Good Friday morning ...
Can you parallel park? When was the last time you were required to do so? How did it go?
My contention is that parallel parking is driving's lost art. Who even does it anymore ... and where would you do it? Perhaps in the "downtown" area of a small town where there is still a main street with businesses that are open for business. But certainly not in the massive parking lots that accompany most shopping centers or the new "town centers" of today.
Parallel parking requires a significant amount of concentration and coordination. You must pull alongside a parked car where there is a vacant spot, then back into that spot with a precise arc, straighten out your position once or twice going backward and forward until you are positioned parallel to the curb, and do it all without bumping the cars that are mere inches away from your own.
Or you can keep going until you find a parking spot that is more manageable. That's what my wife does. But I find it rather challenging to fit into a spot between two parked cars. Perhaps it's a male-thing ... but I really don't mind parallel parking. It's not always easy ... but it's a challenge.
It seems that several states have already eliminated the parallel parking requirement for its driving skills exam while saying it still meets national standards. I have read that the elimination of this requirement has little to do with the technological advancements that allow cars to "park themselves" (I'm sure you've seen the advertisements) ... but instead the testing requirement for parallel parking was creating an administrative backlog. In other words, the fail rate was so high that too many drivers had to repeat the driver's exam and thus the backlog. So much for that!
Still, I question whether it isn't a handy, and maybe even at some point, a necessary skill. Who knows when you might have to squeeze into a parallel space. The same could be said, I guess, of the automatic transmission. How many drivers today can say they know how to drive a stick shift? How about change a tire? Add washer fluid?
Sometimes the outdated skills of yesterday are still worth preserving ... or maybe I'm just getting old. After all, I have been driving for 60 years after acquiring my official Commonwealth of Virginia driver's license at age fifteen.
Of course, change is inevitable and it is certainly around us every day and though the wisdom of Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun ... still "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." [3:1] I guess the season for parallel parking is just about over. So sad. I still enjoy the challenge.
Have a great weekend ... and for old times’ sake, find a space and try to parallel park this weekend. See how you do. No need to let me know. Just keep it to yourself.