Bailey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day7:30 AM
You might have heard the story of me ending up near tears in the Country Store parking lot due to some driving malfunction. That earned me Skittles from a sympathetic mother. Most definitely you recall the tale of me holding up half the traffic of Clintonville because I was too scared to turn left while a white semi trundled towards me. That got me a shake.
If so, you will know the outcome of this next incident: a Hardee's chocolate shake - with whipped cream. It was that horrible an experience.
It all came about because I decided that trying to parallel park in the dead of night down creepy dark roads with the chance of being arrested for suspicious activity was not my cup of tea. (That's another story.) Truthfully, it's the DOD's fault for making parallel parking an essential tenet of good driving. Who parallel parks when they could easily pull up behind the car or drive around Main Street five times until a spot opens up? If people would consult my opinion more, these sorts of tragedies would not happen.
In any case, I had to learn to parallel park and I had to learn it fast before my driving instructor got tired of nagging me. Since I haven't made a very good impression on her, that was the least I could do. How handy, then, that I had my brother home from Marine boot camp. It had made him fearless enough that he only thought twice before climbing into the back of the Taurus with me at the helm.
First of all, I nearly turned down a one way street, the opposite way. Then, parked at the Country Store again, I witnessed verbal abuse of a driver who did what I was lucky enough not to do. That is to say, a tough Wisconsin old lady cursed and yelled, "What are you driving the wrong way for?!" at the unfortunate person barrelling down the one way street. Needless to say, tolerance is not practiced much in driving.
I was terrified.
The first attempt at parallel parking did not ease my terror. A grumpy old guy in a beat up truck couldn't understand why I was trying to parallel park behind a car I could easily pull up behind. He drove into his driveway. So much for him. But when I was still trying to parallel park at the same car and he came out again, he mouthed something rather nasty to poor, sweet me. What it was, I couldn't tell. There are benefits to being a sheltered homeschooler.
Were you interested in how my parking went? I ended up squeezed against the curb. Second time? I think that was the one parked two feet from the curb. Third time? I parked crooked. Fourth time? I got stuck on the curb and couldn't get out without ending up on the sidewalk.
That might have been before or after I almost t-boned the vehicle in the intersection. I had the yield sign.
I was almost crying.
"You want to practice straight line backing?" my brother asked, collected behind his sunglasses. I hypothesize that if I get some bug-eyed aviator glasses, I might be cool and calm too. Just a guess.
So we drove through town to get to his favorite straight line backing spot. Before that, however, we stopped at a stop sign at one of the worst intersections in town. After barely settling myself in for a long wait, a big something-or-other pulled up behind us, music cranked to WARNING level. Folks, we sat there ten minutes watching cars pass and suffering from brain concussions every half-second. And the guy had the gall to honk at me because I wasn't moving.
During that time, the people playing volleyball across the street lost their ball. It bounced into the road, got traumatized and caused a bunch of cool looking guys (with sunglasses) to panic.
We finally got across to our destination. Straight line backing was the one thing I did right that day.
"Where do you want to go to next?" my mother asked.
And so we did, until our Marine wanted to drive.
"Just turn down any side road and you can switch."
"You're running out of side roads."
"You're running out of side roads."
And the driveway I turned into had this sign staked in the grass: PRIVATE DRIVE. DO NOT USE FOR TURNAROUND. CUSTOMERS ONLY.
Yep. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.