life on the funny farm

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Parallel Universe

Of my six kids, one has his learner's permit, one is preparing to take the permit test in the next week or so, and another will be ready in about a year.

God, in His infinite wisdom, has decided I can handle this.

Or He is just one very funny guy, I'll let you decide.

Anyway, I wrote this on my other blog, but thought I would repost it here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get fitted for a helmet.


I have been dragged, against my will and better judgement, into the world of teaching a teenager to parallel park.

This is not something I would recommend to anyone with less time and patience than say, Mahatma Gandhi.

Besides time and patience, I would also recommend a healthy dose of common sense. A sprinkle more than what the good people behind the desks at the DMV have given me credit for.

For in the very first paragraph in the manual on the subject of parallel parking, they suggest to me that I should:

Start this session off on a quiet street with cars parked along the side until your student is capable of practicing this with cars passing by.

Lest you think your eyes deceived you, as I did mine, you read right. They suggest your student driver starts practicing parallel parking with real cars on a real road.

But because I have the sense that God gave me as well as a healthy love of my life and a working knowledge of the deductible on our insurance policy, I rebelled against the written word. I would recommend to anyone else foolish enough to attempt teaching P.P to their youngster that they follow the following progression:

1) Study the diagrams that can be found in your state's driver's manual, or the many sources on-line, such as this beauty:


Or this one:


2)Next move on to practicing with matchbox cars or a few heavily sedated hamsters.

3)From there, cautiously graduate to operating a real-live car,


parking between real-live sim-cars, aka cones with long things sticking up out of them.

Long things OK to use: Gardening stakes. Brooms.
Long things not OK to use: Floor lamps. Your other children.

4)When your teenager has smashed the bejesus out of the cones you stole from the construction site under cover of night


and has wrecked your car beyond recognition, you are ready to schedule the driver's exam.

Because other driving skills matter not in the eyes of the people at DMV. Forget knowledge of street signs or the willingness and abilty to obey the posted speed limit. Don't worry about whether or not the young driver-to-be recognizes that the pedestrian always has right of way. If he can't parallel park, game over.

So get the parallel parking thing down to the point where he can zip into a spot, which, like the Grinch's heart, is two sizes too small. When he can do it blinfolded with his other senses guiding him into place like a Jedi master, he is ready for The Exam.

Let it be noted, however, that under no circumstances, even if your child passes the exam and receives his driver's license tucked inside the Holy Grail, is he to ever attempt to parallel park on real roads with real cars.

If God meant for people to parallel park, he wouldn't have invented the pull-in-frontways parking spot. Or those new hands-free parallel parking cars. Or blocks to drive around till you find other options.

Parallel parking. God and all the saints help me.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



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In case you didn't know it, I'm like the queen of blog-hoppin' lately. It's kind of like square dancing but without the dated outfits, smelly gym, and elderly caller.

Here's the schedule I keep:
Monday: Homestead Revival's Barn Hop and A Cat-Like Curiosity's Monday Mantras.
Tuesday: Heavenly Homemaker's Gratituesday
and Wrinkled Mommy's Tuesday Archive Link-Up
Wednesday: My Life and Kids Finding the Funny
Thursday: A Rural Journal's Rural Thursday Blog Hop
Friday: Deborah Jean's Dandelion House's Farmgirl Friday
Saturday: Camera Critter's Life With Dogs Pet Blogger Hop and Country Momma Cooks Saturday Link-Up

Since today is Saturday, that means I'm linking my post "Rain Dance" with Country Momma Cooks Saturday Link-Up, and "Goodbye Flurry" with Camera Critter's Life With Dogs Pet Blogger Hop.
Come join the fun!


  1. I will in no way be participating in teaching my kids to drive when the time comes. Nope. Not gonna do it.

  2. You are a far wiser woman than I, Nicole....

  3. Do you give lessons to grown ups? I STILL cannot parallel park. At all! Even with I had a tiny Mitsubishi Eclipse, which almost could fit in my purse. Now I have a giant Cadillac and I don't even try.

    I also didn't bother trying to teach that to my 20 year old. I don't think she can do it either. I don't know for sure because I try never to be in a car that she is driving. Call it self-preservation.

    Funny post! I'm glad I found you from TALU.

    1. What's the point, right, Kenja? There is ALWAYS an alternative to be found. I'm with you. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. LAWD, I never learned to parallel park 'cause in PA that was not part of the driver's test. I would rather walk a mile than attempt that horrendous feat. Much luck to you!!!

    1. Can I go back in time? B/c I'm in PA, but my kids WILL have to PP on their tests. God save me.

  5. I still have problems parallel parking...I usually just get down and hand the keys over to the hubs!!

    1. Haha! That's another good option! Thanks, Roshni!

  6. I have been through two teenagers learning to drive and have four more to go through in 10 years or so. I am not looking forward to it AT ALL. When my daughter went for her driving test the instructor said to me "I have...I have...I've just never seen...anything like it." She failed obviously and it was several more months until we let her try again. I agree with you on the parallel parking. It should be outlawed.

    1. Oh Debbie, that is too funny. Teaching four to drive all at once ought to be loads of fun.

  7. Haha, that was awesome! My kids are too young to drive (but I think my 3-year-old has been trying to steal my keys), but I can distinctly remember parallel parking way back when and then never having to actually do it on the driver's exam. I think I'm one of few people I know who actually could parallel park if I had to (and it would probably take 2 attempts to get it right, at least).

    1. Thanks, S. Personally? I hate it. Though I can actually do it (with a Yukon, no less). But I will go to great lengths to NOT have to do it!

  8. Aye! Time, patience, and common sense are chief values one should possess when parking or just out driving. The third one, specifically, since you can never be in the same road situation too often. So, just keep your patience, Anne. Teaching isn’t any less easy than actual driving. Anyway, I hope I get to teach my sons how to drive in the future. :D



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