Little-known fact about me: I am terrible at driving in reverse. I mean, truly and pathetically terrible.
When we lived in Buffalo, I had an awful time backing out of our narrow driveway. The houses are close together there, and in the winter, the shoveled snow piles up on both sides of the driveway. I got stuck in a snow drift while backing out more times than I will ever admit, and I often called Ryan in a panic, "I am stuck in the driveway, and I have to be to work in thirty minutes! Please come home and save me!" He would leave class and sprint home to shovel me out. (I love that patient man.) He eventually started pulling the car out for me before he left for school, just to save himself the trouble of running home when I inevitably got stuck.
I am not proud of this weakness of mine. In fact, I am quite mortified about it. But no matter how much I try to learn to drive straight in reverse, I just cannot do it. And it continues to cause all sorts of difficult and embarrassing situations in my life.
Take last Friday night, for example. I was meeting my sisters and my cousin at D-Bar, a swanky dessert place in Denver where there is never any parking available, and I was thrilled to see a spot open right in front of the restaurant. The only problem? I would have to parallel park.
Ay yi yi.
I did my best, but I ended up going over the curb a little bit, onto the grass. No biggie, right?
Well, it wouldn't have been a biggie if a broken sprinkler head hadn't created a literal bog in the grassy area next to the curb. As I tried to straighten out my car, I felt my right tire sink about two feet into the mud and heard the bottom of my car scra-a-a-pe against the concrete curb.
Dang dang DANG it.
A few people who were walking by apparently heard the heinous noise as well, and they turned to stare. They looked a little bit shocked by what they saw (which I knew was not a good sign), but I played cool, acting unconcerned while I pretended to take a call on my cell phone. (Not kidding. I actually did this.) As soon as the spectators walked away, I hung up my oh-so-important call and sheepishly got out of my car to survey the damage.
This was not good.
Berating myself for being so incompetent, I texted my sisters to inform them that I had landed myself in a bog that I wasn't sure I would ever be able to get out of. They responded to let me know that they would help me as soon as they arrived, but they were running late because my little sister had bumped a curb on the way to the restaurant, and she had popped her tire.
So I guess it runs in the family.
Once my sisters resolved their dilemma and arrived to help me with mine, we all agreed that we should eat before endeavoring to push the car out of the quagmire, in order to build up our strength and also so that our embarrassing efforts might be cloaked by the darkness of night. In the end, it didn't make much difference. No amount of pushing on our part would've hoisted that vehicle out of the bog (believe me, we tried), and no amount of darkness would have decreased the spectacle that we created right outside of a posh restaurant with tons of outdoor seating and an outdoor waiting area (we were dinner entertainment for about fifty people).
Fortunately for us, just when we were about to give up and call a tow truck, a savior arrived: he was wearing a mud-splattered t-shirt and a camouflage hat. One of his front teeth was missing. He was walking through the dark alley next to the restaurant when he saw us in distress and came right over to help. (For the record, not one of the polo-wearing men watching from the porch of the restaurant offered to help.) We never did learn his name, but at one point, he informed us that we should call his parole officer and tell him about his good deed. We all laughed, not sure if he was kidding, but then he showed us his ankle monitor. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I love exceptionally nice ex-convicts.
I gladly agreed to call his parole officer, but he declined saying, "Actually, I get off scram on September 1st, so there is no need for you to call. But thanks for being willing." So, after he spent almost an hour jacking my car up, forcing huge rocks underneath the tire in order to create traction, and helping us push the car out of the bog, we gave him a piece of D-Bar's famous chocolate cake and all of the cash in my wallet. He was quite grateful, but we were even more grateful. Thank heaven for our Good Samaritan.
Now I think I need to learn how to drive in reverse.