Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Just like old times—sitting in the car in the rain in my old 7:30-8 spot, on the Tuesday-Friday side of the street, as a predator lurks double-parked across the street. There’s always the hope that the streetsweeper overslept and the broom is still in the garage, but no: thar she goes, flashing and whirring in my rearview mirror. We move diagonally, like synchronized parkers, then jockey back into place, and by 7:40 it’s all over. We are good till Friday.
Big drops of rain roll down my windshield, on the inside. I have sprung a leak behind the rearview mirror. The Éclair has been back in the city for a few weeks now, peacefully occupying space in the Sanctuary, which I held on to over a weekend in Rockaway with a bold maneuver: I drove to the spot with my friend from New Hampshire, and gave it to her with the cooperation of several motorists who were double-parked. (Note that I have spelled "cooperation" without the two dots over the second "o" and see my highly controversial post on the diaeresis on the New Yorker Web site.) And when Live Free or Die left town, on Sunday morning, we made the switch again, this time without an audience.
The night before, I had parked on my own street. Traffic was heavy—it was the day of the Sikh parade—and I was lucky to nose into a spot at the head of the street, with my rear bumper slightly infringing on the crosswalk. I came out the next day to find on the windshield not a ticket but a slip of paper informing me that an accident report could be obtained at the local police precinct for ten dollars. I circled the car . . . the only damage I saw was to the right rear bumper, which had come loose at the flap where it wraps around the side. I could probably fix it with a large wad of bubble gum.
I went to the precinct anyway, out of curiosity. I was told that the ten dollars had to be in the form of a money order, so I went away and came back, only to find out that the report had not yet been filed. The lady told me to call later, and of course I forgot. I was kind of relieved not to have to hang around there longer—it’s such a dingy, inhospitable place. They did not offer me any of the baked goods prominently on display. As time passes, it becomes increasingly unlikely that I will return for the accident report.
Recently someone referred to the Éclair as the Tortilla. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be prophetic.