JournalismPakistan.com September 29, 2019
So there is nothing difficult about parallel parking. It is easy peasy. You glide your car into the allotted space with verve and pizzazz, and it positions itself as straight as a soldier on parade; nothing to it. All over the world people will parallel park and think nothing of it.
Now try it when you have a witness. It can be anyone, a worker, a shopper, a parking attendant, a passerby, a total stranger watching you do your thing. You drive in and see the empty spot. Your eyes meet fleetingly and there you are, doing your thing falls apart.
The space between the car in front and the back shrinks exponentially, and the length of the vehicle gets dramatically longer — the equation changes. Now, the stranger witness is not concerned about you, just pleasantly wondering if you will make a go of it, but his very presence is intimidating, and now you find your car is behaving like a prima donna and refuses to be shoehorned into that designated space.
You are like a wedge of cake jammed at right angles or a crumpled sandwich; then you make half a dozen futile tries while the watcher’s expression is bland and stays unchanged. You go in, then out, then a little more in, then back again, then a furious ‘give it everything’ wrench of the wheel at which effort your front tire hits the curb, the reverse gear goes into neutral with no help from you and your engine revs up noisily and you are red-faced with embarrassment. Now, you have to pull out, and there is a car blowing its horn because you almost hit it.
Finally, you do what any sensible driver caught in this position does. You extricate yourself from the unsalvageable situation by driving away like you never wanted to park here in the first place and it was just a practice run, pasting that nonchalant expression on your face and gathering the tatters of your dignity about you. You tell yourself, I’ll find myself another parking space and the mute witness has that ‘whatever’ look on his face like not my problem, you don’t want to park here is okay by me.
As is bound to happen there is no parking space in view now and you have to go round and round looking for a vacant square and you suddenly find one and heaving a sigh of relief you make for it and just then one of those horrible motorists we all know and love so much darts in and steals it away from you and all you can do is show him the finger. Just be sure there is no witness.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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