Driving downtown this morning I pulled onto Cherry street to see the holy grail of parking situations…not just the spot directly in front of my destination, but the two adjacent spots as well…allowing for the graceful pull in. The joy!

Exactly as I was basking in the glow the car in front of me pulls into the triple spot and I reset my expectations. Ok, ok, the parking won’t be a gentle glide, but still, no parallel parking monologue:” look there is a biker, oh crap the dumpster, was that the curb, I suck at this.”  So joy toned down to a contented neutral and then the bastard who had completely pulled into my dream spot slowly slowly backs himself up to take the middle spot of the three.

I can’t fathom this. He was already parked. I had my blinker on, but even still, why break up the double spot for the rest of us. His door is open so pulling past him to parallel park in my original target is not an option, nor for the moment is the spot behind him. But the spot two behind me is, so I begin to turn the wheel and really “there IS a biker” good thing I looked twice, and I back in and see someone sitting on the curb. Since my two options are 1. Car width away from the curb and 2. half the car on the curb , this individual’s choice of seat is certainly annoying and potentially manslaughter inducing. We make eye contact. He waves me on encouragingly. Excellent. An audience. Does he not see the three dents on the car? Does he not see that it is shiny and new and I have managed to injure the vehicle three times in three months? (One indeterminate, one soccer coach mirror debacle, and yesterday pulling out of the accountant’s in tears and backing right into his rock pile, talk about adding injury to insult.)

Clearly not. We are a frozen tableau. Except he is not frozen, he is my cheerleader. Perfect Perfect he is telling me. He is beaming. This is like magic, the parking of the van. The happiness. What is he on?

And in fact it was, a perfect parking job. I get out of the car. He says to me. “Do you need any change?”

I am feeling a bit confused. His curb sitting, sooty finger waving, outerwear layered self is OFFERING me change? Um…no.

OK he says and shrugs.

So I feed my meter.

I had pulled a few dollars from my wallet in appreciation of his appreciation and now I don’t know if they will be a gift or an insult. Usually I give out cards to the sandwich shop, but I used my last one myself the other day, loathe to use a credit card on a small charge. In fact, I realize that these few dollars are change from that very card, so since they seem like his destiny I say to him.

“Excuse me, but are you asking for money?”

He looks up from the curb. “No ma’am, I have quarters but I don’t have any dollars at all.”

This seems like an ambiguous answer so I stretch out my hand and he takes the dollars and I have had the best part of my day.

Returning to the van I consider its perfect parallel park and look for my cheerleader, but the next shift has come in and this guy is hacking up a lung and spitting it close to my shoe and when I look at him he snarls at me.

I’m glad I gave the other guy all my ones.

 

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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