Far be it from me to use this blog as a platform to vent my personal frustrations or complaints, but I just wanna say this: I’m tired of New York. Really tired. Don’t get me wrong, there’s so much to love about this city. The diversity, the culture, the history, the food. I mean seriously, where else can you find fresh Trinidadian roti, Korean kim-chee, Greek souvlaki, and Lebanese falafel all on the same block? And let’s face it, New York has the best bagels, and pizza, hands down, anywhere in the world. But the last few years have been hard. It feels like everything is a fight. I don’t mean literally — though, you wouldn’t have to look far if that’s what you wanted. Maybe I’m just getting old, I don’t know. But things like delays on the subway feel longer. Schlepping groceries up a three-story walk-up lost its charm a long time ago. Some nights I wonder what it would be like to fall asleep to the sound of crickets, instead of sirens whirling by. And don’t even get me started on the insane liberal politics that dominate this city. Oof. Yet, the fact remains: I’m a city girl. Always have been; probably always will be.
Currently the good Providence of God has us spread across three different boros: We live in Brooklyn, go to church in Queens, and work in Manhattan. These crazy logistics have catapulted me waaaay out of my comfort zone. Mass transit, as convenient as it is, just won’t cut it. We need a car. Now, even though I largely get around by the subway, I do know how to drive. My father, who died when I was 19, made sure of that. He took it upon himself to teach his little girl on a stick-shift because he never wanted me to be stuck somewhere for lack of ability to drive a vehicle. He taught me well in his home state of Connecticut. But Connecticut and NYC driving are two different animals. And parking between two orange cones to pass your driver’s license test is a lot easier than inching your way in and out of a tiny space on a busy street.
It’s been a steep learning curve for me. The good news is that I’ve made huge progress. I can now drive to Queens alone almost without any difficulty. Never mind the fact that I went the opposite way on the return last time I drove solo. That was an aberration. As far as the parallel parking, my husband gave me a few teach-in’s, lots of encouragement, and then a healthy dose of tough love that I didn’t appreciate at the time but have since come to thank him for. Our last interaction via text looks like this:
Chris: I’m here. Can you come down and park the car?
Steve: Did you look?
Chris: Not really.
Chris: There’s traffic on 3rd.
Steve: Look. You’ll be fine.
Well, guess what? I am fine. In fact, I am more than fine. I almost have this down pat. So much so that I’ve put together ten easy steps to help you parallel park like a genius, too! Here we go:
- Pull up to the front of the car ahead of the space you want. If the cars are not the same size, try to align your bumper with the back of their bumper.
- With your foot on the break, turn the wheel ALL THE WAY towards whichever side your spot is on.
- Look behind the back of your car and start backing up slowly. But don’t turn the wheel yet.
- Keep backing up until the right-front corner of the car behind you is smack in the middle of your rear windshield.
- Stop. With your foot on the break, turn the wheel back to the MIDDLE POSITION.
- Ignore all the people you think are looking at you and judging you. Even if they are, who cares?
- Back-up very slowly. Stop. With your foot on the break, turn the wheel ALL THE WAY again.
- Keep ignoring all the people you think are looking at you and judging you.
- Now slowly back into your space with the wheel in the ALL THE WAY position.
- Stop. Turn the wheel forward.
And there it is friends! How to parallel park like a genius in ten easy steps! Everyone likes to joke about women drivers. Well, we’ll see how long that lasts once they see you master this!