Forward, adjust, reverse, forward, adjust, reverse. That's what I did until I was in fits of laughter yesterday as I tried to parallel park. There was a woman behind me watching from her car, not bothering to conceal the huge smile across her face.
She lowered her window as I finally walked to the parking meter, still laughing. "You need one of those cars that automatically parks," she said, laughing with me, at me.
It doesn't usually happen like that, I told her, doubled over. Usually I can park on the first try or maybe second. Really, it's true.
Then I remembered the time I couldn't manage to park properly and someone was trying to direct me. The more he directed me, the more nervous I got. Finally, I got out of my car and asked the man to do it for me. He did. He, an immigrant to the U.S. who didn't speak English. Me, too easily flustered at the time.
I wanted to tell the woman that story, but her window was up again. I didn't knock on it like I wanted to.
I wanted to tell her that my former husband's last name is Parker. I never took his name, never even considered it. So whenever I executed a smooth parking maneuver he would say, "Who says you're not a Parker?"
That day, the day I let that guy park my car, that's how I like to live these days. Hands off the wheel, I say. Let other people steer for a while. I'll just put some quarters in the meter.