Nancy Roman


I’ve said before that I can’t park.

Parallel is ridiculous. Good thing I didn’t have to demonstrate to get my license.

But the only place where I must parallel park is my Yoga class.  But I’ve worked it out. I wait by the fire hydrant for the previous class to get out. I wait for at least three people to leave. Then I can drive up and pull in.

Once, I got to the street just a bit too late. The previous class was gone, but everyone from my own class had beat me to the spots. There was one spot left. I had to park between two other cars. Actual parallel parking! And I did it!  I felt a higher sense of accomplishment from parking than from the Yoga. But I never intend to do it again.

In regular, that is, sane, parking lots, I can pull into a spot – as long as it’s not too small. I find I can pull in better turning left into a spot than right, so I often drive around a right-turn spot so I can approach it from the other side. I have to back out in the same direction from which I approached. The tires seem to have a turn memory that works better.

I don’t usually have a problem backing-out, so I am mystified by this recurring nightmare I have. I dream I am backing out and I can’t stop. I back out right into the car in the row behind me. And I keep going. Hitting everything backwards. If you are a dream-interpreter, please explain.

Last year I took my mother to the doctor, and when we left, the cars on either side of me had parked so close I could not turn. Which wouldn’t have been too terrible a problem, except that I couldn’t back straight out, because an asshole had parked parallel against the building, not leaving me enough room to get fully out without turning. Which I couldn’t do because of the other assholes who believe that as long as the mirrors aren’t kissing, they’ve given you sufficient space. My mother had to stand and guide me back and forth and back and forth and back and forth… about sixty zillion times. That is embarrassing when your mother is approaching her ninetieth birthday. I told her: “Don’t ever drive here yourself!” Not so much because she could never manage to park, but because I was afraid she could, and I would be further humiliated.

But despite these admissions of my parking shortcomings, there is one place where I excel.

My garage.

I never had a garage before we moved into this house nine years ago. And although I was at first intimidated by pulling in and out without hitting the actual garage, I have now had years and years of practice. In and out I glide every day. Sometimes several times a day.

My husband likes to wave Bye-Bye as I leave.

But he has this really funny wave.

He holds his hands up in a parallel position.

And they seem to become slightly directional as I back out.

Bye-Bye to you too, Honey!

Bye-Bye to you too, Honey!


  1. Actually, I DID have to parallel park in order to get my license….in my mom’s 1960-something car – with tail fins. The Authority Figure who determined if I got my license or not made the comment that my driving was okay, my parking not so good, but he was going to let me have my license. I promised him I’d only park in parking lots!


  2. I got my license at 16 and had to parallel park on a busy street. I have NO idea how I did is and of course, I never did it again. I parked only in parking lots.
    Along comes my daughter and she needs to practise parallel parking on a not so busy street. Would I teach her? Huh? No way would I admit my secret. I faked it and BIG surprise I taught her how to do it. Yeah, I know. It was some kind of never-let-your-kids-know-your-shortcomings-miracle. Intrigued, I then practised until I learned from repeating what I told her. Huh? Another miracle. I don’t know how all this happened and I was THERE! 😀


    • I know – I was amazed at myself that I did it that day at the Yoga studio. When I got home, my husband said, “How was your class?” And I answered “I paralleled-parked!”


  3. Funny, I don’t remember writing this post, but my husband swears it must have been me. Isn’t there some name for this kind of thought transference?


    • I think it is because we are all married to the same guy.


  4. I used to be able to parallel park when my workplace had a garage. It got to be an old habit. Now, however, I avoid such maneuvers since my body cramps up from twisting and I cause traffic jams. I also panic in car wash aligning and have dents to prove it. Ah – fodder for a new post?


    • I haven’t driven through a car wash in more than twenty years. It is too scary.


  5. Parallel parking has undone many a driver. I’ve always been really good at it for some reason. I had one friend who went to great lengths to not parallel park. One day when we were shopping I kept pointing out parking spots for her and she would keep on driving. She finally confessed that she didn’t know how to parallel park. I said, “What do you mean?” She explained that her husband and her father had both tried to teach her but she couldn’t get it. I cried foul and proceeded to guide her into her first parallel park. She was shocked and did it several more times before we actually got to go shopping.


  6. Such giggles. We have a really long driveway – it’s wide, but often I’m sorting things out while backing out…I think my husband is mentally doing that parallel hand thing as he winces and watches.


    • I have pointed out once or twice (or perhaps two hundred) times that his watching me is not beneficial to either of us.


  7. Hahahaha! I love it!


  8. oh my god this made me snort at the end. I was not expecting that. hubby likes to smack the side of my Yukon as I back out of anyplace. the first time he did it (about 20 years ago) I got out of my car and smacked him. now, I ignore it. so that if I ever really do hit something backing out I will just think it’s hubby playfully smacking my vehicle to make me think I hit something.


    • I tell him we would both be better off if he didn’t watch.


  9. Haha. Parallel parking and I don’t get along. I will park anywhere else rather than parallel park. My garage isn’t even safe however. There is a permanent indentation on the front wall where I misjudged distance pulling in one night. My gorgeous Garden Gnome hung a key on a piece of string from the roof, so that when it touches the windshield I know to touch the brakes. 😉


    • My husband put down a piece of wood so when my tire touched, I would know I had pulled in far enough, but wouldn’t hit the sticking-out mower deck from his big tractor. Perfect solution. Until he moved the piece of wood.


  10. That tennis ball hanging from the ceiling about where your windshield is supposed to be really helps.

    I passed a car double parked yesterday in front of a parking spot. A woman was getting out of the driver’s seat and she flashed me an embarrassed smile. I saw in my rear-view mirror that a man (husband?) was getting out of the passenger side and walking around to her open door. Obviously they were doing a driver-handoff for the parallel parking.


    • One of the sweetest things I’ve seen recently was this guy whose car was in the middle of the street I was trying to go down. Then I saw why. He had gotten out of his car to parallel-park an old lady’s car.


  11. When I was 18, I had a bad boyfriend. My father never let me forget that I had dated suc a dope. Jim was possibly the handsomest man I have ever seen with the most amazing eyes — they looked like the inside of a kaleidoscope. And he taught me how to parallel park. And a few other things I will not divulge. I will never forget him and while he was dumb as a board, I think of him fondly every time I have to parallel park. And when my husband and I are out I’m the one who parks.

    I’d teach you, but you need to actually turn the wheels! I know that doesn’t sound logical, given that it is parallel parking.


    • My first boyfriend only taught me to french kiss AFTER parking.


      • I have always been a it odd.


  12. Chris

    I was never able to parallel park until my cousin taught me this 3-step trick:

    1) you pull up close to the car in front, so it’s rear bumper aligns with the middle of your car

    2) turn your steering wheel all the way to the right and back up, turning into the space until your back wheels are almost at the curb

    3) then turn your steering wheel all the way to the left and back up, turning the rest of your car into the parking space

    Ideally, you should now be parked…


    • Chris

      I forgot to mention – Go slowly…


      • I never do in that recurring dream… that must be the problem!


  13. My husband thinks the camera in my rear bumper should improve my ability, I think he is crazy. Parallel parking is simply not a skill I require.


    • I cannot even figure out what I am looking at through a side view mirror; I think a backup camera would make be hopelessly confused.



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