Tag Archives: cars

Parallel Parking…


I was going to rage. There would have been spittle as I listed every reason why I should not have driven across the city. If only I had taken the bus!

Yes, if I had taken the bus I would’ve been calmer when I arrived. Yes, if I had taken the bus a certain pedestrian enjoying her music would’ve been slightly less disgruntled on arriving home from work. Yes, if I had taken the bus I wouldn’t have had to park on Van Ness amidst heavy traffic in front of a suspicious man looking boldly into my backseat. I locked it three times as I walked away. But he didn’t budge. I left him there, right next to my car, checking out the car seats.

Because really, I haven’t been driving much these days.

The other day the kids were screaming at me that we were late for soccer practice. This is funny because none of them can tell time. Nor did I see any of them cc’d on the e-mail that told when and where the practice was to be held.

But they were right and so I took the first parking spot I could find. This required parallel parking and, please remember, I haven’t been driving much these days. I corrected and corrected until further correction was impossible and I was still not correct. All this time my kids, the clock reading savants, were increasing my urgency.

And then I realized I had performed all of this very embarrassing maneuvering right in front of the new soccer team, right there, on the other side of the fence, facing me, with our new team in between, already well into their practice.

I pulled out, found an anonymous spot out of view and acted for the world as if I’ve never seen or heard of a gold corolla in my life.

So, it’s been a tender spot. And then today I had to drive across town at six pm. And I was fully prepared to swear off driving in this city forever.

Until, on the way back, I saw the 38L driving back on Geary, double bus fully loaded and packed with citizens doing their best to internalize their personal space bubbles and be okay with it.

And I was SO glad I drove.

Car “Problems”…


Last week, I went down to the garage to take the kids somewhere in the car. It wouldn’t start.

I called James, “Um, the car won’t start. You wanna give me a hand?”

So he comes down and turns the key because I might not have done that part right.

“Well,” he says, “When’s the last time you drove it?”

I stared at him blankly.

“Um, when did we go to the library last?” I say, “Last week? No. Week before last? I don’t know.”

“Really?” he says, “That’s awesome.”

Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the reasons we moved to the city, to walk.

At first, the use of the car was regular. My four year-old couldn’t make it to the store four blocks away without being stricken by a sudden and bizarre attack of muscle dysplasia at least once. Walking to the library was out of the question. Walking to Golden Gate Park was a day-long venture.

Once, we tried to walk to dinner at a new friend’s house. It was twenty-six blocks away. James and I discussed it over the phone. Google maps said the walking route would take half an hour. Google maps has considered many possibilities. It has a car icon, a bus icon, a bike icon, and a walking human icon. It does not, however, have a four year-old icon. It took us forty minutes to get halfway. James had to pick us up in the car.

There are many, many double strollers in San Francisco for a reason. They are all owned by kind people.

I, however, am not a kind person. I believe in the power of my daughter’s legs. I believe in the strength of her character. I have witnessed it; I potty trained her. If she can hold a determined turd at bay for forty-eight hours, then she can walk.

And my husband is even crueller than I am. He plans hikes.

And so we made them walk. There are three parks within walking distance. There are many markets, about four we use. There are laundromats, libraries, museums, and two beaches. There are trails and hikes and numerous eateries all within reach of my four year-olds two little legs.

It sounds amazing doesn’t it?

It is.

Because one of the amazing things about living in the city, evidently, is that you have to remind yourself to drive your car at least once a week so the battery doesn’t die.

Who knew?

Of course, the downside to all this exercise is more energy, for them. Did you know they could get more energy? They can. It’s crazy.

Who knew?