Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It doesn’t take long for the locals to figure out that you never attempt parallel parking in front of the Wind’s, Dino’s, the Emporium, or the Sunrise Café unless you’re really good at it. Not only do those parking spaces put you directly under the “stuff” that comes off the pear trees, it puts you front and center as the entertainment for the patrons of those places with window seats.

You see a variety of parking styles and I’m sure they somehow fit the personality of the drivers. I admire folks who boldly charge headfirst into a parking space and then spend 5 minutes trying to jockey the car into position. Others wisely choose to parallel park only if there are at least two spaces. Even with the extra space, it’s still a challenge to avoid having a passenger door blocked by a trash can, a tree, a sign post or a snow bank. My favorite is the person trying to park in a space that is obviously too small. The twisting and turning and probably the teeth grinding can go on for what seems like forever as the traffic on Xenia Ave. backs up all the way to Glen St.

How did parking get so complicated? I think it has something to do with our declining math skills. When I started driving my dad had me cut out a 30/60 right triangle with a hypotenuse of about 5 inches and tape it to the dashboard. He told me to back into the space until the hypotenuse is parallel to the curb, then straighten the wheels and continue backing until the base of the triangle is perpendicular to the curb. If you don’t get basic geometry, you can’t park a car – seems simple enough to me.

The other day I explained this parking technique to my wife and at the same time demonstrated how smoothly and easily I could handle parallel parking in front of Tom’s. I finished with a big “Voila! What do you think of that?”

Her comment was, “It’s ok, I can walk the rest of the way to the curb.”

A. Reader

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