Friday, April 30, 2010


This is a detail from a photo taken by my friend N. of the Dr. Seuss Room in the Sylvia Beach Hotel, in Newport, Oregon. We both stayed in this cheerful room, on separate visits, a month apart. Here is the big picture:

I thought of Ned the other day when I decided to move my car. I thought:

Who am I?
My name is Dot.
I do not like
this parking spot.

It is not like me to move a car before I have to, but here is what happened: My personal trainer stood me up (for the second time; I've only stood her up once), and when she finally did show up, as I was hauling myself out of the pool like an elephant seal, she suggested we reschedule for Thursday morning. All I could think was: But I have to sit it in the car on Thursday morning. This felt like an extremely lame excuse not to exercise. Then I remembered that the spot I was in was on a block that has felt very cutthroat lately, so maybe it would be just as well to get out of there, and I made the commitment to be at the gym at eight-thirty.

I got to the car super early on Thursday morning, and drove off with wan hopes of scoring a space on K Street, where I was now in the position I have so often observed others in, smugly and without pity: that of an interloper hoping for a 7:30-8 spot to free up. There were already two cars lurking, so I cruised on by and started on my grand rounds. Hydrant, driveway, meters, hydrant, loading zone, driveway ... I was cursing myself for ever having signed on with a personal trainer. My approach to exercise has always been to strive my best to exert the least possible effort. As a child, I used to practice jumping rope without ever letting my feet lose contact with the ground. It's easy: Rock back on your heels as the rope comes under your toes, and then roll forward onto your toes as the rope clears the heels. No sweat. Literally.

And then that rarest of things appeared on my right: a Tuesday-Friday spot on a Thursday morning. It was just west of a fire hydrant, with ample clearance. So I was actually early for my session with the trainer.

The only problem (besides having to work out) was that I had to move the car again today. It was in a 9:30-11 spot, and I got to it at a little after nine and headed for an 8:30-10 block. The street sweeper should have just passed, and there might still be a space for me. Right away I saw a legal spot, with a limo double-parked in front of it. I motioned to the driver to ask if he would let me in. Unfortunately, this involved triple-parking, and made some taxi-drivers pretty mad for a moment, but it worked. Now, thanks to the determination of my personal trainer, I am comfortably ensconced on a much friendlier block.

By the way, I highly recommend the Sylvia Beach Hotel.


Marilyn said...

It sounds like way too much work to have a car in NYC. All my growing up I heard of "alternate side of the street parking" and now I can thank you for putting some understanding around that phrase. This is a car you only use for out of city trips?

MJN/NYC said...

Yes, I got the car the year one year when I had to go to Cleveland a lot. Now I have it mainly to take the cats to the beach. And it's very handy out at the beach. The only way to stay sane in New York is to get out of it regularly.

drrodino said...

It's not a hood ornament--it's a satellite. or a tv dish. or the bottom of an aluminum Christmas Tree. WOW! Struck fear in me a hundred-plus miles away. Where parking is a quarter an hour (in Worcester, parking meters still take nickels!)