Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I'll Never be a Limo Driver in England

Harvey had a post today on bad drivers and he professes to being somewhat driving impaired. Actually the quote was, "I drive like crap." I will tell you, I am not a bad driver. I learned from The Great Omnipotent One, a Naval Aviator, and while I am not as aggressive as he (not possible really), I took his lessons to heart and am a defensive driver, paying attention to my gauges, my mirrors, my surroundings. Yes, I have made errors in judgment, but for the most part, I am a safe driver, paying attention to speed, weather conditions and what not.

But I have a confession to make. I cannot parallel park. I.can.not. It is somewhat of a family joke. I’m not great at parking in general. A pull in spot, I’m slightly too close to one of the lines. I can be at a cock-eyed angle. It is what it is and I find it just as annoying. I won’t leave my car in a poorly parked position, however, I will actually correct it. I have been known to jump out, keys in hand, be halfway down the lot, look at my car and be horrified at the job I’ve done at parking, walk BACK to my car and fix it.

About 5 years ago, I was at home visiting my folks. I was driving TGOO and I to the grocery story. We pulled in, TGOO opened the door, looked out, then looked back at me and said, “GD, D., how long have you been driving and you still can’t park worth a damn.” It was so damn funny it stuck in my brain.

But parallel parking… it is the bane of my existence. If there is one thing keeping me from traveling to Europe, besides money, it is the parallel parking.

Yes, I know all the tricks. I know you’re supposed to cut it here, straighten there, cut it there. I know it. But I forget and I am evidently not good under parking stress as I can tell you exactly what I have to do whilst driving, but once I have the car in position to start, I freeze and cannot do it. Call it a strange case of performance anxiety.

During my driver’s test when I was 16, I took it in my folk’s big ass 1970 LeMans Pontiac. (I loved that car… it was fast as hell.) I somehow got the car parked for the parallel section, but I was in and out, in and out, in and out, inching it in there, hitting the curb over and over, that when I finally got it in, the tester said something like, “I don’t even have to look. I know you’re close enough to the curb.”

One year while in she was in college, my sister came to visit me. I decided to take her down to Palm Beach to look around. It’s a fun place to stroll on a leisurely afternoon. I can’t afford to buy even one shoe there, but it’s fun. All over Palm Beach is parallel parking. I’m driving down Worth Avenue and I’m freaking. Finally my sister says, “Look! Just park RIGHT HERE!” I stopped the car, looked at the two cars that I would be parking between and said, “NO! I AM NOT PARKING between TWO Rolls Royces!” And I drove around the block numerous times until I found a pull in spot off some obscure street.

It is what it is. I had to parallel park this weekend. I nearly stroked out from the stress. OK, I exaggerate, but not much. My husband had to talk me through it as he was in the passenger side. I think he was stunned it was so difficult for me.

It just isn’t going to happen. If I make it to Europe, I better have the big damn bucks for a limo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bunch of us at an open-air watering hole used to get a kick out of watching senior citizens try to parallel park on the street out front. Someone even made up numbered signs we'd hold up, like Olympic judges. They got extra points for bumping the cars ahead and behind them in the parking spot, or for being more than 3 feet from the curb.

Bou: Go find an empty parking lot some weekend and practice until you're comfortable with it. It isn't rocket science and it definitely isn't worth getting all stressed out over. Good luck. -- George

8:14 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

If you go to England take the trains. Drivers around London are insane! When we left to go back to the airport our "cab" was a Mercedes Benz. The driver pulled up so tightly against the cab in front of him that the car rooled forward & bumped the other one. Oooh, angry. Both of them. A policeman actually had to show up!

But, as I am thinking of it, I had to parallel park in Ireland. From the wrong side of the car. And they park so haphazardly there. Either side of the road, no matter which way you are heading. You may want to hire a driver...

8:22 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

I love parallel parking, sad thing is I don't get to do it very often.

I also won't mention how I at one time drove a Expedition and could parallel park that thing on the first try every time.

And then use to laugh my ass off when a person in an Escort sized car couldn't do it at all.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

If you want to shop in London, just leave your car in the traffic. It won't have moved an inch by the time you come out of the store.

2:42 PM  
Blogger VW said...

Bou, I lived in Germany for 6 months and travelled. Use the trains, buses, and subway. I used a car once or twice but the other options are great.

8:38 PM  

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