When living in San Francisco, one’s life is consumed by the task of parking one’s car. My late grandfather, a life long San Franciscan, would drive into Marin across the Golden Gate Bridge, stare at all the opposing traffic coming into the city and wonder, “Where are they all going to park?”
I now understand his concern. Parking has become a daily chore, worse than taking out the garbage, worse than stepping over hobos, worse than putting up with Big Chris changing the channel to SportsCenter. I will plan evenings around parking places, bargain for rides so as not to lose a choice spot and even pay for a cab rather than endure the headache that comes with no garage.
Sometimes, I’ll see a spot a couple of blocks away and grab it, only to walk up to my flat to find a beautifully empty space right in front. On several occasions, I’ve run back to get my car, only to find the spot gone. When I return to the previous space blocks away, it too is now taken up by a primer covered piece of shit, the maniacal thief still struggling to remove themselves from their monstrosity.
Other times, I’ll circle my neighborhood for hours, frightening walkers by slowly following them, hoping they’ll hop in a car and speed away. On those nights, I end up parking miles away, risking life and limb to make it to my door in one piece.
My father contends, and I agree, the greatest crime one can commit in the city is to take up two parking places with one car. I’ve been known to leave an informational note, alerting said jackass to the fact that their Geo is taking up a place big enough to hold two Suburbans.
I could draw you a map of every parking place in my neighborhood where Rhonda the Honda can fit, detailing the street cleaning days and persnickety garage owners who flip if your bumper peeks an inch into their driveway. Last night, after circling for 20 minutes, I discovered a perfect, Rhonda-sized space. At 11pm, a cell phone in one hand and an Evian in the other, I had her in the space in two moves. The space was so tiny, I left the keys in the ignition as I checked my bumpers. Rhonda could not have been more perfectly parked. No additional maneuvers were required. I stood back, admired my work, threw my hands in the air and looked around to see if there was anyone to admire my handiwork. And old Mexican man looked up from working in his garage and said, “That’s some fine ass parking, girl.”
Well said, my good man. Well said…