#512 That guy who helps you parallel park

I suck at parallel parking.

Honestly, just look at me out there: tire-scraping, curb-bumping, seven-point turning in the middle of the busy downtown street. Yes, that’s why I always breathe a massive sigh of relief when someone stops by to lend me a hand:

1. Airport Crew Chief. Strap a neon vest and giant earmuffs on this gal because she’s straight off the landing strip. If you’re lucky she’ll stand in your side mirror and use that beautiful two-hands-getting-closer-together technique.

2. The Extremist. Dude’s got no middle ground. He’s an extreme screamer who’s favorite lines are “Back back back back back ba STOP!” and “Lots of space lots of space lots of — you’re on the curb.”

3. Mr. Measures. This teacher’s straight outta the portables and all about the accuracy. He’ll be dusting chalk off his hands while inspecting your bumper and calling out “You’ve still got four inches.”

Yes, we sure love these kind sidewalk souls. Without their help we’d be craning our necks and twisting our spines so it’s great when they pop on by to help us pop on in.


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“Loving The Book of Awesome right now!  Completely enjoyed chillin’ on the couch last night while cracking up and reading some of it (okay, most of it) to my husband. Also left a little extra awesome in one of the books at the store yesterday… see if anyone finds it!

That’s our daughter in the pictures (she’s three).  She ran wildly through the rooms of our home holding the book high above her head yelling “AWESOME” over…and over…and over again. She then proceeded to point out each and every picture to me.  Eventually, when I asked for it back she reminded me of how important it is to ‘share’.  Love that kid!  I may pick her up her own copy.” – Bekkah

Photo from: here and here

50 thoughts on “#512 That guy who helps you parallel park

  1. God bless these people.

    My parents are definitely the micromanaging extremists, and you have their dialogue down pat. Also including (but not limited to):

    “Woah. Woah! WoahwoahwoahWOAHWOOOAH!!”

    “Okay now just…just a little-HOLD ON. Wait. Just…j-j-just, yeah…yeah STOP!!!”

    “Turn off the damn car, let me do it.”

    That last one is definitely one of the more popular ones.

    1. I’m guilty of all of those. Usually in that order too. My older brothers cannot parallel park to save their lives….so it usually ends up in me telling them to get out and let me do it. LOL

    2. Those are some awesome quotes. You somehow managed to convey the actual sound of someone saying those things perfectly in written text. Love it.

      I’m the terrible parallel parker in my marriage, so I am too often on the receiving end of that type of “encouragement”.

  2. I love parallel parking so I’m often that person, which is awesome, too. Seriously, I have parallel parked cars of people I don’t know. It was a little terrifying, but oh so satisfying.

    1. On more than one occasion, I have done it for my friends. We pull a curbside Chinese fire drill and I pop that thing in there.

      Which makes me feel …. awesome.

  3. YES! This definitely just made my night :) I had an elderly lady give me parking directions the other day when I was backing up (I scraped the back curb stop the first try) – she nodded approvingly after I got out and gave me a “much better”.

  4. My younger sister was visiting my house in the Bronx for the first time and was trying to park in front. A guy approached and offered to help… She was of course slightly wary. He revealed himself to be an undercover cop and then helped her parallel park! Just another reason I *heart* NY!

  5. The only time I have ever parallel parked was for my exam. I did awesome! There’s not many opportunities to do my awesome parking around here. I am the person who helps others park. I’m sort of a combination of ‘the extremist’ and ‘Mr(s) Measures.’ I do examine and measure how much room is left…but I yell it like crazy. I get all excited when I can help someone parallel park. If the time comes and I have to parallel park, I hope someone will come and help me.

    1. It is exciting to help people. They are usually very gracious and thankful for some assistance; parallel parking IS stressful, especially if you’re clogging traffic in the process! Or trying to wedge in to that really tiny space …

    1. You are definitely NOT a loser but I highly recommend learning just so you can try to learn to parallel park. It is a horribly awful experience that will leave you (and your car) scarred for life. But so AWESOME!

  6. Ha ha! I love the 3 profiles of helpers! Back in the olden days when I was learning to drive, cars had big-ass trunks and huge ‘ole hoods, so it was even trickier! You really had no idea how far behind you that trunk was stretching on…and on.

    Your 3rd profile, “Mr. Measure” could have been written about my dad. And he was actually a teacher, to boot! I do remember him giving measurements, for sure. Another thing he did when teaching us to drive would be to yell “Ease off, ease off!” if we were approaching a rural stop sign too fast.

    1. Yeah, I drove my grandma’s car once to get gas for her … she has a biiiig old car, so I experienced for the first time the never-ending hood and back bumper (though luckily I did NOT have to parallel park it!)

