Note: This article was originally published in Gulf News on February 22, 2010. However, I am reproducing it here because of a YouTube video that stunned me into oblivion. Parallel parking beyond the ordinary! Scroll below for the video, but please read the article as well!
I think parallel parking is God’s own special way of testing women. Well, if not all of the female species, then just me, most certainly. The wonderful skill of parking a vehicle between two other hunks of metal is something that I have never quite mastered, even though I had somehow managed to clear my parking test to obtain a drivers’ licence.
I turn the steering-wheel feverishly, willing, (nay begging) the car to slide in the parallel parking space. She doesn’t obey and bulges out of the side of the road looking unsightly in a neat row of perfectly parked cars. Indeed, if this parking were a seat, one would say it had plenty of leg-room.
I reverse and go forward and turn the steering-wheel left and right, but somehow I just can’t nail it. I feel the sheen of perspiration on my forehead and I crank up the A/C, hoping no passers-by are observing this unique spectacle.
Just then, I notice a man on the side-walk from the corner of my eye, who is quietly observing everything. I have had enough and I wonder if I should pull out and leave. Just then the man points at something and I pull down the window.
I notice a small elevated ramp right in front of my car and while the parking space is a legitimate one, it is partially blocked by a drive-way, making this apparently roomy parking a little difficult for even those drivers who could parallel park half-asleep.
“I honestly love drive-ways,” I nearly sing to myself. Of course, I hadn’t known there was a small ramp constructed on the side of this road. I would have probably driven my car right across it. “Yeah, quite a hurdle, I can barely park,” I say of the offending ramp as though I had known it was there all along, and as though it were the chief of my parking woes.
The man nods sympathetically and relief washes over me. He then proceeds to remove a cone that is located a little further off which creates ample space and enables me to go forward and reverse and finally, parallel-park. I thank the man and make myself scarce.
Running out of options
Desperate times call for desperate measures and I ask the husband to teach me how to parallel-park. This request results in some typical male sarcasm that questions my ability to drive a car at all. He finally agrees and off we go for my first lesson.
I attempt to park my small hatch-back car (unsuccessfully) in a parking spot on the side of a road. He gives directions on which way to turn but I notice a long black SUV behind us. The driver thinks we are leaving and just so he would not be further troubled by want of a parking space, (not to mention, not witness my lesson numero uno) I slide out gracefully. I cringe as I see the huge SUV glide flawlessly into the parking space.
Two lessons on and it’s all coming back to me. It is simple once you get the technique right and I find myself ready to take on parallel parking all by myself.
I am on the same road where my initial episode with the drive-way had occurred. However, this particular parking space is not half-blocked by a ramp and is nestled between two long sedans. I follow the directions that echo in my mind and voila! I am safely parked.
I look around, willing the passers-by to applaud this spectacle. Alas, no one even notices. I contemplate upon doing a sort of a chicken-dance around the car but dignity disallows that form of celebration. So I merely look into the rear-view mirror and flash myself a mega-watt smile and say, “I did it!”