Thursday, July 26, 2007

Parallel Parking

Oldest Son will be taking his driving test for his license next week and his final lesson was parallel parking. This evening he learned from a master parallel parker, namely, me.

I learned this skill early.

Very early.

I was 5.

My father is a master parallel parker and I must have learned from watching him. He could park a '63 Bonneville, which because of the curvature of the earth you couldn't actually see the other end of, in a spot barely larger than the actual car.

I clearly remember parallel parking my Murray Fire Chief in our basement in Drexel Hill. I pulled along side the furnace, crooked my neck over my right shoulder and took the U shaped steering wheel in my hands and turned it fully to the right, while I started pedaling the awkward pedals backwards. In one fluid motion cut the wheel slowly to the left until I came to a perfect stop inches from the furnace and parallel to it.

A perfect park.

I am not making this up.

My mother was nearby washing clothes and told me to do it again. She was an new driver at the time. She grew up in the city and in those days driving was not a skill that girls learned. In the suburbs you had to drive and she hadn't quite mastered the art of putting a 20 foot car in a 21 foot space. This made visiting her mother in South Philly difficult.

That day, I actually taught my mother how to parallel park.

It's a gift. I can't help it.

We went tonight to practice at a local high school. First I explained that you want a nice fluid motion like an 'S'.

Then I showed him. He was outside the car and he watched me practice.

I was the Tiger Woods of parallel parking. In one motion I put the little Civic inches from the curb and perfectly parallel. No back ups.

He was astonished. He really was. He actually said that was amazing.

Watching him the first couple of times was painful. Too steep on the approach, he would hit the curb or he was 2 feet from the curb and crooked when complete.

As he practiced it, he got better. By the end of an hour he had it down. So next week he finds out if he has mastered this skill and can display it for the DMV of New Jersey during his test.

The ability to parallel park remains as one of my few super powers but I rarely get to show it off here in the suburbs. My other super power is the ability to return to a TV show the very second the commercials have ended after spending the break channel surfing.

I get more opportunities with that one.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Tell oldest son - This is trick.