By Amber Leigh
It happened a few weeks ago. My boyfriend and I had just parted ways on a Monday morning. Birds were singing and the sun was shining; it felt like the best morning ever. Until my phone rang. It was my boyfriend. I thought maybe he’d realized that he actually did have time to drive me to work, or that he just had to say “I love you” one more time... but I was wrong.
The night before he and I had done the parking dance to the point of disbelief. “How can there be NO parking spaces anywhere?” we repeatedly asked each other as we circled the streets around my apartment. Eventually, we were forced to abandon convenience and park several blocks away. He was about to walk over and check the street cleaning sign when I stopped him. I said I had this great app that shows when street cleaning is based on your location. He eyed me suspiciously, but decided to suspend logic and trust me and my app. Was this what true love looked like, someone willing to trust you over an easily verifiable sign? The app reported that street cleaning wasn't until Wednesday.
Parking in this city can change a person. You avoid entire neighborhoods because you can never find parking there. You spend 20 minutes circling the block. You see a space, and then someone else takes it first. You find a space that's too good to be true, and you’re right, it is. The red paint on the curb is faded and your blood sugar is plummeting and you may be starting to hallucinate. And then there’s street cleaning, that fatal blow that sets off the inner monologue that takes you straight to the dark side:
Okay, I've got the spot. I can just wake up early and move the car before street cleaning. It's good, I want to start getting up earlier, anyway. But it will be SO early and dark outside… Maybe there's another spot somewhere. Who am I kidding? There's no spot, there is never another spot. I'll be driving around ‘til the end of time.
But that morning, my boyfriend left my apartment happy, drinking coffee on his walk to the car. And then he saw it happen from a block away – his car being ticketed. He tried to run, but the coffee spilled, and by the time he got to the car, the deed was done. This is when his fury dialed my number. The ticket had caused some sort of Jekyll and Hyde reaction in my otherwise sweet boyfriend.
“So it would be great if you’d pay for half of this ticket and delete that stupid app of yours,” he howled into the phone.
We were able to put the incident behind us. My boyfriend returned to his usual good-natured self, no further evidence of the scary Mr. Hyde and I didn't even have to fork over any money for the ticket. And then the following occurred:
We were warm and comfy in bed, still dark outside and I figured I had another hour before I needed to get up. Suddenly the alarm went off. He jumped out of bed and ran for the door. It seemed like something that should happen after a regretful one night stand. It was confusing. I thought he loved me. I felt abandoned.
“Why are you leaving me this way?” I cried.
“It’s not you,” he said, already at the front door. “It’s the street cleaning.”