Anyone who has lived in the suburbs knows that one of the most frustrating exercises in futility out here can be finding parking. When you live in the city, parking is nonexistent and everyone knows it. But out here in the ‘burbs, it would seem that there should be more than enough parking for all the minivan drivers in the world.
But apparently not. And while many people have assured me that there are good times to park and bad times to park, for some reason, no matter what time of day I seem to venture out, it is always the worst time to get a spot. I have decided that I must have some kind of bad parking karma and probably need to make an unleaded offering to the parking gods to get my parking planets back into alignment. In the meantime, however, I needed a cup of coffee to at least get my planets moving in the right direction, so I headed out to the nearest Starbucks in a town known for its miserable parking,
It took five minutes to get there. Fifteen minutes to look for parking. On my fourth pass around, I finally spotted someone pulling out of a spot on the opposite side of the street. Elated, I turned on my left blinker, waited for the other person to pull out, and then watched in disbelief as a car sped forward on the other side and pulled into the spot.
A woman got out, glanced at me, and then pretended she never saw me and turned to leave.
I was livid.
“Excuse me,” I yelled out my window at her, “I was waiting for that spot!”
“I happen to know that you’re not allowed to turn from that side,” she yelled back at me indignantly, as though the questionable legality of my intended turn somehow justified her racing forward to steal the spot I was waiting for.
“Oh, are you the police,” I yelled back. Very mature, I know, but I was steamed.
“No, but I know some!” she screamed at me.
Well, let’s see, I know some doctors. That doesn’t make me qualified to operate on someone. I know a baseball player. Would that help me with my aim if I lobbed a curveball at her head? I also happen to know how to look up laws on the Internet. And when I went to the Motor Vehicle site later and looked up my alleged infraction, it said:
“The crossing of a double solid yellow line by vehicular traffic is prohibited EXCEPT when the crossing is part of a left turn movement.”
Hah! So, I was right! I didn’t get a parking spot but at least I was right. Being right is good, but getting a parking spot is better and the truth of the matter is, I’m sure my left turn would not have mattered one iota to this driver if not for the fact that she wanted the parking spot herself. Somehow I don’t think she would have rushed forward to comment on my driving if she happened to be standing on the sidewalk nearby instead of circling around looking for a parking spot herself.
Being the mature, individual we already established that I’m not, I took a mental picture of her, her car and her license plate so that if the day ever came when we would again square off over a parking spot and I could graciously choose to turn the other cheek… I would not.
Giving up on my coffee quest, I headed over to that other notorious parking nightmare: the mall. I circled a few times and then spied a car pulling out of a spot in the next lane. It was a darn good spot… so close you could actually see the mall without binoculars and wouldn’t even need a shuttle bus to take you from your car to the mall entrance. I quickly spun around the corner and arrived at the spot at the same time as another car coming from the other direction.
We idled on either side of the spot, staring each other down in an exhaust-filled suburban standoff. I had actually arrived at the spot a millionth of a millisecond before the other driver and was ready to take what was rightfully mine when I noticed that she was significantly older than I. About fifty years older. With a sigh of resignation, I waved her into the spot.
Even the parking gods know, age trumps immaturity.