CAN YOU PARALLEL PARK? I know people who will just drive around and around looking for an easier spot than to actually parallel. I don't like doing it. It makes me nervous -- although as previously discussed, almost everything makes me nervous.
When I was in high school, I used to drive my Grandfather's jeep Cherokee. I also had a job downtown working at a photography studio. I could pop that big old car into any spot -- because it was necessary. I was uber proud of my parking skills.
Parallel parking was essential for survival back in those days. If you were late to the high school -- you'd have to park on the street. There wasn't time to circle the block for an easy spot. They weren't playing about those tardies, so I just learned to survive.
But then, for years afterward, I never really had to parallel park. These days, it is pretty much hit or miss. We've got a spot in front of our apartment, and some times, my little car is tucked in between our neighbor's cars like a PRO parked it. Other times, you can hike from curb to the car.
My kids LOVE to tease me, on my off days. I think they know it bugs me. I always protest and explain that "I can SO parallel park". Pointing out that they don't drive yet, doesn't help win my side, either. They've decided I'm a bad parker. Whatever.
I can also drive a stick-shift, which is a bit of a lost art. My Dad MADE ME LEARN it. I suppose it was a good thing because when the apocalypse comes and all those fancy computerized cars don't work, I'll have to escape the zombies in a '74 Chevy or something like that. You know those cars aren't automatics. When I first learned to drive the stick, I was pretty terrible. I would kill it at EVERY light on the way to school.
One morning, I was sitting at a light, and feeling that panic as the light turned green. I tried to put into first and go, but didn't make it. And the light turned red again. I began to sweat, as I waited for the light to turn green again. I was prepared. I had my foot easing off the clutch before the light even changed, but I killed it two more times, and the light was red again. It was after the 3rd time this happened, that the guy in the car behind me GOT OUT OF HIS CAR and walked up to my window. I could tell he was mad, and I was already near tears, but he looked in the window at me and seeing a stressed-out teenage girl, his face changed. He was about my Dad's age.
"What's the problem?" He asked me.
"I can't get into first!" I said starting to cry. He sighed. It was a very DAD sigh. "Look, you can do this. Just ease of the clutch and give it some gas. You've got this. You can do it." And he walked back to his car.
The light changed AGAIN, and I finally got it into first. The car lurched a few times, and I was though the light. He zipped past me waving a triumphant hand in the air. I always wanted to thank him. He could've screamed at me. He could've cursed me out. He was a really patient stranger, and he encouraged me that I could keep going, so I did.
That's a pretty good metaphor for just about everything, don't you think? Sometimes I need to be reminded that our words have weight; they land on everyone around us. It's important that we use them well, and always for good.
Sleep in peace, peeps.