“What time did you get to work today?”

Filed in The Working Life

If only she’d looked a little worried while riding the lift to the carpark. But she’d so confidently punched the P5 button, while I’d punched P7.

A while later, inside my car, putting together the ZenX for some drive-home music (plug cassette adapter cable into ZenX … switch on ZenX … scroll through playlists … decide what to play … settle on Janis Ian … ), I saw her walking down from P6, looking here and there, probably for her car.

If she’d looked a little unsure while in the lift, I would’ve asked if she forgot where she parked. If she’d nodded her head, I would’ve asked the one question I ask everyone who forgets where they’d parked their car in our office building’s 15-level car park.

What time did you get to work today?

Even if they give an approximate time, I am usually able to tell them roughly where to find their cars.

This is how cars are parked in the 15-level car park at work.

Levels 1 – 4 are reserved lots, with the number of the car stencilled on the wall of each space. The first level is reserved for senior management in my company (we do own the building and so get first dips), second level is shared with top management of tenant companies in the building, third and fourth levels for senior management of those tenant companies.

Level 5 onwards is free-for-all.

For some reason, there are a few non-reserved lots in levels 2, 3 and 4. But those are quickly taken up by the early birds who arrive as early as 6:30 in the morning just so they can park in one of those levels (and save subjecting their cars to going round and round up the various levels to park).

I usually arrive at the office between 7:30 and 7:45. On good days, I get a place on level 5. Not-so-good days, it’s level 6.

By 8:15, most of level 7 would be filled. Whatever’s left would be too far from the lifts, so if I am late and get in around that time, I’d drive up to level 8 (still empty at that time) and get a spot directly across from the lifts.

The highest I’ve had to park in recent months is the 10th level. I think I overslept that morning.

This parking system however doesn’t apply all day. Anytime after 10, and usually after lunch, if you come in, you’d be able to find a spot in one of the lower levels. Why? Cuz during the day, and especially during lunchtime, people would leave for appointments, thus leaving “holes” in the car park.

There was a time we had a couple of Government departments as tenants in the building. These people start and finish work early. So if I had to go out for an appointment and come back to the office around 4ish, I would get a nice spot on the 5th level.

Little things like this mean a lot to someone working in a big city and having to battle traffic jams and what-have-you’s. That’s why I go to work early – to beat the traffic and get a nice parking spot at work.