Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Incident

You may think this picture tells no story. You would be incorrect.

I pick up Eli 13.9 from school at 2:40 on Mondays. I'll generally pull to the curb about 2:20 (early enough to get a spot in the shade), then relax for a few minutes until he comes out of school.

About 2:30 on Monday, the car you see in the picture pulled in ahead of me. At that moment, I was actually about ten feet further forward than shown in the picture.

The driver of this car spent at least a minute jerking forward and back, often in bafflingly small increments, at no point closer than six feet from the curb.

My alarm level raised slightly.

Then, much to my horror, I realized what was happening: this was an attempt to parallel park. 

Holy mother of god.

What followed were at least eight separate attempts to turn into the sizable space. At one point, the car was entirely perpendicular to the curb. I deeply regret that I did not photograph that moment.

At no point did this appear to be a successful parallel parking process. Given the basketball-sized dent in the right bumper, this car may well have never been parallel parked successfully.

Parallel parking is very much a mathematical exercise. If you know the math, it's very, very easy. I always forget the math, so I actually have a printed paper in my wallet to remind me, and it works perfectly every single time.

However, the driver of the car had another plan. He started backing up, at an angle, infinitely slowly, until the car tapped my front bumper.

Did he acknowledge the collision in any way? Absolutely not. The car just slowly moved forward and began angling back toward me again.

At this point, I decided that moving my car back ten feet was in everyone's best interest. So I did.

It took another four attempts, but incredibly, with close to thirty full feet available, the car wound up in a decent parking position.

Then the driver of the car opened the door. He stood up. He coughed and dust came out of his mouth. Okay, I made that up, but he was really, really old. Maybe even ninety.

He then proceeded, with very tiny steps, down the sidewalk toward the middle school. It was quite charming, really.

When Eli came, he hopped into the car and we drove off.

At first, I regretted not seeing the old man return, not seeing the end of the story. With time, though (five minutes, tops), I realized that I could write any ending I wanted, and so could you. Maybe it's better that way.

Possibly very useful: The Right Way to Parallel Park, Step-by-Step.

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