Yesterday I had a quintessential NYC experience – parking the car.
I leave my 1999 5-speed Chevy pick up truck at our place in Montauk. It’s a local car, with roll up windows, a cassette player, and rust ingrained in every orifice. But I love her (yes, the truck is a female and her name is Betty). When I got married I told my husband Bob that what’s mine is his, except for Betty – she is MINE (photo attached).
As we shut down the cottage for the season, we decided to give Betty a break from the rust-inducing salt-water air and bring her to my mother in law’s in NJ for the winter.
In the 8 years that I’ve had Betty, she has barely left Montauk, so I was nervous. Would she fall apart crossing the Hudson River? Would all that traffic scare her? What happens if she goes over 60 mph?
The sunset sent us off in style, with pinks, oranges and yellows. Every bump sent Betty’s rickety shocks bouncing – but she loved it. She ran smoothly, and I was feeling encouraged.
I was to drive her most of the way, and then we would switch cars and Bob would take her to Jersey.
If Bob (who impatiently drives 40K miles per year, changing lanes multiple times a trip to save literally 2 seconds) was cursing me out for only driving 60 mph, he never let on. Not even when we stopped three times along the trip. I loved him for how gentle he treated my anxiety around the situation!
When we switched cars, he was off like a shot, me wiping a tear from my eye as I adjusted the seat forward in his Ford SUV and watched Betty disappear. I was going to miss Betty.
Our Plan: Bob would drop off the truck, take public transportation home, and meanwhile I would park his car in our neighborhood. I quickly and proudly secured a fabulous spot just around the block from the apartment.
All was going to plan, until Bob called saying he was zonked and spending the night in Jersey. Darn, I had parked by a school and was going to have to move the car before 7:00 a.m.!
Prayers for someone to move their car from the “Tuesday side of the street” went unanswered. I fruitlessly circled for 20 minutes, and re-parked knowing I would have to sit in the car from 11:00 – 12:30 while the street cleaners did their duty.
At 11:00 a.m. I lugged my computer and hot spot into the car and worked as I waited. Once the Zamboni-looking cleaner came and went, the parked drivers settled into position.
Lost in my work, I was startled to see the woman from the parked car in front of me at my window. She had plenty of room in front of and behind her, but wanted me to move back even further. If I did so, we would be hogging three spots – not good parking etiquette for sure!
She resisted my request to instead have us both move up, making space for someone to park behind me. Reluctantly she eventually acquiesced, and within minutes a happy driver did indeed park behind me.
Upon leaving our vehicles at 12:30, she kindly acknowledged that she wasn’t thinking clearly during our earlier exchange, and was glad I encouraged her to move up.
It got me thinking about how important it is to make space for others. To move forward, instead of backward. How by creating space, we make room for possibilities and people in our lives.
We all need space at times, and it’s important to know when to give it, and when to ask for it.
Please take a few moments to think about what happens when you allow yourself a bit of space: In your body by taking a few cleansing full breaths. In your work by stepping away for 5 minutes for a meal, or creativity. In your relationship by supporting your significant other in something he/she wants to do that doesn’t necessarily include you.
What can the space you create be used for, and what’s stopping you from “moving up a bit”?
Perhaps you can find a great spot with it!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™
P.S. On this Veteran’s Day, please remember those who serve.