Sunday, January 7

Tales from the City

I can parallel park better than my husband. I considered this for the list of weird things about me, but it really isn't that odd. I grew up in DC, started driving at 16 and hung out in trendy Georgetown. I got good at parking. Preferably with the zippy compact VW Rabbit, but sometimes I got stuck with the VW Bus. I got way beyond simple rules such as "when the steering wheels are aligned start the turn..." because hello! cars vary and the steering wheels are in different locations relative to the length of the vehicles. Can I articulate what I do? Nope. Could I guide someone while I was seated in the passenger seat? I've tried, but is it my fault they won't listen? No. My husband, on the other hand, learned to drive while living in the burbs around L.A. Land of driveways and parking lots.

Neither of us owned a car when we started dating, but once he borrowed a car to take me out. Someplace with limited on-street parking. So after driving around a bit with me saying "there's one," and him saying "that's not big enough," I timidly suggested I might try one of these too small spots. He was impressed. Good thing he's not too macho to admit it. He tries, but he still is trapped in the simplified rules and just doesn't understand how when he follows those rules and lines up the bumpers or steering wheels just so, the car refuses to go where it should. Instead of arguing over how the rules don't apply, if a trip will require parking skill, I drive. My high school and college find-a-spot-weekly-to-have-fun years turned into the Chicago find-a-spot-daily-so-I-can-get-home years. Therefore while I still have the magic touch, I've used up my quota of tolerance for the hunt. More than five minutes driving around to find a spot and I'm a complete grouch.

Franz saw that author Jennifer Ouellette was speaking at Elliot Bay Bookstore last night. Zach had gotten Black Bodies and Quantum Cats for his birthday and just finished reading it. He thought it was pretty good. She's on tour for her new book: The Physics of the Buffyverse. I was a bit reluctant to go, partly because of the weather and partly because of the hassle of either driving or taking the bus to Pioneer Square. If I gave in to my initial reluctance to go places I'd never leave the house, so I dismissed my desire to get a headstart on Sunday's International Pajama Day and agreed to go. Car or bus? Well, in order to have time for dinner, it just seemed less hassle to drive. So we did. Parking was involved; I drove. That means I got to choose the route which means getting on I5 at NE 50th where we merge onto the freeway from the right instead of Franz's (admittedly more logical) preference of 520 with the left entrance ramp onto I5.

Should have realised that things were not going our way when the NE 50th leg took forever and then was closed before the I5 exit for an accident investigation. Then NE 45th was a mess, but I figured that was just because of the closure of Ne 50th. I5 wasn't too bad, but when we got off the freeway and entered Pioneer Square the sign on the Sinking Ship garage read Event Parking $30. "Holy crap!" I said. "What's going on. The only thing that would warrant that would be the Seahawks." Franz said "Um, yeah, Seahawks. Didn't think of that. I think they are playing Dallas. Don't know if it's in town or not." Well, I think he had the answer right there. At this point you can pity my family, but I asserted my authority as driver and declared that I was not going to stress out over a futile parking spot hunt. I headed north on First Avenue and said if a spot appears I'll take it but otherwise we are heading home. Way up on Union there was an open garage with the sign Weekends and Evenings $4.00. Turned into it and was told they close in 10 minutes. Then why don't they take down the damn sign already. In the space of time it took me to turn around and exit, at least 6 other cars pulled in. So, no author lecture for us.

Coming back home via Montlake the U District congestion was explained as we intersected traffic leaving the UW Husky basketball game. Took a while before we got through, but at least it wasn't Husky Football where the cops would have diverted us a good mile north out of our way.

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