Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I had to parallel park my car last night. I hadn't parallel parked since 2001.* You can get by just fine in this metropolis without ever having to parallel park. You don't even have to do it to pass your driving test for a license. I chose to take that parking spot because it was right outside the garage that would have charged me $2 an hour to park. It was the only available, free-of-charge spot.

I had to rack by brain for a few moments before I attempted. Is it ease in front ways from the back, or is it back in from the front? Oh yeah, it must be back in from the front, which is why I avoid parallel parking like the plague. I really suck at backing in. Oh well, here goes nothing.

I pulled up next to the car in front of the empty spot, threw the car into reverse, and started backing in. Piece of cake, right? Oh GOD this is why I NEVER, EVER parallel park. Because I can never just ease right into the spot. I know I have room. I saw the space. I know how big my car is. I can do this. No I can't. Put it in park. Let me just get out and double check how much room I have in front and behind me. Okay, I'm definitely good. I'll scoot right in there, no problem. Wait. Didn't that car just drive past a moment ago? Did he turn around? Is he waiting for me to FAIL in my attempt to park the car? OMG! He is circling and waiting for me to give up so he can get my spot! OH NO HE IS NOT GOING TO GET THIS SPOT!

So yeah, it took me about 20 minutes of back and forth easing, getting out of the car more than once to visualize my position to finally get it, but I parallel parked my car last night. And I am sure that another 8 years will have to pass for me to do it again. But I'm almost certain I heard applause as I walked away from the car clicking it locked with the remote. What do you know? My circling vulture turned into a cheerleader.

This post was going to be meaningful, like about how parallel parking is some sort of metaphor for my life, or motherhood, or whatever it is I'm doing here. How it is this constant seemingly futile inching back and forth while gaining no ground with vultures circling, waiting for me to fail so they can say, "I told you so!" And in the end I somehow pull it off. Small little victories every day that someone, or no one, may notice, but that give me a tiny glimpse of insight into the fact that I might just be doing something okay. But take from it what you want. Maybe it is just a silly story about how I am afraid to attempt things that are difficult for me, like parallel parking, so I wait 8 years to try again and miss out on all that satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a small, simple task that should be easy but somehow isn't. Hmmm...

*My 2001 story is pretty similar, except I had a friend in the car with me "coaching" me through it. I ended up with a bruise on my arm from when she suddenly remembered the proper car positioning for a successful parallel park and punched me. And there was no applause that time, just angry, screeching tires. But how I remember it was 2001 is because the Diamondbacks had just won the world series and we headed to the ballpark after work to buy official MLB merchandise. You do kinda have to know how to parallel park to get anywhere in downtown Phoenix where the ballpark is. Which is why I avoid the area unless my husband is driving. And why it has been eight years. Just one more reason to hail the advent of the light rail route through the city!


Wayne said...

Even better than when it was told to me live that night!

Carolyn...Online said...

This is why I drive an SUV. I just run up on the curb and then wiggle the car until it's sort of in the spot. I guess I parent that way too.