“Make your wheels about even with the parked car.” Check. “Turn on your signal.” Check. “Back up slowly and cut the rear wheels sharply toward the curb.” Check. I could feel a lump rising in my throat even though my father has been gone a long time. My fingers tightened on the wheel.
A second glance in my rear-view mirror gave a little ease to the tension I felt. At least no car was waiting behind me, hindered by my awkward slowness. At just the right moment, I heard the voice again. “When your front wheels are even with the parked car’s rear wheels, start cutting the other direction.” Check.
I was just beginning to loosen my death grip on the steering wheel when I felt the dreaded bump. No, I didn’t hit the parked car — my rear wheels hit the curb. Gentle tapping on the accelerator confirmed my predicament. I was hung, with no possibility of redemption.
After a heavy sigh, I put the car back in drive, pulled forward, made what I thought were the proper adjustments ... and I ended up right back where I was the first time. Even professional bookies wouldn’t offer good odds that I could hit the curb with such amazing precision in exactly the same place. The lump in my throat was becoming a grapefruit.
Then, adding humiliation to failure, I glanced in my rear-view mirror again before pulling forward. There, to my great chagrin, was the most polite driver in Wilmore history. Patiently waiting, he had to have witnessed my utter breakdown in parking finesse. There was more than enough room for him to pull around me and continue on his way. But no, he would wait. Cold as it was, sweat began to form on my brow.
Oh, I have plenty of excuses. It was pouring sheets of rain, and the wind was whipping it across my window in sheets. Visibility was poor, distractions were many ... and now I needed to hurry.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I rocked back and forth at least four times. Even though I knew my car was not nearly straight, and more than the requisite 12 inches away from the curb, I shut it off and opened my door.
Finally the polite driver moved on, and I ran, soaked, into the toasty warmth of Sim’s. Tastebuds had never smelled better. I only hoped my friends there had not witnessed the debacle in the street.
Does anyone know where I can borrow some orange cones?