Late in the comments yesterday, someone asked me to share my parallel-parking secret. I’m happy to. In the interest of clarity, I will dispense with the stuff about safety and signals and all that. You’re a grownup, you know how to drive. This is just about the raw technique, OK?
1) Pull up even with the car ahead. About two feet away, more or less.
2) Look over your right shoulder and back up straight until the parked car’s rear bumper is even with the roof support behind your back seat. (This was easier in the ’70s when all cars were boxes, but the proportions are still there. When the bumper is just ahead of your rear tires, if that’s clearer.) Stop and crank the wheel all the way to the right.
3) Switch your focus to your driver’s side outside rear-view mirror and start backing again. As soon as you see the curbside headlight of the car behind, turn your wheel to the left two full turns.
At this point the technique starts to vary depending on your vehicle’s size, but after the two-turn move, keep turning left while continuing to back up, and with any luck at all, you should find yourself parallel to the curb well within the one-foot range. Eight out of 10 times it works for me the first time. When it doesn’t it’s usually because I’ve rushed it. Rushing it is one of my big failings as a human being. Now you know.
The biggest mistake most people make is starting the turn into the space too soon. (If you have one of those cars with nothing behind the back seat, you might want to play around with this formula a bit, although it’s worked fine on hatchbacks I’ve owned.) Or they try to go in head-first — big mistake. Take your time, leave yourself room, and don’t be intimidated if you have to slow traffic for 12 seconds or so. It’ll wait.
Reverse all the motions if you’re parking on the left side of a one-way street, or in the U.K. or Japan.
By the way, I got 100 on the parking portion of my driving test, way back in the year 16.
Not a terrible day yesterday. Had lunch out, in a restaurant, with a waitress, rather than the usual standing-up-at-the-sink model of the work-at-home freelancer, so that was a plus. The snow was pretty and more or less entirely cleared by the time I set out, another big win, as the kids say. I found a parking spot on Woodward directly in front of the place, which I backed into with great smoothness and elan. And then I came home to discover my health insurance is holding me responsible for a portion of the cost of the flu shots I received a few weeks back, to the tune of $.01.
I know how these things happen. Computers can’t judge. All they see is, if you owe, you get a bill. And I owe a penny.
I’m ignoring it, by the way. I plan to wreck my credit score over this. Or else I’ll spend 42 cents to mail them a penny, so they can then reply that they don’t accept cash payments. When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.
So, a little bloggage? Sure, why not:
Jim at Sweet Juniper once observed that one of the cool things about Detroit is, frequently there’s nobody around to tell you you can’t do something. A couple of my filmmaking friends went out during the snowstorm and discovered how true that is:
My role as a parent requires me to disapprove of this behavior, although I am relieved to see Sean put on a helmet and wrist guards (guffaw) before snow-surfing behind a car with another car following closely behind, and then running a stop sign. Doesn’t the Detroit ghet-toe have a marvelously creepy feeling at 1 a.m.? And no, I don’t know what that strange cutaway at the 30-second mark is.
While we’re posting video, here’s one Hank found, from the fittingly named website, I Love Local Commercials. Although I think that lady buck is actually a donkey:
Yes, I saw the newly released 9/11 photos. I don’t know what there is to say about them other than, that sure was a bad day.
It’s been a great week for weather clichés. Here’s one Alan hates: “the white stuff.” Which leads me to wonder: During the Dust Bowl years, did meteorologists call for “the brown stuff?”
OK, I’m flailing. Have a good day, all.