Last week, when alternate-side was suspended for Passover, I found a highly vulnerable spot on K Street, just around the corner from the avenue, the Éclair’s back end protruding slightly into the crosswalk. The cop who came last Friday morning was super friendly. (I had found room to move the car up out of the crosswalk by then.) “Do you know this guy?” she asked, indicating the black Nissan Murano in front of me. I said I didn’t know him. (Nor do I know why an S.U.V. should be named after an island of glassblowers.) “Why can’t people wake up on time?” she wailed. She was an attractive cop, with loops of long brown hair tucked under her white metermaid cap. “I like to give them a few minutes, you know?” She wrote the ticket slowly, and had placed it reluctantly on the windshield when a harried-looking guy approached carrying a baby girl. Everyone felt bad about the ticket, with the possible exception of the little girl, who thought it was fun to sit in the car with her father first thing in the morning.
I was back out there at 7:30 A.M. on Tuesday, having been lucky enough to score a spot after I returned from Rockaway, this time on the other side of the black Murano, better protected from turning buses. There was a beige Toyota Corolla in front of me, and a potbellied guy with a Mini-Cooper in the spot up at the corner. The street sweeper came, and we pulled diagonally across the street in the time-honored fashion. Getting back into my spot was a bit tricky, and I did something I've never done before: I accidentally grazed the bumper of the Toyota. Oops. I got out of the car to apologize and inspect the damages. There was a gray smudge on the bumper about the size of an eraser. The guy wasn’t happy about it, but he wasn’t insane, so he accepted my apology.
The Murano was still there today, but the car in front of me was a black GMC pickup called a Canyon. So I was between Murano and the Canyon. When the street sweeper came, it idled in my spot, because a car farther down the street had not moved, and the Canyon owner, a big guy who looked like a K.G.B. agent, refused to pull up a little and let the street sweeper squeeze behind him. Meanwhile, the Murano had returned to its spot, and somehow the Canyon also got back in before I did. It sometimes happens that somebody’s spot shrinks after the street sweeper goes by, and today that happened to me. "I don't know why it got so tight," the Murano owner said, as I parallel-parked with his guidance. I tapped the bumper of the Canyon in front of me. Oops. (This is getting altogether too much like the Bump'em Cars concession at Coney Island.) I got out and went up to his car window to apologize. “Sorry for tapping you,” I said. And the K.G.B. guy's face split open in a big gaptoothed grin, and he said, “Little kiss!”