Friday, July 20, 2012

Parallel Parking

"Holy shit. Holy shit."  I bolted out the door and ran down the driveway, unbelieving what my eyes were reporting.

You have to understand that my incompetence is permanently attached to me. Night and day, hot or cold, here, there and everywhere I am but a heartbeat away from self imposed disaster. And today that heartbeat almost exploded from my chest.

There are certain givens in the universe. Immutable truths that neither time nor circumstance effect. One of those is that a body in motion stays in motion while a body at rest stays where you put it.

There is a steep incline to my friend's driveway. It measures approximately 50 feet in length, and is two cars wide. The plan was to leave my car at my friend's house for the weekend, while he drove me and our spouses up to the Berkshires. Looking from the top of this hill, there was a small grove of trees at the bottom, just off to the right,  immediately before the intersecting street. A straight journey down would eventually lead to a house, with its cars, and swimming pool, directly across that street.

Among the many constant reminders I receive from my wife or children is never to park my manual transmission automobile in neutral. "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, I completely understand."  And no, no, no, this never really reached that part of my brain that translates words into meaning. There was, in my mind, unnecessary duplication when the emergency brake was fully engaged.

I walked into my friend's house to do a little work, and graze on a bagel with butter and lox before our journey began. Next to my car, at the top of this steep hill, was the Jeep that was to transport us to Great Barrington. Life looked very normal, plates on the table, sink in the kitchen, computer where it always was. Nothing gave me warning.

Then I looked out the window in the kitchen. For a brief second, I stared at the car resting at the funny angle by the curb and thought to myself that it looked amazingly like the one parked at the top of the driveway. " Holy shit, Holy shit."

It was almost inconceivable. The car had apparently drifted down the driveway, veered slightly to the right, crossed over part of the lawn, barely missed the trees and the telephone pole next to it, made a sharp right hand turn when it reached the road and almost perfectly parallel parked itself . Only one tire had jumped the small curb and was resting just a few inches on the grass. It had actually done a better job of parking than I would have if I was behind the wheel.

Over 25 years ago, these same friends had witnessed, and videotaped me showing my posterior to those in attendance. For that small sin, I have been told I could never hold public office. I have been held as a kind of hostage to this tape ever since. Do my friends wrong, and I would be exposed in multiple ways. Today they told me that this long ago incident no longer would be the basis for their blackmail. No, this stupidity was second to none.

I can only make fun of myself now because of the incredible good fortune that I did not find my vehicle in the neighbor's living room, or imbedded in one their cars, sinking in their swimming pool, or worse. I think the car took mercy on an idiot and decided it would have to take care of itself since I was clearly not capable of protecting it, or much of anything else in my world.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Didn't we already cover this subject? Didn't we all agree that even though you are a great athlete, in most other things you are "inept"? Did you somehow think parking a car was more like chipping a golf ball than buttering a bagel?