Diablo Views: The dangers of parking lots and Facebook | January 23, 2009 | Danville Express | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville Express

Column - January 23, 2009

Diablo Views: The dangers of parking lots and Facebook

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Last Friday, mid-afternoon, I pulled into the Costco parking lot, taking a break from work. When I saw a car pulling out of a spot right in front of me, on the row directly facing Fostoria Way, I came to a halt to wait and take the space. Then I noticed a white truck to my left and wondered if that driver was also waiting. "Are you waiting for that space?" I gestured to the driver. "Yes, you go ahead," he gestured back. Or so I thought. The car exited in his direction, blocking him, and I pulled into the space.

As I walked to the entrance of Costco, the truck pulled up next to me. "You took my space," said the middle-aged man who was driving, although he said it in a friendly tone. "What?!" I answered. "I thought you told me to take it. I am so, so sorry." Well, I was indeed very sorry. Sorry that I'd taken a space out of turn but, I must admit, more sorry that perhaps I'd offended a stranger in a parking lot who could now very easily get even with me by keying my car or letting the air out of my tires. He smiled in a friendly way, I thought, and continued in his pursuit of a parking place.

I located my four items in record time, stood in the blessedly short, mid-day mid-week line, and soon was back out in the parking lot. I noticed the white truck in a primo spot right in front. Aha! His karma had come through when he was nice to me. Should I get his license plate number, I wondered, just in case? No, I decided to have more faith in my fellow man and trust that his smile indeed had been understanding. And, yes, my car was just fine.


Recently the editors and publishers from our six weekly newspapers met to talk about our Web sites and the new Express editions we are sending out. Danville Weekly Express goes to e-mailboxes every Friday - be sure to sign up at www.DanvilleWeekly.com. Starting Feb. 1, it will go out three mornings a week and, at some point, we will begin delivery every weekday morning.

At the meeting, we discussed the phenomenon of Facebook and its part in social networking and news delivery; the president of Embarcadero Publishing said we should all become members of Facebook so we can learn about it firsthand.

Now I had no desire to join Facebook, believing it better suited to the younger folk. I asked my book group last week and none of the eight in attendance were on Facebook, although two said their husbands were. However, since I want to stay part of the incredibly shrinking newspaper industry, I joined Facebook.

Before this I viewed Facebook as something my kids did. When my son Pepe was home for Christmas he showed me some of his old Stone Valley Middle School classmates and their updates. If you accept someone as your "friend" on Facebook, you can read their profile, see their posted photos and communicate via the medium. You can also get a glimpse of their friends and perhaps ask them to be your friends so friendships spread like wildfire. My daughter Zoe sometimes shares an update with me, too.

I declined the kind, if tentative, offers of Facebook friendship from both Pepe and Zoe. That would be like listening in on their phone conversations. Even adult offspring need their own space, as in My Space - or Facebook. Communicating with them via regular ol' e-mail and telephone works just fine.

Facebook also appeals to the ego. "What are you doing right now?" it asks every time you go to your site so it can be shared with your Facebook friends. My immediate responses were: "who cares?" and "none of your business." But in fact I did sort of find it interesting that one of my friends was "making coffee, feeding Willie and checking e-mail" at 7:15 a.m. Sunday. Or that another friend was wishing someone would fold her laundry for her.

My biggest complaint about Facebook is that it gobbles up time. The Internet in all aspects has proven to be a time-trap - you log on to read a movie review, check out a link or two, and before you know it so much time has passed that you no longer have time to see the movie. That's why I'm going to have to say No to future requests to be friends. Or would that be rude? What a dilemma. I guess I am learning all about Facebook.

-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.