Michaela Merz

“Upside-down world“ or “The parking manoeuvre“

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The best parking story happened to me 22 years ago in Winterthur:

I had an important doctor’s appointment. I was eight months pregnant and my belly was as huge like a drum. I just fitted behind the steering wheel of my red Mazda. On the back seat a hardly one year old – crying – baby. I was very late. Finally I see a free parking place. However an extremely tight parking place in a row of parking places. I think: “I will never manage!” The crying baby adds to my nervousness. The first drops of sweat appear on my head and I haven’t even started with the parking manoeuvre. I look at the watch and pull myself together: I don’t have time. I don’t have any alternative if I don’t want to miss the appointment, I have to. Let’s go. As if on cue the baby is crying louder and louder. Drive to the side, parallel to the front car, reverse straight, when reaching the right angle: turn fully. The first try didn’t work. I’m nervous. Try again. Also the second attempt fails. My baby on the back seat is crying louder and louder. By now sweat is running down my back. At the perhaps 10th try I’m close to despair. The parking place is so small! And then finally: The right turn and I’m in! I won! “Don’t give up“, one always has to tell oneself.

I get out of the car and take out the buggy, calm the baby and am about to run to my doctor’s appointment. I am already too late. Suddenly a police car stops next to me. The window is opened; the policeman greets politely and smiles at me. I great him back in anticipation of what’s coming next. “We were told that a red car tried to park and damaged other parked cars. Did you see something?”

I am standing next to our red Mazda. I myself am red like a lobster because of the excitement and effort of the parking manoeuvre. I didn’t damage any car and I’m wondering about the people. Why doesn’t anyone offer his help to me? Why do people wait until something “happens” and prefer calling the police instead of helping? Upside-down world.

I look at the policeman with my most innocent look I am capable of at that moment (ultimately I am innocent) and say: “No idea, I haven’t seen anything.” And walk away.

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