I’m late. Must park. *slows to crawl* Bingo – a space! Stomach clenches. Don’t balls this one up. Just reverse in. No pressure. I only have 30 cars behind me and a bolshy white van man up my arse. Oh God, I’ve got the angle all wrong. *hits kerb* I’m basically at right angles to the pavement. Break out in sweat.
At this point I should reposition the car, give it another go and I would probably manage it. But I don’t. Can’t bear the humiliation of a double fault in front of an (impatient) audience. The mortification. So I abort mission and beetle off to find some quiet side road miles away where I can do the cack-handed deed far from prying eyes. I’m too proud to park.
I’ve been trying to park for 25 years and just can’t nail it. My biggest parking fear? Not scraping the paintwork or running over a commuter. It’s being the woman whose 20-minute parking horror show gets filmed by incredulous onlookers, put on YouTube and goes viral. It happens. I mean this is a world where bad parking even has its own Twitter handle (@worldsworstparking if you must). My ultimate driving fantasy is me as Parking Ninja. “There’s no space too small,” they’d say in awe. “She could park on a sixpence.” Maybe it’s the car. I’d be fine in one of those little Fiats. Parking sensors would help. I know, I’ll get up early and practise when the streets are empty.
Until then please don’t yell annoying things at me like, “Hard on your left!” or “Pull down!” while gesturing like a loon. Don’t even think of drawing me the parallel parking diagram. And please. I beg. If I’m coming over and you hear me revving and screeching outside, don’t open your front door until I’ve parked. If I can’t have parking prowess at least let me have my dignity.