Archive for March 20th, 2008

Running late again this morning. (I know, that is nothing new.) I drove toward the train station, to save those extra five minutes I would have spent walking that half to three-quarter mile.

I’m not a great parallel parker, I admit it. At one point, I’d honed this skill pretty well, and could ease my way into spots with only an inch or two between the car in front of and behind me. However, lack of use let the skill fall back into the sad state it was originally, when we were practicing in Driver’s Education with a suburban and two big garbage cans.

Today was not a good day for parking. Not that the “parking space gods” weren’t on my side. I turned down the one-way street I park on (just a few blocks from the station, and the last street with public parking), and there was a beautiful big spot, just a few cars from the intersection. I began backing in, cars quickly forming a line behind me (which only adds to the pressure of getting it right). I didn’t get it right. Soon I was up against the relatively high curb, but I was out of the way sufficiently to let the two cars that were waiting pass by. I proceeded in my endeavor, and a minor adjustment later I’d managed to wedge myself completely between the curb and the car in front of me. Tried to pull forward, but only succeeded in bumping the car ahead of me. Now there are several cars waiting, and I’m blocking their path so they can’t get around me. Still, I was incredibly fortunate to have the politest commuters in Chicagoland waiting on me, as not a single one began honking angrily – they just looked at me, rather frustrated with the inept woman behind the wheel (me).

Now I’m stuck. My only option is to force the car back over the high curb (hope my father isn’t reading this) so I can back up sufficiently to get out of the jam I’d put myself in.

With great trepidation, I exited my car to examine the car in front of me. Sure enough, a nice white streak on his back bumper that matched the paint on my car quite perfectly. Thus, comes the dilemma. Obviously, I should leave a note on his car. The fear is, in this great society, what are the chances the owner of the car will claim every dink, ding, and scratch was caused by me (where it definitely was not)? If I’d had a camera with me, I’d snapped some photos (in case some other poor driver came along and smashed his car to bits while I was at work), but of course I didn’t have a camera with me, and I don’t have a camera phone. Still, choosing the option that would allow me to best live with myself – I wrote the note, apologizing for tapping his bumper and leaving a white streak of paint. I hoped it would just wash off, but left my phone number in case.

Well, on arriving home tonight I saw I had a voicemail – and the minute the caller announced he was the owner of the car I’d tapped, I felt the dread engulf me. I hoped this wouldn’t be some huge ordeal involving insurance companies and body repair estimates. No, it was a kind gentleman expressing thanks over me leaving a note, but commenting that it wasn’t the first mark on his car, and it was a “hazard of living in the city”.

Just another little thing to reaffirm some faith in humanity.

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