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0235 Parking Instructions

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 235: Parking Instructions.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 235. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles in the State of California.

On this podcast, we're going to talk about “Parking Instructions,” what you do when someone is telling you where you should park your car. Let's get started!

[Start of story]

I arrived for my meeting at the headquarters of Woon Enterprises and I stopped at the kiosk to ask for directions. It’s a huge organization and the offices are located on a 30-acre compound, so it’s very hard to find your way around without some help.

Guard: Good morning.

Edyta: Good morning. I’m here for a meeting with Mark Johnson. Could you tell me how to get to the right building?

Guard: Sure. Take this road and follow the bend to the right. When you see the fork in the road, take the road on your right. Follow that to the parking structure. You can’t miss it.

Edyta: Okay, so when the road splits, I should veer right.

Guard: That’s right. Here’s a guest parking permit. Make sure it’s visible on your dash at all times. Drive past the lot and go into the parking structure. You can park on any level and in any space that isn’t reserved. The building right next to the structure is where Mark Johnson’s office is.

Edyta: Thanks, I think I’ve got all that.

The guard raised the arm of the gate and let me through. As I drove through the huge compound to the parking structure, I couldn’t help thinking that this Woon must be one very successful businessman.

[End of story]

We're parking our car in this podcast, something that is very important here in Southern California, where most people have a car because it is very difficult to get around the city without one.

In our story, Edyta says that she arrived for a “meeting at the headquarters” - the main office - of a company called “Woon Enterprises.” She “stopped at the kiosk to ask for directions.” A kiosk, “kiosk,” is a small building. Sometimes you will see these in a downtown area where they sell newspapers, or maybe some food or drinks. We also use that word, kiosk, when we are talking about a small building where you can ask for information - ask for instructions or directions on how to get somewhere.

Edyta says that the offices of Woon Enterprises are “on a 30-acre compound.” A compound, “compound,” is a group of buildings, usually that are part of the same business, or maybe even the same house, if it's a big house, and it's often surrounded by a wall.

Edyta says, “it’s hard to find your way around without some help.” To find your way around somewhere is to be able to find what you are looking for in a city or in a building. Well, Edyta asks the guard where she needs to go in order to have her meeting with Mark Johnson.

The guard gives her instructions - gives her directions. He says, “Take this road and follow the bend to the right.” A bend, “bend,” when we are talking about a road or a street is a curve. Usually, the road goes to the left or to the right, not a corner - not 90 degrees - but something less than that - something that is still sort of straight but it goes to one side or the other. In this case, the bend goes to the right. That word, bend, has many different meaning in English, take a look at the Learning Guide for some more information on that.

So, the guard says, “When you see the fork in the road, take the road on your right.” A fork, “fork,” in the road is a point where one road divides or splits and becomes two roads. It can sometimes look like the fork that you eat with because it has one handle on the fork and then it splits into two or more different parts. Well, this is an expression we use, a fork in the road, when a road divides into two.

The guard tells Edyta that she should take the road to the right, and “Follow that to the parking structure.” A parking structure is usually a building with two or more levels - two or more floors - where people park their car. He says to Edyta, “You can’t miss it.” This is a common expression when you are giving directions to someone and you think that it is very easy - that it will be very obvious. We say, “You can't miss it,” we mean it's impossible not to see it - you'll find it easily.

Edyta says, “Okay, so where the road splits, I should veer right.” Splits, “splits,” is when something divides into two pieces. In this case, the road divides into two different roads. Edyta says, “I should veer,” “veer,” “right.” To veer means to make a change in the direction that you are going in. Usually we use this word when we are talking about a vehicle like a car or a truck. Sometimes people use this expression, to veer right or to veer left, when they are talking about a political party or a political candidate in terms of their policies - their political philosophy. Conservative would be right; liberal would be left.

Well, this is not a case of politics but a case of giving directions. So, the guard says to Edyta that's correct - “That's right,” and then he gives her a parking permit. A permit, “permit,” is a piece of paper that you are given to do something. In this case, it's a piece of paper that allows you to park in a certain place.

Notice the pronunciation, permit, where the accent is on the first syllable. If we say permit with the accent on the second syllable, that makes it a verb, but as a noun, the accent is on the first syllable. So, we say, “parking permit,” and that's what a company will give you if you are visiting them. It gives you permission to park in their parking structures.

