November 20, 2001
The Parking Fairy


"Is this close enough for you?" David asks smugly, as he manuevers the Subaru into a holding pattern directly behind a tugboat-sized SUV. 

The SUV is preparing to back out of the best parking spot in the entire grocery store parking lot: the spot directly in front of the door. Then the spot -- this prime piece of parking lot real estate -- will be *ours.*

"Yes," I sigh. "This will be fine."

The Parking Fairy strikes again.

If you have ever been inside a moving automobile with Ю僱êrvØ¡ for longer than 2.3 seconds, you've probably heard all about The Parking Fairy. David is convinced that he has a benevolent parking spirit watching over him as he drives -- a Parking Fairy -- guiding him unerringly toward the best/the closest/the most convenient parking spots in all the Bay Area. And he does seem to have remarkable luck finding good places to leave the Subaru ... especially in a city notorious for its dearth of decent parking. *I* am convinced that it's more a matter of combined good timing and geographic familiarity -- I think that, deep down inside, he knows it too -- but he likes to keep the spirit of The Parking Fairy alive ... the way some people persist in keeping Santa Claus alive for children old enough to shave.

"I could try to park on the sidewalk," he jokes. "That would put us a couple of feet closer." He is almost unbearably pleased with himself. We sit and wait patiently as the SUV begins its ridiculously slow, cumbersome, backing-up process.

At that precise moment, a dark nondescript little Honda or Toyota or Hyundai -- at night, without my glasses, they all look like dark nondescript little Hondas or Toyotas or Hyundais -- suddenly appears out of nowhere, directly to our right. As we watch in disbelief, it zooms right past us and slides neatly into the newly-vacant spot in front of us.

David, stunned, immediately does two things I have never witnessed him do, in all the years we've been together:

  • He lays on his horn.
  • He lets loose with a string of expletives.

"Vark naffen shplutter frug!!" he shouts. "Forgen garb blam fluggin BLUGGER!!"

I have never -- I mean NEVER EVER EVER -- seen him so angry. About anything. Not even William Shatner hosting "Iron Chef USA."

It is profoundly disturbing.

The driver of the Honda/Toyota/Hyundai -- it's either a young woman with long black hair, or Lou Diamond Phillips: I'm not sure which -- doesn't even seem to be aware that she has committed a grievous parking lot faux pas. I watch her as she finishes parking her car. She was signalling as she slid into the parking spot: I'm pretty sure that she didn't even see David waiting there behind her. She's probably wondering why this maniac is honking and swearing at her now ... but if she seems at all concerned, it doesn't show. She exits the Honda/Toyota/Hyundai and grabs a shopping cart. By the time David has found us a parking spot -- on the farthest side of the busy Albertson's parking lot, out in the boonies next to the abandoned shopping carts and the broken Almaden bottles -- she has already disappeared inside the store.

Later, I spot her strolling calmly through the produce aisle. David is still flouncing and stomping around. "Do you think that asshole just didn't see me?" he snarls, as I'm loading bananas into the shopping cart. 

I point to the young woman, who is standing a few feet away from us weighing tomatoes. That's her, I mouth wordlessly. 

I'm instantly sorry that I pointed her out: I can tell by the murderous gleam in his eye, as he stands there glaring at her, breathing heavily, that he is seriously considering sneaking outside and letting the air out of her tires. (Either that, or else sneaking up to her shopping cart and taking a bite out of one of her tomatoes.) It is only by extreme force of will -- and the promise of sloppy joes for dinner -- that I am able to drag him through the rest of our shopping, get him through the check-out stand without busting an artery, and haul him out of the grocery store without further incident.

(And without bloodshed.)

Why is it so important that we park three feet from the door everywhere we go? I guess this is where I get confused. Why should perfect parking matter so deeply to Mr. "Why Take The Elevator When We Can Take The Stairs (We're ONLY On The Ninth Floor, After All)" ? It seems like such a contradiction in logic. He wants us to be physically fit -- he coerced my sedentary butt onto a bike for the first time in thirty years, he made us switch to non-fat milk, he honestly believes that hiking boots might make a good birthday present for his wife this year -- but he doesn't want us to walk an extra ten feet in a parking lot? I just don't get it. Where we park the car is simply not an issue for me. Maybe if I was nine and a half months pregnant, say ... or expensively coiffed for the Senior Prom, or leaning headfirst into a howling blizzard with a goat slung over my shoulder -- none of which seem likely any time in the foreseeable future, frankly -- then I might care about that extra ten or twenty or hundred feet. Otherwise, I don't really mind a bit of a walk from the car to the store.

But it matters to David. For whatever reason ... it matters. I suspect that this is probably one of those inexplicable guy/control issues, like having the most baseball cards, or commandeering the remote control, or mounting those big stoopid penis-compensating "monster" tires on a dinky little Ford Truck. I further suspect that it could be much, much worse. He could barbecue, for instance. Or spit. Or watch televised sports.

I'll let him keep his Parking Fairy.

He maintains his lousy mood for the rest of the evening. Once or twice the sun briefly breaks through the clouds -- once when he nails the opening riff to "Walk This Way," and then again when we're watching the orgy episode of "AbFab" on tape -- but otherwise it is an uncharacteristically glum evening around Castle Ю僱êrvØ¡. Eventually I give up trying to jolly him out of his funk and I go about my usual evening routine -- cooking dinner, setting up the coffeemaker for morning, checking my e-mail, exfoliating -- ignoring him more or less completely. I'm not responsible for his mood. He's not responsible for mine. He'll either snap out of it, or he won't. He'll either figure out that a parking spot is a stoopid thing to get upset about, or he won't.

(He'll either tell me what's REALLY been bugging him the past couple of days, or he won't.)

In the meantime, I figure I should probably 'give thanks' for this irrefutable proof that my husband is not, in fact, completely perfect. If he were completely perfect, after all, he'd probably be about a bazillion times more annoying than he is when he's pouting. If he were completely perfect, *FootNotes* readership would drop off faster than you could say "Bob Patterson."

And if he were perfect, he probably wouldn't be married to me. Oppposites attract, after all.



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hi mizz! sorry to hear about your broken foot!
feel better soon!