Anyone who has met me and who has had the unfortunate experience of riding in my car knows two things: my car, Priscilla, is a piece of shit and I am not a very good driver. Seriously. I drive fast, I don’t pay attention, I make illegal maneuvers constantly, I never remember to renew my registration and I park wherever the hell I feel like parking. I mean, not out in the middle of the road or anything, but I’ll park in permit parking areas without a permit, park in metered spaces without feeding the meter and park in loading zones while doing absolutely no loading. I know. I like to live on the edge.A lot of where I park is decided almost entirely on whether or not it is pull in parking or parallel parking.
Parallel parking is my kryptonite. There have been about 4 times in my life where I have parallel parked well, and I’ve taken pictures on two of the occasions (photos that were on my old camera, so I don’t even have proof anymore). Even with ample room on both sides, I almost always mange to end up at an unnatural angle or about 10″ away from the curb. For some reason, my mind just cannot process the special relations required to zig zag my way into a spot.
One of the main reasons I love Chicago so much is that I can take public transportation almost anywhere, completely avoiding the parallel parking issue.
The other issue that makes parallel parking increasingly more difficult these days is Miss Priss herself. One of goals this year is to have a new(ish) car by the end of the year, so she has reached the point that I have stopped fixing things that are not a serious threat to others’ safety. OK. I stopped doing that around, well, since I got the car. The most recent thing to go out on my car is the power steering. Or I’m out of power steering fluid. Either way, I have no more power steering, which means that even regular parking is a bitch.
I am willing to bet that watching me try and parallel park my car from about 10 feet away is a very humorous sight. Here’s what I imagine it looks like:
My very dirty and nasty Priss makes the initial slide into the spot smoothly. Now for the complete turn of the wheels so I can pull forward. My right hand reaches aaaaaall the way over to the furthest left “corner” of my wheel as my body prepares, shifting all my weight to the left. Now my hand leads my entire body as I throw the entire weight of my body to the right. About halfway through, I let out a loud grunt. I do this about 5-6 times. Now I’m ready to pull forward three inches. OK, now it’s time for me to completely turn the wheel the other way. Repeat steps above only in the opposite direction and by this point I’m usually sweating and swearing. I will repeat this process only two more times, at which point, if my car is not in the spot straight, I will either pull up on to the curb or just leave my car sticking out 10″ from the curb. Occasionally, I will give up entirely and leave the spot for a place five blocks away that I can pull into.
I suppose I could take my car in to a repair place and have them see if the power steering fluid is gone and if it is, have them put some in my car, but, well, things like that tend to slip my mind until I am sitting in my crooked ass car, sweating, panting and holding my shoulder that I just heard pop.