The Parallel Parking Lament

I’ve got very few nemeses in the world.DSCN8071

Oh who am I kidding? I’ve got tons. And among them is parallel parking.

Yes, I’m not a fan of parallel parking. Wait, that’s not a strong enough statement.

I’ve got a thorn in my side and it’s parallel parking!

Give me the choice of parallel parking or being force fed cotton balls, I’ll take the cotton. For, parallel parking and I are formidable opponents.

Whenever I drive into the city, parallel parking taunts me. The city blocks are full of parking spaces that demand you parallel park, though most of them are already taken. In fact, ever notice how when you need to park you can’t find a space within a five-mile radius? Except maybe in front of fire lanes, fire hydrants and driveways, and apparently, word has it, you can’t park there.

Many a time, I’ve driven in circles in search of parking, with my anxiety level increasing by the millisecond as I anticipate having to parallel park. Of course I’m forever hopeful that I’ll find the perfect spot, which for me entails a space that isn’t surrounded by behemoth SUV’s. Preferably a nice, ample curb with no cars in sight, for I just want to slide into my spot, thank you very much.

I hate hate hate having to align my car with the vehicle in front of an open spot–especially when said parking spot is teeny tiny–then having to slowly back up and try to figure out the magic moment when I must start turning into the space while making sure I don’t hit or go over the curb. Fat chance.

And when I finally do find an adequate parking space, one that fits my criteria, it’s usually so far from my destination that I have to call for a cab to get to where I need to go.


A preferred method of parking, as long as there’s ample space between cars. (Which most of the time is NOT the case. Sigh)


Then there’s the meter. When you park at the mall, it’s free and parking’s a cinch, unless, of course it’s the holidays or the weekend.

But go downtown and you pay through the teeth. One dollar for every ten minutes and who has that many dollars in coins? Why not just take my first born?

Sidebar: And speaking of my first born, today’s his birthday and he’s so grown up and handsome, but thinking of him reminds me of another stress–that of giving birth. Yikes! Though I suppose he wouldn’t mind me sacrificing him in return for free parking for the rest of my life, would he?

But I digress. Parallel parking. OMG, how I resent parallel parking. Life is stressful enough, if you ask me.

After all, I am not a risk-taker. The biggest risk I’m willing to take is climbing into the bathtub to take a shower. That’s my Mt Kilimanjaro, and as good a reason as any to make sure I have a life insurance policy. So why would I want to throw caution to the wind and tackle parallel parking?

I know, I know. Some of you don’t mind parallel parking, and some of you actually even like doing it. Well, to this I say, pshaw!

Parallel parking is the Number One reason most people fail the DMV driving exam the first time around. The second and third time, too, for that matter. That and running a Stop sign or a red light.

In the film, “Clueless,” Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) is asked if she wants to practice parking. Her response?

“What’s the point? Everywhere you go has valet.”

Honestly, my dread of parallel parking is so bad, I can’t wait until I can afford to buy one of those cars that parks itself!

Give me angled parking, spots where all you have to do is pull into the spot and I’m there. I’m all for it. Parking lots. We need parking lots on every corner. But don’t ask me to back into the spot because I’m not keen on that either.

Enough said.

So what’s on your mind? I’m listening.

31 thoughts on “The Parallel Parking Lament

  1. HAAaaaa.
    You always manage to make me smile, Monica.
    About parallel parking…I’ve NEVER done it. I’m serious as poop. I ran over an orange cone on my driver’s test! After that, I will walk a mile before I attempt it.


  2. This tickled me. I thought I had problems…Well, I do and parallel parking is one. Going to the dentist is the other. They’re running neck and neck on the problem list.

    I didn’t fail the driving test, The man just gave me a license, for some reason. I think you expressed very well what a lot of us feel.

    • Thanks, Totsy. I don’t know if I should be, but I find it rather nice to know that so many agree with me. Parallel parking is a nightmare! I don’t mind the dentist; it’s an opportunity to zone out or take a nap, if you ask me, but please don’t ever ask me to parallel park.

  3. I am with you, hate parallel parking. Don’t want to, don’t even want to try. I am with Cher, I want to valet park. What is the point otherwise? Who thought parallel parking was a good idea anyway?

    Happy Birthday to your son (belated). My youngest turns 34 this coming Saturday, woe is me.

