“The Delicate Art of Parking”

The other night I was getting some fresh air on the third-floor patio area of my building, which is really code for partaking in my nightly ritual; well, it was code when my step kids were young!  A portion of the patio overlooks a loading bay area for a food wholesale business that doubles as a parking lot in the evenings, with an automated ticket station. This was mid-week, so there were only two cars in the lot, which holds about 12-15 cars. I was just about to leave when I saw this small SUV driving down our one way street. I use the word “driving” loosely because it was more like moving 10 feet and stopping, over and over again. I thought the driver was drunk, so I decided to hang around to see how this would end, and because I clearly do not have a life! I am not quite sure why the driver was doing this, but after doing the “jerk” several times, he (this was determined later) decided to pull into the parking lot. I watched as he drove through the lot, turned around at the end, drove the other way, and then finally choosing to back into a space beside another car, one of only two that were in the lot. There were, of course, no end of completely open spaces that he could have easily pulled into, but no, he chose the spot with a car on one side and on the other side a garbage bin, a couple of short, concrete posts, and some signage. That’s the spot he chooses! Perhaps he was trying to impress his passenger with his superior parking skills, who knows?

Fine, no problem, it’s a free country and all that other crap people say in situations like this one, let him park there if that is his choice. Who am I to pass judgement on another person’s choice? I was still pondering this poignant question about a half hour later! Why may you ask? Well, because I was still watching this fool trying to park his car in that spot! I have never, in my more than 50 years of driving and parking, seen a guy, or anyone for that matter, go back and forth so many times trying to park! Some of you may be thinking right about now why “I” would be willing to spend more than a half hour watching this, and you would be right to question that! Fair enough, but there is a reason, which just might have something to do with a particular ritual! It took this moron more time to park his small, Porsche SUVish type thing, than it did for me to type all this! And if you knew how I typed, you’d be even more impressed. Not to mention the other thing. You know, wink, wink, nod, nod. But he finally succeeded, bought a ticket, and he and his companion walked away. I thought about sticking around to see what happened when it was time for them to leave, but even I have my limits!

You may be happy or perhaps unhappy to know that this nimrod that was trying to park is not really what this is about. It is, however, tangentially related in that watching this loser made me think of a movie from my past, which I absolutely loved: “The Delicate Art Of Parking” (2003), which is a small indie Canadian mock-documentary about parking enforcers, “meter maids” (think the Beatles “Lovely Rita”), or “expletive-deletives,” reserved for when you are the one getting the ticket! Those come quite naturally in whatever language you happen to speak. In English it would be: “You are a &^%*^%$, and don’t you ^*&^%$#%*! In French it might look like this: Vous et un &^%&*) **&^%%, et n’est ce pas @^*&%$^*!

I liked the movie for two specific reasons, which can only really come from having lived long enough in a country to understand its idiosyncrasies and nuances. In this case Canada, where I happen to be from. More specifically, the backdrop for this movie is a particular city in Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, the city I called home for 23 years! 1. Knowing the language. Yes, Americans and Canadians both speak the English language, but there is a major difference between the “English Language,” and “language.” It’s not only about words, like ones that other English Languages don’t use or have never heard, or at least not in this particular province’s use of the “language.” This would be the same as regional dialects for different areas of the US, like the south for example. It is also about the “way” things are said: the “descriptors” used for certain situations, or dialogue, and especially the humor. And yes, I am aware that “humor” should have a “u” if I wanted to keep this 100% Canadian specific, but I would end up getting pissed off (speaking of American colloquialisms) at that annoying red line! 2. The acting. There have been many Canadian-made films over the years, which have featured “big-name” Canadian actors, as well as “big-name” actors from the US and other countries, fewer that have just a couple of slightly “famous” Canadian actors, and even fewer that have perhaps one that is known, and the rest not at all, certainly not outside Canada. That would be this film. If you know even one of these names, and you are not Canadian and have never lived there, give yourself a gold star: Trent Carlson, Andrew McNee, Dov Tiefenbach, Tony Conte, Robert Clarke, Fred Ewanuick, Nancy Robertson. When you look them up on IMDB, and then look at other films they have been in, you will see things like “Zealot #1,” “Old priest at funeral home,” “Boy on the street.” To be honest, for me that is part of the movie’s charm.

I saw it the year it was released and loved it! It made me laugh because I thought the subject matter was hilarious, the characters brilliant, and the premise that was not at all far-fetched. In fact, the exact opposite is true, it was 100% believable. I have encountered some of these people! A few too many times!  And the acting, it was terrible! Or so I thought at first, which is partly why I was laughing so hard. But the more I thought about it after my first viewing, I realized that the “acting” was really brilliant, because in many ways it was not acting, if that makes any sense! The lesson here: Sometimes you have to let things sit awhile before you can truly appreciate them! Although I watched the movie many times after that initial viewing, I have not seen it in over 15 years, so it was nice to be reminded of it, even if the memory jog was provided by someone not able to park his car. Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways. And now for the bad news. You will not have an easy time finding it, especially here in the US. But to give you a little teaser, here is the official trailer: 

You’re welcome!

Los Angeles 2023

2 thoughts on ““The Delicate Art of Parking”

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