Today during my lunch break I drove over to see Silas, as I do for every lunch break now that I'm back to work. He's being taken care of by Smiley's grandmother, who lives just minutes away from where I work. It is one of the things that allows me to go back to work without having a breakdown.
When I got to her apartment complex, I noticed something. Mainly, every single parking spot was taken. This is not a typical problem. Every day up until now, the parking lot had been more than half empty (and I'm not just being a pessimist)!
For whatever reason, it was full. Overflowing. There were three other cars circling the lot, waiting for a spot. Two of them seemed to be following the same woman to her car. Both were disappointed when the lady kept walking, straight out of the parking lot.
I knew my best bet was to follow her lead, and look for alternative parking. After all, every minute I idled my car was another minute I wasted gas - and missed out on seeing my son, of course! So I turned around in the parking lot and hit the streets, looking for a place to park.
Time was, you used to pass your driver's license test by parallel parking. Not in my time. I can count the number of times I've actually parallel parked in my life. Pulling up to a curb with plenty of space does not count.
I found an open spot on the street along the building. There was a brief moment of hesitation - if I went over one more street, I could most likely pull up to the curb and not have to maneuver my car into a parallel park.
But that would be another street over and even further away from Silas. I guess it's true, that our kids can help bring out the best in us. I steeled my grip on the rust bucket I like to call the Sebring, and pulled into the spot. Even this hardly counted though; I was only pulling in and adjusting behind a car. The space behind me was still empty. I threw the car into park and ran to visit with Silas for a half hour.
Upon my return to the great outdoors, my worst nightmare had occurred - someone had pulled into the spot behind me. I was officially about to un-parallel park.
I don't know if they teach a better way to do this, but did I mention I was in the Sebring? This car has a turning radius of a large van or small bus. I walked around to the back of the car to visually assess the space. My heart was pounding as visions of crumpled bumpers danced into my likely future. I got inside the car and turned it on, closing my eyes in the closest thing to a prayer. Oh so slowly, I angled my wheels and backed up.
As the tense moments went by, I noticed a pattern - I wasn't hitting the curb or the other car! I was doing it! I was getting out of the spot! I backed up a few more inches, although the rearview mirror made me feel as though I was lurching back yards at a time. And then I cut my wheel all the way over and slowly started pulling forward.
Can I just say that the Sebring's idea of a turning radius is nonexistent? I nearly hit the car in front of me, but the important part is that I didn't. And with that, I was out of the spot, freed from one of my best instances of parallel parking ever. I really wish I had taken a picture to prove just how legit this parking job was today.
Maybe next time.