  4. You definitely aren’t alone in hating parallel parking. I don’t like it, and I don’t like driving either. I’m just glad to not have to drive (or park) here in Ecuador. Hope your week is going well. We just got back from the beach.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Feels good to know I’m in good company, with you, Kathy. I actually do like driving though. I was a late bloomer to driving but I cut my driving teeth on the streets of DC. They drive like maniacs there.

  5. I’m with you, Monica. Not my favorite thing either, especially on the left side. We’re lucky where we live they built tons of free parking lots (at least for the first 75 minutes).. When you come to. SB again you can relax and avoid parallel parking all together. There’s even a parking structure right next door to Jeannine’s! 🙂

    • I don’t recall the parking structure next to Jeannine’s. We were parked in the lot of a hotel across the street. Good to know though. I love that place. It’s got a great vibe. Also, I’m glad to know so many agree with me about parallel parking. We’re all in the same boat. Or car. Or whatever.

  6. Oh you should see me trying to parallel park Monica – tis a sight.. I go in, then out and back again. My husband is very patient and has been lovely enough to help me practice quite a bit .. Er, He has now given up. I run away, yes, as far as I can go. Instead of parallel park, I park elsewhere, I tell myself walking is good for me. The children don’t like it, I figure they are young, walking is good for them too.
    Unless of course..
    There is space and no other cars. Then I parallel park beautifully. I feel smart, just like I would park in the city. Erm, well, it’s only at my daughter’s school, I slide in when it’s empty.

    • Well, the anti-parallel parker’s are coming out of the woodwork, MM. Perhaps I’ve started a movement! That would be very exciting.

      And you’re right. Walking is a delight, so park as far away as you like, my friend. It’s what I do.

  7. What’s worse is parallel parking when you have a passenger, who is back-seat driving. Doesn’t help at all, makes you feel rushed.

    • Karen, backseat drivers are the worst! We need to create a special seat for these folks, kind of like an infant car seat where they sit with their backs to the front and can’t see what’s going on and therefore they are forced to keep their two cents to themselves!

      Glad you’re still reading!

  8. I’m with you on this one, Monica. I detest parallel parking, too, and am always so envious of people that do it so smoothly, and in one try! And then have you ever tried to parallel park on the left side when you are on a one-way street; that’s even more crazy!

  9. My sweet dad taught me to parallel park. He had me practice over and over right outside our house (I’m sure the neighbors got a kick out of the show!). Anyway, I learned, so I don’t find it threatening any more (unless I have to do it backwards, on the left side of the road, ha!).
    Happy Birthday to Number One Son — and I KNOW you were being tongue-in-cheek about selling him off for a lifetime of free parking. Tempting as that might have been once upon a time (like when he was twelve or so!), no mom is going to do that!!

  10. I can’t say I am a fan of parallel parking either to be honest. Though the alternative option of cotton balls does nothing for me either.

    Multi level and open car parks here are very expensive as well.

    Makes me grateful I normally take the bus. Not 100 yards from my house I have a bus stop with buses into the city every 10 minutes from 6am to 8pm and hourly after that until midnight.

    Observing the car parking here in my cul-de-sac I have come to the conclusion that correct parking of any type is a dying art.

    • Public transportation is a wonderful solution. Wish we had a system here as good as yours. Actually we once did, but with the growth of fast food chains, built along highways, the fast-food industry conspired to eliminate much of what we had for public transportation. They wanted people to use cars, to make it easier for them to pull off the road and buy a burger. Sigh.

  11. I parellel park better than I pull in – you know those spots where you debate is there enough room to just pull in or do I need to parallel park I invariably end up parallel parking. My mother on the other hand told her driving instructor she would walk the 5 miles before she parallel parked. She also doesn’t pump her own gas, she’ll sit and wait until someone comes to do it for her. Valet parking is the bomb!

    • I’m with your mother, Lisa. I’d rather park 5 miles away in a lot or on an empty street than tackle parallel parking. Btw, your mother should consider living in New Jersey. I believe there they will pump your own gas.

    • Yes, these cars exist, Georgette, and one day that’ll be a feature in just about every car, but frankly I don’t trust it. With my luck, I buy such a car and it gets all banged up for trying to park itself.

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