I grew up in New Jersey. Driving was sorta necessary. So, like other NJ teens, I drove every where. Another thing you sorta have to learn to do in NJ is parallel park. Now, you could get away with never having to parallel park your car in certain parts of the state because there were strip malls with parking lots every where. But if you were in a more urban park of the state – Hoboken or Jersey City, for example – you HAVE to parallel park. It’s imperative. Can’t live without it. So even though I grew up in a place where parallel parking was mostly an unnecessary skill to have, when I lived in Hoboken and then in Manhattan, it was a life or death necessity.
After all those years in Hoboken and NYC, I became a really good parker. I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but I was amazing. I could park any thing any where. Because I was always moving apartments, I even got good at parking U-Haul trucks. With ease. With no help from someone on the street. I was so good at parking that I have had to parallel park other people’s cars for them.
All this is to say, I was a great parallel parker.
Then I moved to Nebraska.
There is no reason to parallel park AT ALL in the state of Nebraska. Seriously, never. I think I parallel parked once the entire four months I was there. Now, this shouldn’t make that much of a difference for someone with the supreme parking skills that I have. But I swear, I’m broken. I can’t park for shit.
I’ve been keeping my car on the street so that, despite the dark days here in Dupont, I wouldn’t have any excuse NOT to go somewhere. This means I have to parallel park the car a lot. Now, just as a point of reference, parking in Dupont Circle is child’s play. You can almost always find a spot and spots tend to be pretty roomy. This is markedly different from parking in, say, Hoboken. Hoboken is like the wild, wild west of parallel parking. Finding parking in Hoboken requires strategy, patience, and skill. And once you found a spot – especially a good spot, say, right in front of your apartment – you may not move the car for a week.
But I digress.
Since returning from Omaha, I have not been able to park my car. Like at all. Almost every time I park, there is a problem. For example, it is totally common for me to have to abandon my first parking attempt, reset, and try again. This is UNHEARD of. Restarting? What the fuck?! Then it’s also totally common for me to finish parking – after the second attempt – only to find that I’m slanted in the spot. Like ridiculously slanted. Like so askew that there is simply no way I can leave the car where it is. So I have to get back in the car for take three.
This whole process is demoralizing. But there has been a silver lining. Yesterday, for the first time since getting back to DC after the campaign, I parked the car – correctly and not askew – on the first try. Champion! I’m back, baby! Or at least I hope so…