Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man vs. Parking Space

So while I'm at work soothing the jangled nerves of this great country's future tempers/part-time indie filmmakers (which is pretty rich coming from me, considering the path my career took during my first two years in New York City), I have to wonder: what's going down in Cobble Hill? What happens in my neighborhood while I'm sitting high up in my sixth floor office, gazing out the window and wondering if the guy in the window across the way is wearing a shirt or if his bare chest is really that alarming shade of maroon, and should I call someone for help in case it's the latter, or would that just result in awkward inquiries and possible legal action?

On my walk to the subway this morning, I passed a car trying to pull away from the curb, but because there's currently more snow on the ground than on the bathroom floor of Studio 54 on New Years Eve, it was going nowhere fast. The first couple guns of the engine, I figured the driver would give up and go back home for a smoke and another cup of coffee. Even as someone who's never driven anywhere other than the Big Island, I knew that car wasn't getting out of that snowdrift. But the dude just kept gunning that engine, even though steam was coming up from where the wheels were melting the snow and the street stank of exhaust. I actually turned around and walked backwards on an icy sidewalk to see how far this was all going to go. Dude was still standing on that gas pedal before I had to turn around and go about my day.

Ten hours later, I'm walking the same route back home from the subway, and damned if Dude still isn't trying to get the car out of that same parking space. The car hasn't moved an inch as far as I could tell. And now he's got about five or six friends gathered around him giving advice. They've wedged a bunch of flattened cardboard boxes under the wheels to try and get some traction. These are my neighbors, toiling away under the streetlamps, undaunted by the cold, probably trying to get the project done before we get another three to six inches dumped on us tomorrow.

Here's the thing: I know that Dude wasn't trying to get out of that parking space the whole time I was at work. That's just silly; he had to have taken breaks, gotten some lunch, maybe called a cousin with a garage in Sunnyside to get advice, otherwise he'd have run out of gas and burnt the motor out. But in the movie of my life, from my limited little Big Island Rachel perspective, that man devoted his entire day to getting that car away from that curb, slowly adding and losing friends and comrades on his mad quest for glory, trying hot water and sand and sawdust and salt and all manner of schemes to lose his car from winter's vile grip--to no avail. Many were the times he sank down to his knees on the sidewalk and cursed the cruel fate that doomed him to this exercise in futility. Perhaps he reflected with keen awareness the hubris that led him to own a car in New York City. Perhaps, even now, at this late hour, he struggles on, dauntless (what is daunt, by the way, does anyone know?), unswayed by the dark and the cold and the exhaust fumes. A lonely warrior, a brave soldier of Cobble Hill.

He stands as a beacon of hope and perseverance to us all.

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