Freeform Katia

March 20, 2007

i’ve become an urbanite parker

Filed under: musings — freeformkatia @ 7:19 am

I got my driver’s license when I was 18. I’m not sure what the deal was with that, if was it because my parents didn’t trust me to drive or whether I didn’t beg enough (truth be told, I didn’t really have a social life, so where would I have driven to??) Perhaps after my mom forgot me several times after music theory, orchestra, symphony, quartet, or my music lessons did it dawn on them that it might be easier to just let me get my license. (Love you,  mom!)

So, I signed up for driving school with my one and only friend, Elyn. I’m not quite sure how we got through those lessons (our instructor was Evelyn) — but we did and we drove and no one caused an accident (although 1 door was almost torn off it’s hinges, but that involved a snowbank in a driveway). Moving on.

In my hometown there is very little reason to learn how to parallel park. Hello? It’s Northern Ontario — we have driveways and parking lots. I think I actually managed to never have to back into a parking spot at the mall. Come to think of it, TO THIS DAY I have never backed into a parking spot anywhere.

Then I moved away and had no car. Until September of 2005, when Richard and I bought a car. I’ve decided that I HATE driving in the city of Philadelphia. I’d much rather drive in a blazing snowstorm in northern Ontario in the middle of the night, then drive in center city Philadelphia during rush hour on a warm Friday evening. However, I’ve come to accept my lot in life, and now will drive — but I still don’t like it.

Anyway, I drive every Thursday evening into center city to attend choir rehearsals. During rush hour. And, nine times out of ten I find a parking spot — which I have to parallel park into. During rush hour. In Philadelphia. In center city Philadelphia. One knows not my terror behind the wheel.

Now, as it happens, about 1/2 block from the church there are 2 parking garages, off the same little alley. Just before the entrance to the parking garages, there are 4 UNMETERED parking spots — 2 at 20min. limits, 2 at 30min. limits, both which expire at 8pm. So, if I get there at 7:15pm, I usually park in a spot until 7:29pm, and if the Philadelphia Parking Authority hasn’t come by, I can jump out of the car and make it to my 7:30pm rehearsal without the risk of getting a ticket. Sounds like a sweet deal, no? Of course, if I end up in a 20min. limit spot, then I pray the PPA doesn’t come by in those 10 min. and cuts me a little slack.

So, last week it became apparent (really, visibly apparent) that I needed a new swimming suit. The spandex had given way in some strategic spots on my current maternity swim suit, and it needed replacement. I therefore left home a little earlier than normal last Thursday with the idea that I would dash to either the Gap or Mimi Maternity to buy a new swimsuit — since these two stores are only 1 block from the church.

I jump in the car. I zoom downtown. Traffic. ugh. I crawl at a snail’s pace… it’s 7:02pm. Time is getting tight. It’s starting to rain. I make a pact with myself — if I find a street spot then I’ll park and skip the swim suit errand. If I end up in the garage, I’ll run the errand. 7:11pm, I arrive at the alley with the 4 spots — 3 of them are available! Such luck!!!! I park. I get out my knitting, I listen to NPR, I watch out for the parking dude — because, really, we’re pushing our luck. 7:16pm — parking dude becomes visible, taking down the license plate number of the car 2 spots behind me. Dammit!!! damn damn. I put down the knitting, I start the car and vacate my spot. Poop. Well, only thing left to do is drive around the block and hope that by the time I get back the parking dude has moved on and that there are still some spots left.

The parking gods favoured me, 7:22pm, parking dude is no where in sight. 3 spots still available. I pull in. I decided that since it’s pouring rain and that the parking dude has just come and gone, the chances that he (or she. could’ve been a she. remember, it’s dark, it’s raining, it’s an alley, and there was an umbrella involved) will not reappear in the next 8 minutes and that I’m safe to leave my car. VICTORY!

So, the swim suit? I bought one on Sunday — and I got new goggles too. I swear I swam faster today in the pool.

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