In my elementary school library there was a book I found entertaining. I no longer remember the title, but it would not be shocking if it were something like Fortunately, Unfortunately. Actually, upon reflection, that would be shocking. That's a pretty terrible title.
whole book was a series of fortunate and unfortunate events, one
leading to the other. For instance, "fortunately, I won a trip to
Hawaii. Unfortunately, my plane went down over the Pacific. Fortunately,
I was wearing a parachute. Unfortunately, I landed in
giant-eel-infested waters. Fortunately, a fishing boat rescued me." Et
cetera, et cetera. I assume it ended with a "fortunately" since it was a
children's book. "Unfortunately, I died" seems a harsh ending, though
many children have pretty dark senses of humor, so I guess it could have
gone either way.
I've been thinking about that book lately.
I used to live and work in the same neighborhood, so I seldom drove to work. I moved a few years ago and radically improved my life by acquiring a garage, which means that when I go home AT ANY TIME OF DAY OR NIGHT, I can just...go home. I cannot describe the joy that this engenders. If you've never been at the mercy of urban street parking, you are probably not in a position to appreciate this marvel. Additionally, for four years, I've not had to wake up in a panic thinking "what street cleaning is today?"
Fortunately, I now have a garage at home. Unfortunately, I live farther away and now to drive to work.
didn't give up thinking about street cleaning altogether; I just
transferred all my street cleaning hyper-awareness to the other side of
my day. Employees do have first-come, first-served access to a little
parking lot, but it is almost always full by the time I get to work
[unfortunately]. [Fortunately] I usually arrive at work after the
neighborhood street cleaning is over. However, on Mondays and Tuesdays
the street cleaning schedule works against me and there is a lot of
midday re-parking required. This is both a pain in the ass and fraught
with the possibility of forgetting. Which is expensive. And also a pain
in the ass. (Can you spot the recurring theme of Tuesdays?)
Then, this year, I was given a parking place in the lot. A parking place assigned to me and me alone. This is a little bit magical. In fact, if I chose never to go anywhere but home and work, I would never have to look for a parking place ever again.
parking lot in question is very narrow, but it has a separate entrance
and exit, allowing for one-way traffic. On one side, the parking places
are set at a diagonal--a luxurious style of parking lot usually found
nowhere except in suburban malls. On the other side, the spots are
For the first
week, I was assigned a glorious diagonal spot that I slipped into as
easily as an arm into a sleeve. Indeed, it was the easiest parking I
had done in the last, say, seventeen years. I was giddy. Then there
was some shuffling and I was given a new spot. A spot on the other side.
The straight side.
I was given my very own parking place at work. Unfortunately, it is
almost impossible for me to get my car into it.
popular methodology is to pull forward into the diagonal places (and
why wouldn't you? There could be nothing easier. ) and to back into the
straight spots so that, theoretically, it will be easier to get out
again. This is all very well, but when there is a car on either side of
my place and cars in all the spots across from my spot, it is very
nearly impossible for me to angle my car correctly to get into my spot
without crashing into at least one of three cars. One time, I gave up
altogether and went to find street parking. If, you ask, I cannot
master these simple physics, should I even have a driver's license?
Perhaps not, gentle reader. Perhaps not. But that is a question for
Fortunately, I have not yet hit any of my colleagues' cars. Unfortunately, I worry every day that I will.
few days ago, I had just finished my 75 point half-turn into my spot,
when my friend arrived and pulled tidily into his convenient diagonal
spot, just across from me. "I'm glad you weren't here to see me park.
It's not pretty," I told him and added plaintively, "I want your
parking place." "Well," he said, "We could trade." "Really?" I said,
astonished. "Sure," he replied.
next morning, when I arrived someone's car was in my parking place. At
first I worried and then I realized my friend hadn't been kidding.
Fortunately, my friend traded his easy parking place for my difficult one and removed my very last workday parking obstacle. He is obviously a hero. A generous, affable hero with excellent parking skills who has made life perceptibly better.
There is no unfortunately.