posted by Joe Anaya on February 22nd, 2015

Whenever I’m driving my wife’s car and we arrive in a parking lot, I can’t make a move without her say so. Left alone I obviously have plenty of experience choosing a parking spot and going about my day. But through years of arbitrary rules, capricious enforcement of said rules, and the unparalleled potential wrath for breaking a rule, it isn’t worth the risk of making a decision on my own. I am an Iraqi general paralyzed by fear as the Americans come storming down the road. Fear not of the impending enemy but of Saddam’s reaction to a “bad” decision. It’s better to just sit at the entrance and be overrun by honks and dirty looks of drivers waiting for me to move while she decides where she wants to park the car. People behind me be damned. They’ll only hate me for a few seconds; my wife can make the next hour a living hell.

Here’s the latest encounter. We’re headed to a movie and get to the parking lot. I stop and say, “Where do you want to go?” She replies with impatience, “Just park the car.” I start to drive closer to the theater and I see her glancing around. “Where do you want to park?” Again she says through gritted teeth, “Just get us there.” I turn left and she lets out an audible sigh. “Okay, you’re making all these noises. Clearly you have a vision of where to park.” She denies having a vision and infers that she’s frustrated because I’m just too indecisive. “Indecisive! I’m indecisive because you have all these rules on how to park.” “No I don’t,” she responds with incredulous indignation.

“Yes you do,” wafts from the back seat. Apparently, through years of sitting in the back, my 10-year-old son has been listening to our conversations and innocently jumps into the fray. “Park close, but don’t park next to anyone. Park in the shade, but not under a tree that sheds. And don’t take too long.” (Must remember to take him to doughnuts when mom’s not around.)

She glares at me, as if to suggest that I coached him some how. I shake my head denying any involvement in that spontaneous and gloriously accurate recitation of “the rules.” “Fine, just park anywhere.” In an act of bravery or naïve stupidity, my son has set me free. It was like the Magna Carta and Emancipation Proclamation rolled into one. I confidently move forward.

“But not next to that big truck.” Okay, it was more like a stay of execution-that got countermanded.

originally posted 9/19/11

File Under King of the Castle