Monday, June 20, 2011

Angels in disguise

On Saturday, the kids and I headed down to the beach where Ben was surfing. I'd been on the edge of teetering into mad impatience all day, and as we turned onto 34th, I realized parking would be a nightmare -- one of the first warm Saturdays with no June gloom.

I had planned badly -- we were arriving right at the end of Ben's surf session, so we had to rush to get there before he left. And moving in a hurry with kids, never goes well, especially on an edgy day. So I prayed for a parking spot, an easy one. I knew it wasn't important or urgent, and that it was kind of silly prayer, but I felt a little desperate and sure I'd bite the heads off my kids if we had to dawdle three blocks with all of our stuff.

Ben, I knew, had parked on 34th, and when I turned down 35th, there it was -- a perfect parking place, wide open, one car from the sand. YES.

But, as I tried to parallel myself into it, I couldn't quite do it. To cut the wheel hard enough to angle in would mean hitting the car parked on the other side of the tiny street (maybe illegally), and I did not have the patience to saw back and forth 4o times to wedge my way in. So I just sat there, next to the perfect parking place, defeated.

And then, a man appeared -- late 40's, flip flops, a little beach-slobby. Want some help? YES. He directed me for a minute -- you have a foot, 6 inches, 3 inches -- but must have read my energy, because within a minute he asked if I just wanted him to park it. Without even thinking, I flung my car door open and ushered him in. As soon as he closed the door behind him, I realized I'd just let a stranger into the driver's seat of my car with my two children in the back!! As he started to drive, I clamored in back next to Silas -- at least we'd be together.

It took five solid minutes for a mediocre parking job, but he got us in. And then, as quickly as he'd come, he was gone, and we were walking onto the sand.

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