The other day, after dropping off my kids at school, I stopped at the local CVS. It’s become something of a habit of late, now that I don’t have to scurry off with the rest of the drones into Manhattan. I buy something necessary but unnecessary (toilet paper I could have easily waited to buy until my weekend shopping trip, for instance). And I sit in the car reading news or gossip on my phone for a long time before or after (or both). Probably so I can be around humans before going back to my cave.
It was during one such lazy morning that my car door got bumped by the car next to me. The parking in the main street of my town is angled, a fact I hated at first but grew to appreciate since I’m just so darn good at parking at an angle. When I felt the offending car door plow into mine, I swiveled my head around, Exorcist-girl style, ready to eviscerate the lug who’d just so thoughtlessly marred my darling.
It was my daughter’s favorite soccer coach. He gave me a tight-lipped, “I-couldn’t-help-it” nod.
After I recovered awkwardly with a weak smile and wave and after I cursed small-(ish) town living, I began to wonder why he might have done that. He didn’t strike me as an inconsiderate jerk type of guy. Why not watch where he swings his door?
I waited for him to drive away and got out to see if there was damage to my door. (There wasn’t, at least none I could discern). And that’s when I realized: my parking sucked. I’d pulled in like a drunken frat boy in his Daddy’s car, parked at an entirely different angle than the angle required by the angled parking, way too far to his side. I’d given him basically no room to open his door.
I was the inconsiderate jerk.
After that, I observed my parking on visit after visit. I pulled in smoothly, self-congratulatory at how I’d pulled off another perfectly-executed parking move. Time after time, when I got out I discovered that what felt like great parking to me looked like the aftermath of an escape from a bank robbery. How had I not noticed all these years?
It made me wonder: how many other times had I inadvertently been the douche? How many fists had I raised in traffic, oblivious to the fact that I’d been the one doing the cutting off? How many parking spots had I stolen or hogged or parked in at the wrong angle?
In parking, as in life, I will endeavor to judge less and understand more now that I realize I stink at angled parking.