The guard says that Edyta should make the parking permit visible on her dash. To be visible, “visible,” means that people can see it. The dash, “dash,” as a noun, is the front part of your car. Usually it's the part that is right behind your car's front window, and it's flat - or usually flat - and you can put a piece of paper there so people could see it by looking in through the window.

The guard says to Edyta, “Drive past the lot and go into the parking structure.” A lot, “lot,” or a parking lot, is a place to park, but it's not inside of a building; it's a flat piece of land where you can park. He tells Edyta she “can park on any level” - any floor - “and in any space that isn’t reserved.” We call the places where you park your car, that are usually marked with some lines - white lines - that space is - that area is called a parking space.

You can have parking spaces that are reserved. If you see a sign that says, “This space is reserved,” it means that you have to be that particular person - no one else can use it except that person. So, it could be reserved for the president, that's where the president can park his or her car.

Parking spaces are very important in some companies - in some organizations - because if you have a good parking space that means you're very important - if you have a reserved parking space. At the University of California, Berkeley, which is a famous research university here in the United States, if you win a Nobel Prize, you get a reserved parking space. If you don't win a Nobel Prize, you don't get a reserved parking space. So, you have to be pretty important to get a reserved parking space in some places. Usually it's not that difficult, however!

After Edyta thanks the guard, “The guard raises the arm of the gate.” The arm of the gate is a piece of wood or metal that prevents people from going past the guard without stopping. Or, sometimes you will see it as you are leaving a parking structure, and you have to pay for the time that you were there, there will be a parking gate - an arm of a gate that will stop you from leaving until you pay. Well, the arm goes up - the piece of wood or metal goes up - and that allows you - that permits you to keep driving and leave that area.

Our story ends with Edyta saying that “this Woon” - the person who is the head of the company - “must be one very successful businessman.” The use of one here is for emphasis. It means this is a very important or this is the only person or thing. For example, you could say, “Tiger Woods is one great golf player,” meaning he is one of the few - he's a very important person in that particular area. It's used, as I say, for emphasis. If we say, “ESL Podcast is one interesting podcast,” we mean it is a very interesting podcast. Well, I hope it's a very interesting podcast. Not always, sometimes I forget to drink my coffee in the morning and it's not as interesting as it should be!

Now let's listen to the dialogue again, this time at a native, or normal, rate of speed.

[Start of story]

I arrived for my meeting at the headquarters of Woon Enterprises and I stopped at the kiosk to ask for directions. It’s a huge organization and the offices are located on a 30-acre compound, so it’s very hard to find your way around without some help.

Guard: Good morning.

Edyta: Good morning. I’m here for a meeting with Mark Johnson. Could you tell me how to get to the right building?

Guard: Sure. Take this road and follow the bend to the right. When you see the fork in the road, take the road on your right. Follow that to the parking structure. You can’t miss it.

Edyta: Okay, so when the road splits, I should veer right.

Guard: That’s right. Here’s a guest parking permit. Make sure it’s visible on your dash at all times. Drive past the lot and go into the parking structure. You can park on any level and in any space that isn’t reserved. The building right next to the structure is where Mark Johnson’s office is.

Edyta: Thanks, I think I’ve got all that.

The guard raised the arm of the gate and let me through. As I drove through the huge compound to the parking structure, I couldn’t help thinking that this Woon must be one very successful businessman.

[End of story]

The script for our podcast was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

If you want to get more out of or take a better advantage of this podcast, you can go to our website at eslpod.com and download the Learning Guide for this episode.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
kiosk – a small building where food, drinks, and newspapers are sold, or where people can ask for directions or other information

* Every morning I buy a newspaper at the kiosk where I wait for the bus.

compound – a group of buildings that are surrounded by a wall

* This military compound has stores, a school, and gym, and hundreds of offices and homes.

to find (one’s) way around – to be able to find what one is looking for in an area

* Marilee has lived in New York City for ten years, but she still can’t find her way around some parts of the city without a map.

bend – curve; a gentle turn in a road to the right or left

* Our house is the first one on the right after the bend in the road.

a fork in the road – the point where one road becomes two or more roads

* When you come to the fork in the road, you can take a right to go to the university, or you can take a left to go to the town.

parking structure – a building with many floors for parking cars

* The local government wants to build a parking structure in the center of the city because there isn’t enough parking on the streets.

to miss (something) – to not see something; to not find something

* My sister will be at the party. You can’t miss her. She has red hair and is over six feet tall.

to split – to become two pieces; to divide into two

* This river splits into two smaller ones about one mile in that direction.

