What I learned from learning to Parallel Park.

parallel parking

 

Since I’m a “blossoming city girl,” it’s about time I figured out one of the quintessential aspects of city life: parallel parking. Don’t get me wrong – back in the day, I musta known how to do it like a champ, since I did in fact pass my driver’s test with flying colors (if moving orange caution cones constitute “flying colors,” that is). But I’m soon going to be needing to do the ol’ parallel on a regular basis for my summer internship, so Dad took me out to practice, just like when I was 16. I learned a lot. While learning to parallel park, I learned…

 

Just don’t parallel park. If you don’t have to, just don’t. Avoid it at all costs. Park far away and walk, that way you’ll burn extra calories whilst steering clear of the rest of driving mankind. Safety first.

Don’t go halfway – you need to go all the way. (Thanks for that one, Dad.) Crank that wheel “to the windoooow, to the wall” style, going all the way to the direction of the curb first and finishing with a crank in the opposite direction.

Driving around the block a few times means you can survey your surroundings whilst finding a bus-size open space into which you can work your magic.

The worst thing about parallel parking is witnesses. Time to bring out your inner silent assassin.

It’s not exactly like squeezing into your best pair of skinny jeans. But then again, it sorta is. The important parts need room to breathe.

Closing your eyes while shimmying in rather close to cars doesn’t make you less likely to hit them. Of course I’m not talking from personal experience on this one. Of course.

Get vain, but not too vain. You gotta be really good at looking in mirrors to become a seasoned parallel parking pro. But not too good – seeing yourself means it’s time for some readjustments.

Getting out is just as important as getting in. Give yourself bumper space, because you may get in and then new people park in front and behind and close in on your bumpers, and you’ll feel trapped and claustrophobic and sad.

Driving farther to find a bigger space is perfectly alright. Hey, it’s good exercise if you brisk walk it back.

Once you’ve successfully shimmied your way into a spot, do a little jig all the way to the parking meter. Don’t forget the meter, or your day will inevitably be ruined by those soul-sucking ticket checkers and ticket givers. (An aside: Who opts to give out parking tickets? That’s like choosing to ruin people’s days.) Then go get Starbucks. You deserve it.

 

On a more serious note, here’s exactly how to parallel park like a pro. (Don’t read and drive.)

1. Once you’re in line with the car that will be in front of you, start to back up until your back wheels are in line with the end of that car.

2. Crank it to the curb. Meaning that at that point, you should turn the steering wheel as far to the direction of the curb as possible. Keep on backin’ up.

3. Once your sideview mirrors are now aligned with that cars behind, crank it to the street.

4. With your wheel now turned entirely in the opposite direction, keep backing up. You should now see yourself straightening out a teensy bit.

5. Do a car shimmy and straighten your car out, moving forward and backwards as need be to get yourself 6-8 inches from the curb and perfectly equidistant from cars in front of and behind you. Don’t hit them.

6. Rejoice.

 

What have you learned while learning to (or mastering, if you’re a badass unlike me) parallel park?

Any tips for city parking newbies like myself will be appreciated tenfold.

Now excuse me while I make a cup of tea and soak in the tub, since I’m writing from a wickedly gorgeous resort in Western Pennsylvania. Conferences are oh-so-fun, aren’t they? And speaking of tea, this week I’m co-hosting Tea Party Tuesdays with Jacky and Taylor. I know it’s Wednesday, but who says Tea Parties can’t happen everyday? Amiright? Join us.

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