A Tight Fit

assorted plastic figures
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Getting a truck into a garage is not easy. It’s a tight fit on at least one side, and in my case that side is the wrong side. We have a two car garage and for years I zipped into the left side with my little Honda CRV. It was perfect for me in every conceivable way. I had tons of room to my right, and I was able to judge my distance from the wall to my left with ease. Besides the car was seemingly made to fit just right in the space. There was nary a problem getting in and out.

Then we decided to give that little car to my grandsons and learn to get by with one auto. After all we rarely go to different places at the same time, and it seemed to be a wise move for dealing with the over abundance of vehicles in our world. We kept our truck because it was newer and the means of pulling our trailer. The problem for me was that it didn’t fit on the side of the garage to which I had become accustomed. Husband Mike’s work bench on the left hand section of the garage made it impossible to get the truck all the way inside, so I had to learn how to navigate in a very narrow space with a wall on my far right. It has not been easy.

Mike hung a little red object from the ceiling to help me to orient myself. It not only gives me a way of determining if I am entering the confined space at approximately the best angle, but also tells be when it’s time to stop the truck lest I take out the back wall. It’s a challenge each time I drive inside, and on most occasions I just barely manage to get things right, even though my tendency is to lean a bit too far to the right.

I’ve just brushed the small shelf that juts out from the wall or almost knocked over the ladder that hangs from a hook. Once I took out a lightbulb on a Christmas decoration that lives along the perimeter for eleven months out of the year because it won’t fit through the opening to the attic. All in all, though, I’ve done fairly well even though entering the garage invariably stresses me out.

A few night ago I came home rather late after helping my grandsons review for a math test. I was tired and feeling a bit distracted, a fact that wasn’t helped by the fact that we just got new neighbors next door and I was craning my neck just a bit to see who they were. I didn’t take the usual precautions as I pulled forward into the opening and soon enough heard a crunch when the right side mirror hit the side of the garage. I no doubt would have been fine if I had simply kept moving forward but my brain was fried from the study session and I was thinking logically. I decided to try to back up and reorient the truck, a decision that resulted in the mirror getting jammed between the garage door frame and the body of the truck. At that point all reason seemed to leave me.

I got out and inspected the dilemma and truly had no idea what to do next. I imagined that if I just went forward I would take out every object hanging on the wall and do untold damage, so I slowly inched backward while I listened to the crunch of the mirror against the door frame and heard the crash of plastic as its backing fell to the floor. My only consolation was that the mirror was still attached to the body of the truck. Otherwise I had a mess that I knew would make Mike very unhappy and lead to questions as to how I got myself into such a pickle in the first place. I was not happy with myself as I adjusted my entry angle one more time and successfully eased the behemoth of a vehicle into the narrow space.

It was late so when Mike came out to welcome me back home my only comment was to mention that I may have buggered up the side mirror. Mike winced with one of those “what did you do now?” kind of expressions, but took my advice that we should just go to bed and think about the destruction tomorrow. Nothing was fatal, but I felt like an idiot and was a bit too tired to discuss my lack of advanced driving skills in the heat of the moment.

I found myself thinking back to my driving test of long ago. I failed the first go around because I knocked over the cones when attempting to parallel park. I was already a bit older than most folk who go for those exams and it brought me grave sadness and embarrassment to fail a test that sixteen year olds regularly managed to pass. I worked on my skills and tried again a few weeks later, but as I approached the dreaded parallel parking spot I went into a state of abject terror. I felt as though I was going to burst into tears as my heart pounded so fast that I was certain that it might tear a hole in my chest. I made one feeble attempt to align the car so that I might successfully ease into the parking spot between the cones but I could tell that I was going to hit those dastardly orange objects once again. I silently wondered if I would end up being fifty years old before I finally secured a license, as I admitted to the officer that I didn’t think I would ever succeed in parking that way. I expected him to fail me again, but instead he asked me if I ever had occasion to parallel park. When I insisted that I was a suburban gal whose only parking experiences would be on big flat lots he said that he would give me a passing grade in spite of my failure to complete the one feature of the test that so daunted me.  Since I never hit the cones he felt that I had at least shown that I was aware of the damage that I would have inflicted had I continued, but he also begged me not to try the skill in a real life situation.

To this very day I have never once had to parallel park. I suppose I’m lucky that I don’t live in a place like Chicago where that skill is a must. Instead I have long enjoyed the luxury of zipping in and out of my garage or parking on a nice wide driveway. It was only when faced with navigating a large vehicle from an angle that was unfamiliar to me that my skill at driving began to waver. Now I find myself feeling that same stressful uncertainty each time I attempt to maneuver the truck into the garage. I suppose I won’t be trying to finally parallel park anytime soon.