parking_meters.jpgThere is literally nothing in San Francisco that is worse than parking. It’s the kind of place where if you won a free Maserati on a game show you would just stare sullenly into space, because you honestly can’t figure out which is worse: owning your own car, or riding a bus that you could beat in a foot race.

Parking is the bane of all car-owners and also of all people who know car-owners. It is probably the main reason that sometimes when you see people they are in bad moods. It is definitely the main reason my boyfriend is sometimes in a bad mood, and also the cause of most of our fights:

Me: “Why are you letting this get to you? I don’t know who you are when you’re parking.”

Him: “I’m dropping you off at home.”

If you’ve only been a passenger you can’t fully appreciate the hideous horribleness of trying to find parking, on say, a Sunday night at 9 PM. Driving slowly around and around the same block like a stalker, which you basically are: a parking space stalker.

You squint at curbs, and wonder what color they are. You curse motorcycles, and start to seriously consider whether you’re going to have to abandon your car in the street like it’s a post-apocalyptic novel, and you are the last person looking for parking on earth.

That’s the worst part of course, the soul-sucking loneliness of the parker. The feeling is like being the only one left in a city overrun by zombies, and just wanting to park your goddamn vehicle so you can get inside your house and not have your neck eaten off, but you can’t because all the zombies already parked their vehicles before they turned into zombies and now there will NEVER be another parking place.

You make ever widening circles, thinking maybe down this street 14 blocks from where I live. The sign says you’ll have to move it at 6 AM tomorrow, but that sounds like a totally realistic proposal.

You can completely see why that sign wouldn’t want you to park here “Monday-Wednesday and Its Favorite Holidays from 6:23-8:04am,” and why the sign on the other side of the street would want something similar but completely different. You can’t read any of these signs in the dark.

And so you sit in the middle of the street in your Honda and lay your head down on the horn so that it makes one long bleat, that sounds like all of the loneliness and frustration in the world, and wonder how you ever got to this place, and are suddenly glad you have a car if only because it means you can leave.

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