually empty, like some plague swept through, forcing the survivors south into our parking lot where they now huddle with their Frisbees and their complete lack of regard for oncoming traffic.
What is it about our parking lot that draws people in like moths to the flame? Is it simply the familiar shape and its central location in town? Or is it something more nefarious? I for one have settled upon witchcraft. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Some foul entity has taken residence there and draws in unwitting travelers with its subconscious siren song. Maybe it’s a ghost or maybe a demon. Maybe it’s the combined ill will of our readers from when we changed the size of the magazine become manifest. Whatever it is, we can do little to stop it. Some people have suggested we put up signs to turn people away, but I doubt anything short of an exorcism will work.