Regular parking spaces, angled parking spaces, parallel parking, even spaces that simply require me to pull straight ahead…I always wind up lopsided or over the lines. I’m a great driver, but when it comes to low speed maneuvering, apparently I have some kind of deficiency.
But the other day, I hit a new low. Literally.
I drove into Chicago to meet someone for lunch. There were street-sweeping restrictions in the neighborhood that day, so I could only park on one half of the street, but those spaces were already taken. (I would have considered taking my chances parking on the street-sweeping side, but the couple cars over there had boots, so I figured it was better not to risk it.)
After driving around for 15 minutes, I finally saw a space. It was along a curb, with a car in front and an alley in back, so I had room to pull in without needing to parallel park. Perfect! I pulled up and realised I was hanging slightly into the bike lane, so I backed up and turned closer to the curb a bit, then pulled forward…and heard a terrible scraping sound and realized I was stuck.
I tried backing up, but it wouldn’t go. I tried inching forward, but it wouldn’t go. I thought if I could rev it hard, I could make it, but of course there was a car in front of me.
I got out and surveyed the scene. On a normal curb, my tire would have bumped, but this was a really really tall curb, and my wheels were jammed. Panic set in as I tried to figure out how I’d get home and how we would unstick the car.
I got back in and tried a few more times. I realized that by turning the steering wheel lightly, I could move a fraction of an inch in either direction. So I sat there, slowly rocking my car out of the space and praying that no one was filming it for YouTube. At one point, I noticed a AAA tow truck emerging from the alley behind me and was about to flag it down, but it turned the other way. I continued to maneuver the car inch by inch until I had finally freed myself.
I texted my husband to tell him I ruined our hubcaps. He wrote back, “We don’t have hubcaps.”
I said, “Well maybe we should. In that case, I ruined the round metal things in the middle of the tires.”
I hoped it would “just buff out,” but Hubby says no. So I broke our car, but at least it appears to be cosmetic.
Now it’s your turn. Make me feel better by sharing your traumatic parking stories.