Lately I have been so obsessed with landing a good parking spot that I have been cutting short my time at the beach. Last Saturday I had to rush home to attend a concert of the group I used to sing with (they are doing just fine without me), but come Sunday I just could not leave the beach until I had inhaled every whiff of rose my head could hold and heard every bird and imprinted on my mind’s eye an image of the ocean, rippled as far as the horizon, with clear, pale bands of sky stretching out, panorama style.
Sometimes all of Queens smells like roses. This weekend, the breeze coming off the dunes held a light, waxy fragrance, something like laurel. On a cinder path at Fort Tilden I came across a stand of wild white wisteria that was still in bloom. At the top of the stairs there is a viewing platform, but I didn't linger, because two guys were up there with a sad-eyed boxer named Max.
I had a doctor’s appointment at 8:30 on Monday morning—and I was hoping to get a 7:30-8 spot on K Street, but by eight-thirty on Sunday night the cars were parked bumper to bumper. No other Monday-Thursday spot would do, which seemed a great pity, because alternate side is suspended on Thursday for Shavuot, the feast of cheesecake. No cheesecake for me . . . I was lucky to find a Tuesday-Friday spot that a couple were just leaving.
So this morning I organized myself for an hour and a half in the car and headed out into a light rain. I was parked on a friendly block where I have never or rarely participated in the double-parking exercise—I’m not even sure it’s customary there—so I decided to cruise a little, maybe check out the Sanctuary, just to see if there was a Monday-Thursday spot somewhere, so I could quick convert to Judaism. Down the street, a right on the avenue, a tie-up at the intersection, a left on the block where there is hardly ever a spot because of the car-rental agency . . . and there on my left, before a curb cut, was a spot that was just my size. I made sure I wasn’t crowding the car behind me, and then sat there for a while, stunned. Suddenly I was free not only for the next hour and a half but on Thursday and Friday morning as well. I could have my cheesecake and eat it, too.