76. The Ideal Parking Spot

76. The Ideal Parking Spot

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters


The Ideal Parking Spot

The misfortunes of mankind are of varied plumage.

~Aeschylus

My husband, Frank, loves cars. It is just that simple… and that difficult. He talks about cars, he reads car magazines, he belongs to car clubs and he tenderly washes and waxes his cars… by hand using only special soaps and cloths. And he has rules: no eating in the car, no drinking in the car (well water is okay but only on long trips), don’t take the car through a car wash, and try your very best not to park in parking lots. This last rule is a little bit flexible because sometimes the only available parking is in a lot. But, if you must park in a lot, park as far away from other cars as possible so that no one opens his car door and dings the side of our car.

It was a nice summer day. We had a date to meet some friends for lunch. Frank got the car ready—tires, windows, mirrors and all—and then we drove off. We checked the streets in the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant for parking, but with nothing available, and following his rules, we pulled into a parking lot and parked as far away from everyone and everything as possible. No cars were on either side of us and no cars were in front or in back of us. We were safe. That also meant that we were three long blocks away from the restaurant, but we walked fast and got there on time.

We had a nice relaxing lunch with our friends, said goodbye and started walking back to our car. Way off in the distance we could see it… his beautiful car. It was still by itself with no one nearby. What luck. Frank was so pleased; his precious car had enjoyed another dingless outing. Never mind that his precious wife was now limping in her dressy shoes because of the long distance between the restaurant and the car.

But, wait. Something was not right. Our car was a medium silver blue color. The car we were heading towards seemed to be a different color—kind of a creamy color. And wait. What was wrong with the windows? They seemed kind of opaque rather than the sparkling clear windows Frank had washed carefully before we left. Frank started to walk a little faster and then started to run towards his car. I did my best to keep up but soon I was half a block behind. I couldn’t see his face when he reached the car but I sure could hear him yelling. #&%$#!*%&*@*! or something to that effect.

I arrived at the car, huffing and puffing. And what did I see? Was it our car? Oh yes, it was our car and it was parked right where we left it—inconveniently far away. But… oh my… it was covered in pigeon poop! COVERED!! Can you picture it? Thick, gloppy, runny pigeon poop. What Frank hadn’t realized when he found his ideal spot was that he had parked beneath a whole host of electrical wires. And you know that birds love to congregate on wires. I think that while we were in the restaurant, a whole flock of pigeons, probably seventeen generations of them, had a family reunion on the wires above our car and then they let go with everything that they had. Do you think that was why we had this perfect dingless portion of the parking lot to ourselves?

It was a sight to behold. Frank couldn’t speak and was beyond being rational at that point. He was sputtering, spewing, yelling and was practically in tears. And I, his loving, devoted, understanding, caring wife was… in hysterics. This was the funniest thing I had ever seen.

Now I had been married to Frank long enough to know that the one thing you don’t do when he is upset is laugh. It’s best to just be quiet and let him process what is happening. I tried but… I couldn’t help myself. I was screaming with laughter. You know, the kind that comes from your toes and explodes. I was doubled over with laughter and gasping for breath.

We still had to get home. How? The front window was totally covered; there was no way to see so Frank could drive. Another question: how were we even going to get into the car? The doors were covered too. Frank checked and found that one of the back doors was not as bad as the others and so, using a tissue I found in my purse, he opened that door very carefully. We both got in and then we had to climb over the seat to get into the front. I was trying to control myself and was doing a pretty good job.

Then Frank turned on the windshield wipers and pigeon poop flew everywhere! It’s a good thing that no one was parked near us. Frank turned on the engine and slowly backed up, since he couldn’t see out the rear window either. Then we slowly made our way forward, out of the parking lot, onto the street and headed for home. Frank had to sit at a funny angle the whole way home in order to see out the front window through a tiny poop-free opening.

The ride home was slow, long and not very pleasant. Frank was mumbling to himself and I just kept my head bowed and stared at my knees. But every once in a while I would look up, try to look out the window, see all of that poop and just burst out laughing. Frank would mumble louder and say in his angry voice, “Barbara, it’s not funny.” Of course that made it even funnier and I’d laugh louder.

We did make it home. Frank immediately washed the car. The car survived the attack of the pigeon poop and so did our marriage. Every once in a while I’ll tell the story about the pigeon poop. It still makes me laugh. (I’m laughing right now.) Frank, on the other hand, still doesn’t find it amusing at all and still mumbles, “Barbara, it’s not funny.”

~Barbara LoMonaco

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