So, we all know that I can’t drive very well. I’ve never gotten a ticket, but that’s probably because I don’t actually drive fast enough to register as a moving object on police radar guns. I’ve also never gotten into a wreck. (Well, except for this summer when a chunk of tire from some blowout accosted my front bumper on I-45; who knew that a seemingly harmless piece of rubber could cause so much damage?) But, technically speaking, I’ve never gotten into a wreck.
I’ve never really learned to park, either. When my mom was teaching me how to drive in the high school parking lot, she would say “If you have to parallel park, it’s not a good parking spot,” pointing me to the empty spots at the far, far end of the lot. I figured that she was probably right, and resigned myself to a lifetime of leaving my car in the dark corners of parking lots and getting big calf muscles while I walked to wherever I needed to go.
Here at UT, they have very different ideas about what constitutes a good parking space. Basically, any open sliver of curb is up for grabs, as long as you have the correct permit, and it’s not between 7:45 and 5:45 on weekdays.
On Friday evening, after going to Player’s with some friends, I decided to park my car by my dorm so I could run up and get a few things from my room before I headed to Beth’s house to spend the night. That was a bad idea.
On my way to Littlefield, I passed a man with some dogs. I got so excited, I pulled over and asked him if I could pet his dogs. He said I could. They were so cute! Their names were Bobby and Max, and they licked my face. Petting them was fun, but it made me miss Buddy, and think about maybe never seeing him again. There was a lump in my throat, but I was determined not to cry. After I got back into my car, the Longhorn Band walked by, playing Wabash. It was all over then. Seeing the cymbal line and the drum majors made me think about high school marching band, and I just started sobbing.
None if this would have been that bad, except when I got to Littlefield, there were no far corners of the parking lot. In fact, there was no parking lot at all- just little partitions of curb on the side of the street. I realized with dread that I did not know how to park on the side of the street, but I decided to give it my best shot anyway. I pulled half-way into a spot between two HUGE trucks. “I have a small car,” I thought. “This will be easy.”
I scooched in and out of the little spot for like 10 minutes before the police officer came. He apparently had been watching me wriggle my car around in the space, trying to get closer to the curb.
“What are you doing?” he asked me when he pulled up next to the car.
“Trying to parallel park,” I said. He stopped his car and got out and came to talk to me.
“Are you sober?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, and started to cry. “It’s just that I really miss my puppy, and I am not good at parking.” I blubbered for about 10 more seconds, and I can’t really remember exactly what I told him.
Long story short, the police officer told me to get out of the car and proceeded to park it for me. Then he gave me a referral to the mental health clinic.(!) When I asked him if he was going to give me a ticket, he said, “I can’t give you a ticket for not knowing how to drive.”
Sigh. How humiliating. Basically, I’m crazy and I can’t drive. Will they give me a deduction on my insurance if I go to the mental health clinic? Too bad the counselor’s office doesn’t work like defensive driving.
I will concede that getting a little card about depression from the police officer is much better than getting an expensive ticket from the police officer, even though it was really embarrassing.
I don’t think I’ll be visiting any psychiatrist’s office, but at least I won’t be visiting the parking violations office either.