I know a lot of people who have never learned to parallel park, and I don't mean it in that way. I used to be the queen of parallel parking.
My father may have had a lot of faults, but there are two things that he did very well. He taught us to swim, and he taught us to drive. Often we came home from driving lessons not speaking to each other, but I learned how to drive quite well.
Learning to drive in San Francisco can be tricky. Hills.
Rome is said to be built on seven hills.
San Francisco has at least 47 named hills, and among those hills are individual streets which are very steep. The street on the left here is Filbert Street, the steepest in the city with a 31.5% grade. If you turn left at the stop sign you will head up Leavenworth Street, which is the street on which I lived. Not a 31.5% grade, but definitely nothing to sneeze at.
(I've outlined the windows for the bedroom where my sister and I slept)
Nowadays, you park diagonally, but when I lived there, it was parallel parking. Before I could get my driver's license, my father insisted I had to be able to parallel park on the hill...and we did not have automatic transmission. By the time I went for my driver's license, I could stop and start on any hill in the city...and I could parallel park perfectly on any hill in the city.
Interestingly, in 1959, the DMV office was on a flat section of the city. To get my license, I had to be able to park in the yard of the office and drive around a couple of city blocks, all flat. Then they gave the 16 year old me a license without any clue whatsoever if I could handle the hills of the city.
So I've never blinked at having to parallel park, but lately I can't parallel park a car to save my soul. Maybe it's the new car with the raised seat backs that are so tall I can't see over them (and I haven't mastered parking using the rear camera to guide me).
It's downright embarassing to have to pull forward and backward a dozen times to get into an END parking slot with only a car behind me, and nothing in front of me, as I frequently do when visiting my mother at Atria and the parking lot is full.
It's because the street has a slight curve in it and I somehow can't seem to be able to factor the curve into my maneuverings into that slot. But today I was on a straight section, parking between two cars and while I was able to fit between the cars, there was a good foot between the car and the sidewalk when I finally finished.
I dodged a bullet this morning, though. Last night my mother called and said she needed to have me come over in the morning because she had "errands to run." I asked what errands she wanted to run and at first she couldn't remember, but she finally said she needed to get to the bank. "Why do you need to go to the bank?" I asked her. "Well, I have bills to pay!" she said. I asked what bills and she said she couldn't remember but she knew she had bills to pay and she had to go to the bank because she was out of checks. Trying to tell her that she had no unpaid billsl only made her angry. She always does her banking at the end of the month and she needed to get to the bank. I pointed out that it was the beginning of the month, but it was clear that she was only getting angry, so I just said I would come to get her at 10 a.m.
I hoped that her dementia would click in and that she would forget when I got there in the morning.
At 10 a.m., I knocked on her door and she greeted me and didn't say anything about the bank. I sat down and she asked what I was doing today. I told her I was working at the book store. Still nothing about the bank. She finally did mention the bank and I asked her which bills she needed to pay. We must have had the came conversation twenty five times, about how she needed to pay her rent and she had to do it at the bank. I would remind her that she wrote a check for her rent two weeks ago, she said she didn't remember, I told her to check her checkbook (which she never did). Then in a couple of seconds she would start all over again, forgetting we'd already had the conversation. She needed to go to the bank because her rent was due and she always pays it on the 3rd of the month.
Ultimately she decided to take my word that her rent was paid, that she wouldn't be thrown out of her apartment, and, when I told her how windy it was outside, she decided she didn't want to go out in the wind, but preferred to sit in her apartment, where it was warm and cozy.