Friday, August 17, 2007

The Parking Dance

My husband just called from his cell phone saying that there is a police car at the end of the street ready to give out tickets to anyone parked on the banned side when the clock strikes 9:30am. One minute past the ban, parking tickets are already being posted on windshields. Gavino has been down there sitting inside our car, double parked, reading a book since 9:15am, the time at which he moved the car.

At 9:32am the cop leaves the neighborhood, and my husband returns home, leaving the car double parked on street. He is confident no one will ticket him. In fact, everyone else in the neighborhood has also double parked and returned to their errands.

At 10:30am, I descend to the street, enter my car and wait. My neighbors and I move our automobiles simultaneously to the banned side once we have seen the street sweeper pass.

It is a choreography of habit.

We never park and leave. The fear of being ticketed is high and the topic of most conversations. We know that as long as we sit in our cars the police will not bother us. As the clock nears 11am my anxiety mounts anticipating the lifting of the ban. Only a few brave drivers dare to leave before the ban, ignoring the urban legend recounting numerous examples of last minute ticketing. Finally, as eight or nine of us emerge from our automobiles ready to face the day, we glance at each other in acknowledgment of beating the Man once more, knowing full well that we'll see each other again in three to four days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the things we must put up with for social order, that lead to further social connection.