I had a real life Big Lebowski moment today.
I was driving the kids to Como Zoo. We had just pulled into the right-turn lane from Snelling onto Midway, when some (pardon) asshole in a car next to us threw a lit cigarette butt through my window. It hit me right in the head!
I had to pull over quickly and locate the butt, since it was still smoldering. It had fallen down into the plastic well on the floor between my door and seat. There were unburned shreds of tobacco on my shirt and shorts, and the car still smelled of cigarette smoke when we returned from the zoo two hours later!
The fury I was feeling at that moment was quickly offset by my overwhelming sense of pride over the astounding parallel parking job I did when we got to the park. As usual on summer weekends, especially when the weather is nearly ideal, as it was today, parking spaces were scarce in Como Park. I managed to locate a very tight space, most certainly available simply because no one was brave enough to attempt to sqeeze in.
Now I am no great parallel parker. In fact, when I took my driving test at age 16 I got perfect scores on everything except the parallel park and hill park, both of which I failed completely (that is, zero points). Luckily it all came out in the wash and I still got my license without having to retake the test. Here we are 16 years later, and even now I get nervous when the need arises to parallel park. Fortunately, several years of living and driving in large cities have forced me to improve my skills… somewhat.
I went for it. And I made it. Sure I bumped the truck behind me a few times, but that’s what bumpers are for! In the end I was nestled tightly with about 4 inches of space on either side. I had to climb across my hood to get over to the passenger side of the car, before I realized that next time it would be easier to just go around the truck parked behind me.
I was so impressed with myself, I had to take a picture.
Fortunately, by the time we left, both vehicles surrounding us were already gone, and their replacements gave us plenty of maneuvering room.
Addendum (July 10, 2006) — I’ve been thinking about this more, and I believe I have my Big Lebowski reference wrong in a number of key ways. First off, I knew from the beginning that a few points were different: I wasn’t holding a roach clip in one hand and a beer in the other, and I didn’t crash my car while trying to retrieve the flaming butt from my crotch. (Boy, that sounds worse than it is.) But now that I think about it, I don’t recall whether the aforementioned “flaming butt” was thrown in his window by a passing vehicle, or whether it was his own, and he was just a poor shot. I’ll have to watch the DVD again to refresh my memory.