to veer – to change direction

* When she got to the edge of town, she veered north instead of east and got lost for an hour.

parking permit – a small piece of paper that is placed in a car’s front window and allows a car to park in a specific area

* Franz never drives to school because a university parking permit costs $100 a month, and it’s not too inconvenient to just take the bus.

visible – able to be seen

* What time is it? The clock isn’t visible from where I’m sitting.

dash – dashboard; the long piece of plastic behind a car’s front window, normally on top of the radio, heating controls, and the displays showing information about speed and the level of gas in the car

* Can you please take that map off the dash? It’s hard for me to drive with it there because I can’t see out the window.

lot – an area of land

* The parking lot next to the office was full, so I had to park five streets away.

level – a floor in a building, especially in a parking structure

* Do you remember where we parked the car? I thought it was on this level, but I don’t see it.

space – a small area where one car can park, usually marked with painted lines

* The president’s parking space is next to the front door. All of the other workers have to park further away.

reserved – saved for someone, so that no one else can use it

* At the restaurant, we wanted to sit at the table by the window, but they said that it was reserved for another group.

to raise – to make something move up

* If you know the answer to the teacher’s question, you can raise your hand.

the arm of a gate – the horizontal piece of wood or metal that goes across a road, so that cars cannot pass by until the guard moves it

* The arm of the gate is painted yellow and black, but Daniel didn’t see it because it was nighttime, and he accidentally drove into it.

one – used for emphasis to mean the important one or the only one

* Ezekiel is one big joker. He’s never serious and is always trying to make people laugh.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Edyta need to ask the guard for directions?
a) Because she forgot to bring a map.
b) Because she doesn’t know where Mark’s building is.
c) Because she is late for her meeting.

2. Why does the guard give Edyta a parking permit?
a) So that she can park in the parking structure.
b) So that she can park in her reserved space.
c) So that she can park in the parking lot.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
bend

The word “bend,” in this podcast, means a curve or a gentle turn in a road to the right or left: “Brock felt sick because there were so many bends in the mountain road.” There are also “bends” in rivers: “The best place to go fishing is in that river bend by the old farm.” As a verb, “to bend (something)” means to move something so that it isn’t straight: “Jasmine accidentally bent her glasses when she sat on them.” Or, “In our dance class, the teacher showed us how to bend our knees while keeping our backs straight.” The verb “to bend down” means to move at the waist so that one’s head is lower than normal: “The man bent down to kiss his girlfriend.”

dash

In this podcast, the word “dash” means a dashboard, or the long piece of plastic behind a car’s front window: “Many taxi drivers have a ‘no smoking’ sign on top of their dash.” When someone is cooking, a “dash” is a small amount of something that is added to something else: “I think this soup would be better if it had a dash of lemon juice.” A “dash” is also a short, fast race: “Darrell received first place in the 100-meter dash.” As a verb, “to dash” means to go somewhere very quickly: “After work, she dashed to the grocery store to buy milk and eggs before going home to cook dinner.” Or, “Could you dash over to their office to pick up the documents at lunch time?”

Culture Note
In the United States, as in many other countries, all cars and trucks must have “license plates.” A license plate is a rectangular piece of metal that usually has six or seven numbers and letters, so that each car can be identified by police and the government. One license plate is put on the front of the car, and one on the back of the car. In each state, license plates have a picture of something that represents the state. For example, in Oregon the license plates have pictures of tall, green trees.

States also sell “specialty” license plates. These specialty license plates are more expensive than normal license plates, because they are “fundraisers” (ways for an organization to get money). For example, many universities have specialty license plates that have the university’s “logo” (a small image or picture that represents an organization or business). The university’s “alumni” (people who have graduated from a university) buy these specialty license plates and the extra money is given to the university for its programs.

Other specialty license plates are used as fundraisers for environmental or social groups. An environmental group that protects fish might have a specialty license plate with a picture of a fish that lives in the state’s rivers. An organization that helps “orphans” (children whose parents have died) might have a specialty license plate with a picture of children playing.

Some people have “personalized” license plates, sometimes called “vanity” plates. When a person pays for personalized license plates, he or she can choose which numbers and letters are on the license plates. Sometimes people choose to use their names or a word that is important to them. Other people buy personalized license plates that say “MY CAR” or“FOR MOM,” and businesses sometimes purchase personalized license plates with the name of their company for their company-owned cars.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a