Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Trial, A Curse Word, and An Apology

I know I said I'd post about Norway and Berlin, but first...this.

So. I'm wrapping up a really exhausting 7 days that included visiting 5 cities in 3 countries for work or work-related events (which is still work, people, let's be honest). 

I'm really worn out in every way possible, so when 5pm hit, I was READY to get in the car and drive the 2.5 hours from Munich back home.

Some little German Bee-Em-Vee (as ze Germans say) is in the shop, and since Z is gone, I have his car...a Honda Accord. Nice, practical sedan. But in Europe, a Honda Accord is like driving a Suburban or maybe a stretch limo Hummer...with a lift. Things like parking spaces and parking garages are not made for American Hondas. They're made for little Euro cars like this:

 that actually squeak like dog chew-toys when you sit in them.

So anyways, I drive down to Munich and end up giving my coworkers a ride to and from the customer site since I'm the only one with a car and in order to save money by not getting an additional taxi. No big deal, except I was sweating a lot because A) I'm not used to Z's car, and B) driving stick is stressful for me if I have passengers. ESPECIALLY passengers who are my boss and project manager. But whatever. It was fine.

Ok. So this morning. Drive to the office. Hold my breath as I maneuver this GIANT car into this parking garage made for Micro Machines. Say a silent prayer of thanks when I find a parking spot that is not wedged between a concrete pillar and a row of ant-sized cars. Breathe a sigh of relief at having delivered my coworkers safely and without stalling out. Success! Today will be good.

Fast forward 8 hours. Time to leave. I'm exhausted. I'm ready to be home. 2 episodes of The Bachelor are waiting for me on Apple TV. The house will be empty and quiet, and although I miss Z and Olive immensely, I'm REALLY looking forward to just completely melting into the couch and zoning out to dramatic reality tv.

I say goodbye to my colleagues and head down into the parking garage.


First, I can't remember what level I parked on. No problem, Z's car has a remote key so I just press the lock button and listen for the Honda honk. It only took me three levels of echo-locating to finally stumble upon the white whale. Phew. Minor delay.

I'm slightly concerned to see that my previously awesome parking spot is now looking QUITE tight. There are cars jammed on either side...and what's this? Cars parked ILLEGALLY along the back wall as well. 

You guys, hindsight is 20/20 but I REALLY wish I had taken a picture just so you could see how big this Honda looked next to the other cars. The backside was sticking way out even though the front was all the way to the wall. But alas, why would I take a picture of that? I'm homeward bound!


I start to reverse and very quickly realize...I can't get out. I actually cannot get out of this parking space. I can't go far enough back or turn enough to either side. I am wedged.
I start to sweat.

Hmm. Ok. Ooookaaaay. This is ok. I am determined. I am capable. 

I am THANKING GOD my coworkers aren't around to see this. 

This is exactly what my next 20 minutes looked like. Twenty minutes of this.

During that 20 minutes I started sweating so much I had to take off my jacket, I got in and out of the car at least 10 times to gauge how much room I had between car/column/wall (maybe there was some "nudging" going on, but I don't think I left any marks or dents. Ignorance is bliss), I had to re-park in the same gosh-darn spot twice to let other cars pass (awkward and humiliating, don't look at me, I'm ashamed. Also I'm American, so I'm sorry), I put my coat back on because I thought maybe I'd go walk around and find the owner (desperate measures), I took pictures of the offending car's license plates (why? Irrational in hindsight), I took my coat back off, I sat in the car and cried a little bit because I was going to be stuck there until at least midnight when someone FINALLY came to move one or preferably both cars that had my giant Honda blocked in (but what if they don't ever come back!?! I'M GOING TO DIE IN THIS GARAGE!!!!), I planned the scathing note I would write and place on the main blocking car's windshield, I remembered I'd have to use Google Translate in order to write said note in German and figured some of those words I had in mind may not translate anyways, and I sent a text message that may or may not have included the word "asshole*" to my friend Anna because I just could not believe that I was STUCK here in this huge car in this tiny garage and I JUST WANT TO GO HOME and I need some moral support here, ok?!

Ok. Deep breath. No ma'am. You will not fall apart right now. You will not sit in this car until someone comes to unblock you or until you die. You WILL get this car out of this parking space RIGHT NOW. And if you're really lucky, you'll do it without any scratches or dents. But if it happens, it's ok. It's just a car. (You have to give yourself some grace in these moments of trial. That'll preach.)

And I did it. I got that monstrous Honda out of that tiny space and past the idiot's illegally parked squeaky toy (and I didn't leave any mean notes).

When it was all said and done, I may have been facing the wrong direction in a one-way garage. I may have reversed my way out of that garage and onto the street. But those are minor details. And remember, grace. No one said everything has to be done perfectly.

PS: Anna, I'm sorry for calling whoever parked that car in such a way to block me in an "asshole*" in my text to you. But thank you again for understanding and forgiveness and letting me know it was ok to give their car a little nudge if necessary. You helped me through a dark time. You're a true friend.

*I do not encourage or condone cursing nor am I proud of my word-choice in this moment. Grace, friends. Life is messy, I am flawed.


  1. If it makes you feel any better, I made a special trip to the MARTA station just to help Lauren back her 4Runner out of a perfectly American parking lot. Took AT LEAST 20 minutes - and I too used the Austin Powers comparison model.

  2. Aww, Katie, I just read this entry!! Love your descriptions. I felt every moment of your frustration.