Friday, January 22, 2010

on parking

Let me tell you a story about the harrowing hour I had on Tuesday.

It was the hour between 5:30 and 6:30. It all began when I arrived home to find another john parked in my parking space in front of the house.

Before I continue this story, I should probably explain why I have called this unknown driver a john. It’s simple, really. I think one of the neighbors in the apartments next door must be a prostitute. How else would you explain the large variety of cars that appear in my parking space for an evening and then are never seen again? Seems pretty obvious to me.

But anyway, one of these mystery cars was in my parking space. Or, well, it was very close to my parking space. The remaining area was rather small and I am not very good at parking. My anger level instantly rose from a two to an eight. There was, of course, off street parking available. You know, the off street parking that was an absolute requirement when I was looking at houses. The off street parking that was one of the selling points of this house. But why in the world would I ever park there when there should be a perfectly good parking space right in front of my house? Maybe I will feel more inclined to park back there when there are not 50 mph winds gusting the freezing cold into my face. Maybe then I will be willing to walk across my entire backyard. Until then, though, I demand parking in front of my house.

But alas, I had no choice this day. As I drive down the alley, I saw that Chris had not pulled very far into our parking area. I noticed this, but did not really take time to consider what it might mean. Instead, I sped in blindly, getting about halfway before my tires started spinning. Rather than stopping and attempting to back out while there was still time, I floored it, sending mud flying everywhere. Seriously, there is even mud on my windshield.

I must have been making quite a racket, because I drew Chris to the window. I saw a look of horror come across his face before he disappeared from the window and came running out into the yard, not even bothering to put shoes on.

“Stop!” he cried. “It is too muddy!”

Yes. I had noticed this.

When he saw the terrible trouble I had gotten myself into, he went back inside and put on his shoes. He tried pushing for a while as I tried to back up, but to no avail. Finally he told me to get out, that he would have a try. I was skeptical, but I got out anyway. When I did, I was distressed to find that my tires were actually half submerged in the mud. Like, seriously. I didn’t think that car was ever coming out. But lo and behold, he did it. He backed that car right out of there. It was amazing. I got back in and he went out front to direct me into the tiny parking space. With his assistance, I managed to squeeze in. I made sure to park as close to the mystery man as I could without actually hitting him. I hope he had a really hard time getting out of that space.

Finally, after much hardship, we went back inside. Chris had gotten out of work early, so he had told me he was going to cook something for dinner. That “something” was frozen Chicken Kievs and au gratin potatoes from a box. Not exactly the home-cooked meal I had been expecting, but hey, at least we would be eating at a relatively decent time. He had put these things in the oven just as I had pulled up out back, so they were merrily cooking along as we sat down in the living room to relax after the strenuous activity outside.

I noticed a strange sizzling sound coming from the kitchen, but I didn’t think anything of it until Chris lept up from his computer chair, muttering some sort of obscenity, and dashed into the kitchen. When he turned on the light, I could see the smoke billowing from the room, beautifully illuminated by the sterile fluorescent glow.

Almost as if on cue, the smoke alarm started going off. This is nothing out of the ordinary; that smoke alarm goes off if you even think about something warm. We call it the Delicious Food Detector, because it usually alerts us when our food is perfectly cooked. Not so much, this time.

Chris opened the oven door and more smoke poured out. Nothing was on fire; it was just very very smokey. I opened the side door so that the smoke would have somewhere to go, but it didn’t do much good. So I started fanning it with some unopened mail that had been sitting on the kitchen table. Just as it finally stopped shrieking, the alarm at the top of the stairs started up. As soon as I go that on quieted down, the one in the kitchen began anew. So there I was, running up and down the stairs, laughing like some sort of retard. I just found the situation really funny. And besides, running up and down the stairs was a fun way to get some exercise.

This went on for quite some time, since Chris didn’t want to leave the door hanging open. He was afraid that the cats might get out. He had nothing to worry about, though, since Mutz slept through the entire thing and Morgaine was firmly wedged between some boxes under the art room table.

Chris eventually removed the battery from the kitchen alarm (I have to remind him to put that back, come to think of it…) and the upstairs alarm eventually grew tired of bothering us. And that is the story of my traumatic hour.

Wow, this got rather long. Probably I should just write a book.