      I learned to drive in a huge SUV … I found out once I got a regular sized car that if I could drive/park that SUV, I could drive/park anything.

      I feel like my dad STILL says stuff like that to me. Thank you, backseat driver.

      1. I took my drivers test in my ‘boat’ car, as I called it. It was humongous. It was a 1990 Chevy Carpice. Besides my mom’s SUV, it was the biggest car I ever drove.

        1. Aaaand, while we’re strolling down memory lane, here’s the closest I could find to the car I drove around when I was in school. Only ours was 4-door and forest green. 1976 or 1977. My dad bought it from the junkyard, and rebuilt it as a labour of love for my mom. (who would rather have had him at home with her than out tinkering with a car! But she never told him that.) Anyway, I thought it was cool, and she let me borrow it a lot.


        2. My second car was a ’91 Thunderbird…not huge, but nowhere near small. Hell to parallel park in. Then I got my Wrangler–I loved that thing. Could park and turn on a dime!

  7. Okay, I know this is not an option for everyone, but it is so incredibly AWESOME, I can’t not say it: my latest car has a rear-view camera!!! And parallel parking is a breeze when you have a frickin’ CAMERA showing you every inch of space between you and the car behind you. Sorry, had to share!

  8. I’m that person. Hunni and I have a 12 passenger van for work and he always makes me parallel park it. But when I’m the director I’m the measurer :-)

  9. (A minor comment to Bekkah: you’re gonna respond to her enthusiasm for sharing by getting her… her own copy? Way to quash the spirit :P )

  10. *to the email message*
    i might have found your secret message of awesomeness.
    which store did you leave it in ?

  11. I was in my local bookstore on Saturday and asked the vendeuse where the Book of Awesome was as it wasn’t on the front table with the rest of the non-fiction bestsellers.

    She brought me to a back corner and showed me three copies low down on a self-help section.

    I showed her the Globe bestseller list pinned up on her bulletin board and she moved all three up to the front of the store.

    She may have put them away and called the cops after I left…

    1. I went to a major book selling chain, that shall remain nameless, to pick up my very own Book of Awesome. Anywho, after searching the new releases, staff picks, humor, non-fiction, poetry, etc. I gave up and finally asked a staff member. He said, and I quote, “Oh I think we have some of them. They’re in the “back”. I’ll go get one for you.” So he comes back 10min later with ONE for me. ONE! Never you mind that he could have bothered to put the rest out. I put the awesomeness down and left. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it from there.

  12. I will walk like three miles and pay for the parking before I parallel park. I get anxiety just thinking about it.

  13. BTW, am I the only one who has to turn off the car radio and sometimes unbuckle to parallel park? Just me? OK.

      1. I do that. I didn’t think it was weird until hubby asked me what I was doing and why I couldn’t look for the place with the radio on. I don’t know….its just how I roll.

  14. I didn’t think much of this when I woke up. So the day went on and I went to work. This was my first day driving a truck like the biggest Uhaul trucks. I had not seen the training/safety videos and have never even been in the truck. So as I make it to the party, here comes the time for me to parallel park it :o I was terrified, then this man came out of nowhere and helped me. So i thanked him and went on my way.

  15. I love it when you can see the reflection of your car and the car behind you in a shop window when you parallel park and confidently reverse with high precision.

  16. Hey,

    Love your blog, so inspiring :)
    how’s this for an awesome thing: a new package of freshly sharpened pencils
    just saying :)

  17. On an icy day in Chicago, I fit into the tightest spot imaginable. As I was admiring my work, I wanted to make sure that I’d actually be able to get out…my mom always said, “if you can get in the space, you can get out of it.” Guess what, there was ice along the edges of my tires and I was STUCK. The van behind me was a drapery service vehicle. I called the number and the driver came down from a high rise to back up and let me out. Awesome. Lucky. Thankful. I wound up having a great night.

  18. I used to go for breakfast with a work friend, and we always had to find a parking space outside the little restaurant. Trust me, parallel parking on the narrow streets of Hong Kong is no easy task. One morning, my friend simply couldn’t do it. A bunch of cab drivers came out and gave instruction. After 5 minute, one couldn’t bear it anymore and got my friend out of her car and parked it perfectly in 30 sec!

  19. My driver’s license exam man TAUGHT me how to parallel park. I wasn’t very good at it at all, ( I don’t do backwards); he said, “You won’t need this much anyway”, and half way through the trial run said, “Good enough, let’s move along now then shall we,” as he laughed!
    He was right, I never did need it much, but you’re all right too… when in need, it’s awesome to find someone who knows it and is willing to help out:)

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