November 20, 2001
The Parking Fairy
this close enough for you?" David asks smugly, as he manuevers the
Subaru into a holding pattern directly behind a tugboat-sized SUV.
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
I sigh. "This will be fine."
Parking Fairy strikes again.
you have ever been inside a moving automobile with
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
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.
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.
stunned, immediately does two things I have never witnessed him do, in
all the years we've been together:
lays on his horn.
lets loose with a string of expletives.
naffen shplutter frug!!" he shouts. "Forgen garb
blam fluggin BLUGGER!!"
have never -- I mean NEVER EVER EVER -- seen him so
angry. About anything. Not even William Shatner hosting "Iron Chef
is profoundly disturbing.
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
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.
to the young woman, who is standing a few feet away from us weighing
tomatoes. That's her, I mouth wordlessly.
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.
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.
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
"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.
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
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.
either tell me what's REALLY been bugging him the
past couple of days, or he won't.)
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."
if he were perfect, he probably wouldn't be married to me.
Oppposites attract, after all.