Parking In the Lines. Or Not.

We got to the farm early, since the kids were up before dawn and by 9am they were about to burn the house down.
 
I hadn’t been here before and was hesitant to let my little guys know we were at a farm where they could see animals and run around, lest it be a let down. So the one who could talk kept buggering me with a hundred questions, “What is this place” “Can we get out of the car now” “I have to pee and I’m thirsty and my finger hurts and my shoes are on the wrong feet I love you mommy is that a duck over there?”
 
I drove around the parking lot looking for a human to ask what the deal was since I wasn’t sure that today was actually a holiday worthy of closing the petting zoo, or just a pretend holiday when they just close the schools and don’t deliver the mail. I noticed another car driving slowly into the lot, the mommy-driver peeking around to see if anyone was looming around who could provide some information. She stopped at the entrance to what looked like the office, and ostensibly found a human; I stayed in the warm car and watched her. She skipped back to her minivan, moved it to a parking spot, and unloaded her kids.
 
Great, I thought, so it’s a deal. I put my car in park, unloaded my kids, and off we went.
 
It was a great time we had at the petting zoo farm.  We petted every furry and feathery creature, got barked at and squawked at, licked, stepped in poo, changed diapers, took photos, laughed a lot. Time to go home for naptime, dragging pumpkins and sore butts from an exceedingly bumpy hayride, and we made our way back to the parking lot. The parking lot was packed and nearly unrecognizable as the empty lot it was hours ago. When we got closer to the area I left the car, I saw what looked like our car splayed across six parking spots, diagonal, crosswise, messing up all the order of the lot and leaving people to stare and comment, not to mention block out several spaces for people wishing to park close to the entrance, because they have young kids and strollers. It looked ridiculous.
 
I pushed the stroller past the car. Mortified, I realized that in circling the lot when it was empty, hours ago, I never parked in the lines. *I never parked in the lines.*
 
I took the kids on another long walk, circling the lot, hoping no one would see us when we returned to the ridiculously-parked car. We finally trudged back to the car after my 3-year old kept asking why we were walking around in circles in the parking lot. I just took a deep breath and rushed like hell to unload the pumpkins and rocks collected on our journey, take the diaper bag out of the stroller, fold the stroller and hoist it in the back, load each kid in their meticulously buckled seat, give each a toy and a book and a kiss, and jump in the driver’s seat, shut the door, pull my hat down, and fumble for a good 5 minutes to find the keys at the bottom of my bag. All the while avoiding the scowling glances and silent “Booooooo’s” from the other families gawking at my retarded parking job.
 
“I’m not a complete dick, you know!” I wanted to shout as I spun out of there. But I didn’t want to draw more attention to myself. The attendant at the entrance stopped me on the way out and barked about how could I park like that, it’s selfish, dangerous, yadda yadda yadda. I rolled up the window midway into his scolding, muttered a little “Fuck Off,” and left.
 
“Mommy why are you driving so fast?” Malachy asked.
 
“I didn’t follow the rules and I parked outside the lines.”
 
“But you always tell me it’s ok to color outside the lines. I can still do that, right?”
“Oh, sure, buddy, coloring outside the lines is cool. Apparently parking outside the lines is not.”
“You’re not making any sense, mommy. It’s either inside or outside the lines. You can’t do both.” 
I wish I had a lesson for him, other than try not to say Fuck Off to the parking attendant.
Smart kid
 

~ by yearzerowriters on October 16, 2009.

5 Responses to “Parking In the Lines. Or Not.”

  1. This reads like something that actually happened to you – I know a few moms who could relate.🙂

  2. Those little humiliations, like parking in the wrong place, or making a mistake in traffic, a mistake that no sane person would ever make – don’t they get under your skin? This tale had me hooked from the first sentence. Welcome to Year Zero – I’m looking forward to reading your work. -Larry

  3. Yay Jen welcome and what a corker of a tale to begin with. I could feel the exasperation seeping through my computer vomitor. The little quotidian humiliations that confront us with life/society’s ‘painted lines’ against the crystal clear perspective of the child still relatively unsullied by society’s strictures. Lines are lines are lines. Except when they’re not. When they’re not backed up with powerfully cathected prohibitions about crossing them.

    More please.

  4. Damn, keep forgetting to own up to my comments. It was Marc (in case you didn’t know).

    Shuffles off tail between legs and a roseola flushing cheeks…

  5. Thank you, DJ, Larry, and of course I knew it was you, Marc–cathected? I’d like to keep Malachy and the other one, Kelty, free from parking in the proverbial lines. I wish I could have laughed at this incident at the time!

    So glad to be here, thank you all. My style may be scrappier than you literererererary folk, but I think we’ll all challenge each other which will make us better thinkers and writers.

    best,
    jenn

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