“I want to learn from you”
Okay, so ice hockey. It’s a big part of this new chapter in my life, as I’ve mentioned. Twice a week my boy and I drive about 40 minutes away for practice. Which is not bad. There’s not too much traffic (by which I mean there are plenty of cars, but only a few places where they aren’t moving. God bless the carpool lane.) And I have pretty much figured out how to work the system, insofar as which lane I want to be in, when. Which definitely matters.
But once we arrive at the rink, the challenges are not over. Because then I have to parallel park. There’s a parking structure, but I don’t want to use it unless I have to, cuz it costs money, whereas it’s free to street park. So that’s my first choice. But parallel parking ain’t easy, as everyone knows. It goes like this:
2. Breaking up
3. Parallel Parking
The other reason it’s such a challenge is because of my car. I pretty much have your general, everyday no nonsense crossover/SUV type of car. Just a five seater, though, not one of the big ones with a third row. But this car has an unusually bad turning radius. My husband’s car, with a third row of seats, makes tighter turns than mine does. We were chatting once, with someone who has the same model of car that I do, and he said, “It’s a good car; I love driving it. It’s got the turning radius of a freight train, though.” My husband and I cracked up, because it’s totally true, and ever since then, that’s how we speak of it. “Should I park there?” “No, you’ll never get in there. Freight train.” “Oh, right…” And it’s one of the things we had to teach our daughter very specifically when we were teaching her to drive. “Make that U-turn slowly. Freight train, remember?”
Last week I had a terrible time of it. The only space open was tighter than usual, and it took me several minutes and several tries to get it into the space. A pain… Freight train, yes, but also: parallel parking is hard.
Well this week God (or luck, whichever you want to credit) decided to give me a break, and the spot at the very end of the street was open. So all I had to do was glide right into it. Easy as pie. I walked my boy into the rink, then came back out to the car to put my UGG boots on and get my sweatshirt and my book.
But you know what happened while I was putting my boots on? I watched someone, across the street, trying to parallel park, and doing a terrible job of it. I mean, maybe they have trouble with their car too, but really it was largely about how they were coming at it. He was turning his steering wheel too far as he came into it, and then waiting too long to straighten his car out. He had plenty of room, but his car ended up pretty much perpendicular to the curb because he was waiting so long to straighten out his car. It took him several tries before he succeeded (albeit, not as many tries as it took me last week because his car was smaller and his spot was bigger and he wasn’t driving a freight train. So just know that I’m not making fun of him. I still hold the record for Dorkiest Parking Job.)
When I first noticed he was having trouble, I felt bad for him, knowing how he felt. Then I sort of thanked God a little bit, like maybe He was trying to make me feel better. “See? It’s not just you.” But as I kept watching, I began to realize what I should have been doing differently ~ like straightening out my car sooner, and maybe even coming all the way out of the space to try again when it wasn’t going well. I began to learn from what I was seeing.
I don’t want life to be difficult for anyone around me. But if tribulation is going to come ~ and yup. It is. ~ then I darn well want to learn from the experiences of others.
And please, feel free to learn from mine.