“Okay, Mary, we’re just going to park. That’s all we need to do. Yes, the cars are building up behind us, but don’t panic. We’ve got this! We just need to leave this motor vehicle on this road in a way that does not obstruct traffic. Or a driveway. Or leave anything wedged under your tyre. Particularly something that will scratch the underside of your car. Or sue you.”
This is not a comic monologue. This is me. Talking to myself last Monday. Desperately trying to fit my sedan between two other cars on the side of the road in a manoeuvre the RTA likes to call a ‘reverse Parallel Park.’ I prefer to call it ‘Satan.’
Hello there. My name is Mary. And I am an absolutely rubbish parker.
I should preface this by saying that I am not necessarily a bad or dangerous driver. Quite the opposite, in fact. I could probably win an award for being the most boring driver in the country. I drive at 55 in a 60 zone, check my blind spot like there’s a chance it’s cancerous and indicate off even the smallest roundabouts in the most isolated locations.
But I just cannot reverse park.
I do plenty of stupid things to avoid leaving my car on a street that I can’t guarantee will be totally empty. Two and a half hours on public transport instead of a forty minute drive? Awesome! What an opportunity for adventure. What, you want to go to a trendy laneway eatery? You know, the food court at Westfield is really great and, hey, did I mention that they have a huge carpark with 90° bays? Sign me up!
My problem is probably the result of a few things. Living in an area with a relatively low population density and a relatively high number of new houses is one of them.
Who needs to fit their car into a tricky spot when an abundance of double-garages has left the streets completely free? I frequently crawl up a whole street, gradually angling my car until – around 25m along – I find that I am an adequate distance from the kerb to park it and walk away.
Having a car bonnet that slopes away at the front is another issue. (I mean, asking ‘how far away is the car in front’ is sort of like asking ‘how many fiances has J-Lo had?’, right?) Oh and did I mention that I am so blind that I only got my license because my optometrist wrote me a note explaining that I didn’t need to take the eye test because she had ‘independently tested’ me and declared me proficient (in what was a *cough* best of three *cough* examination.) No? Well, you didn’t hear it from me…
Whatever the reason that reverse parallel parks make me tremble with fear, I was relieved to find out that I’m not alone.
This is from the Daily Mail
“Nearly a third of women will change their driving plans to avoid having to parallel park their car at the end of their journey – twice the rate of men, an AA report reveals today.
Overall one in six (16 per cent) of drivers admit they are not confident about parallel parking .
But there is a big split between the sexes – with a quarter (25 per cent) of women drivers saying they lack the confidence to parallel park, compared to just over 1 in 10 (11 per cent) of men.
Many drivers have even ‘blacklisted’ certain roads and car parks to avoid the manoeuvre.”
So, I guess I’m just a typical, rubbish, woman parker. Great. I love being a stereotype. Particularly a stereotype that runs along the lines of: ‘Girls are bad this really important thing that guys are really good at… Go guys.’
But what do you do when the stereotype is accurate? I am a woman. I am bad at parking my car. Should I embrace it or reject it? What about gay guys who relish in the effeminate? Brainy people of Asian descent? For goodness sake: what about white men who can’t dance?!
I don’t really know the answer. But, for the moment, I’ll just stick to parking my car my way. Read: at my house. In my garage. While I walk to the bus stop to begin another two and a half hour public transport adventure.
Mary is an intern at Mamamia, and a Media and Communications student from Sydney. She can do the splits, wiggle her ears and tell you who won Eurovision in 1973. You can follow her on Twitter here.
Are you a woman who can’t park? How about any other stereotype? Do you embrace it or reject it?