Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Defensive Parking

Here's a news item about a Jerry Seinfeld tribulation on Long Island:

I know the feeling, Jer, although the most expensive car I've owned was worth 10% of your RSR.  It's not the money (mostly), it's about your baby.  It's striking that the woman who crowded Seinfeld's car was simultaneously "very sorry" and puzzled (as I read in another account).  She wouldn't have intentionally upset the owner of another car, but was mystified that he was upset.  "It's just a car, for heaven's sake."

I live in daily fear of people like this.  I don't parallel park for three reasons: 1) I live in the suburbs and don't have to, 2) I lost the ability to do it properly about a nano-second after I passed my driver's license test five decades ago, 3) a driver like the one who found Seinfeld's car will find mine.

My Mustang never gets parked in a "group setting."  I try to avoid driving it in traffic, let alone leaving it stationary where someone can get a good fix on it.  Even when I park it at track days, among (but not too close to) like-minded people, I worry.  So far, so good: seven years and counting, no dings or scratches.

My daily driver always gets parked away from other cars, a good distance from the door at the grocery store/mall/airport.  I justify this as personal exercise, but we all know it's defensive parking.  And sure enough, just like that insurance TV commercial, somebody will park next to me, berths and berths away from other vehicles.  And he's not driving a shiny desirable car.  He's driving a beat-up pickup truck or an old minivan.

If I do have to park next to someone, and my grandsons or octogenarian friends are with me, they fling the doors open.  Young people are heedless and old people can't extend their arms fully without falling out.  My sharp intake of breath is audible.  It's the same sound my grandmother used to make when she thought my grandfather was tailgating and he applied his brakes.  (Were she still alive, my grandmother would refuse to ride with me, as my sister now does.  My Dad taught me to drive, but Grampa taught me some of the finer points.)

Despite my obsessive parking, there's a small dimple on the rear quarter of my daily driver.  It got there within months of leaving the dealer's lot.  I have no idea how.  I wasn't around.  Oh... and there are stone chips on the hood.  I know how they got there: following dump trucks too closely on two-lanes, looking to pass them ASAP.

No comments:

Post a Comment