Ah, parellel parking.
Tonight, while taking Pup on his evening stroll, I saw one of my neighbors practicing her parallel parking. Rather, attempting to perform something similar to parallel parking between two orange cones she placed in the parking lot.
It reminded me of a my own learning-to-drive disasters.
One of which was in Drivers Ed while I was in the backseat.
Our instructor, who was not ironically a football coach, (a prerequisite for Driver’s Ed Instructors in my hometown) hit his emergency brake.
He hit the brakes because the student driving our car (name not to be disclosed) took a wide turn careening us over a sidewalk and landing the car onto an unsuspecting resident’s yard.
Our football-coach-instructor gently hit his brakes on his side of the car and with all the calm of a coach down by 7 points in the final seconds of a game, said: “I think we’ll stop now.”
I still wonder if anyone inside the house saw us wide-eyed teenagers in the Driver’s Ed Car perched on top of their lawn — or if they just came home to tire tracks in their garden wondering “how the heck did that happen?”
I thought about this tonight as I watched my neighbor try to navigate the little orange cones she set up for DIY Driver’s Ed Course.
And, then I realized something: I know a secret!
My friend, Stacy Kerr, once told me the secret to parallel parking.
One day, in Michigan, while we were driving around looking for a space in downtown Ann Arbor she shared the secret with me: BRAKES.
It goes like this:
Put your foot on the brake and turn the wheel as hard as it will go.
It makes all the difference in the world.
And, it works like a charm every time.
I used it almost every single day when I lived in Boston. (Actually in Boston, I swear it’s totally legal, actually it’s CUSTOMARY, to bump both cars, in front and behind you with your bumpers, to shimmy into your space).
But, Stacy’s little tip has stayed with me all of these years.
So tonight, instead of watching my stranger neighbor struggle, I walked over and waved at her to roll down her window.
Then, I kindly passed on what was passed on to me.
I shared the secret.
Sometimes it’s easier to get where we want to go…
by just hitting the brakes.
(Thank you to Stacy Kerr!)