Sitting On The Hood

Yesterday I was driving around looking for a parking spot, skeptical. It was a weird hour.

I drove past my apartment building, scanning the street, side to side, either side of the street would do–but there was nothing.

Other drivers, who’d given up on doing loops–looking–were parked at hydrants. One driver was even sitting outside his car, on the hood, defeated, watching the pink sky where it met the purple sky where it met the orange sky. Night is always coming.

A lot of action happens at fire hydrants.

I made a left and headed away from the river, the bridge, the sky. I’m worried I’ll die in my car like this, searching, and that’s what I’ll be remembered for. It’s what I spend the most time on. And that’s what they remember you for. And now here I am writing about it.

A taxi was double parked ahead, a fare taking a long time to get the hell out. I swerved out of the way, thinking I could squeeze in between the cab and the line of cars parked on the right, but I was wrong.

My passenger side mirror slapped into the parked car’s driver side mirror and ripped it off. My own mirror just budged the tiniest bit.

Well, shit.

At the light I made a left. I followed the loop of the blocks back around, taking one way streets back to the parked car. A trained fish swimming downstream. Driving, guilty. I don’t know, planning to leave a note or slip $20 in the car or something, if the window was open a crack, anything.

On Fort Washington I got stuck at the light, fire trucks and an ambulance coming the wrong way up 176th street. I parked. I waited.

By the time I finally got back to the guy sitting on the hood of his car, the sky was even more purple and the guy was still sitting there defeated. And in front of my building, there was a woman separating glass bottles at the trash. And the car whose mirror I’d ripped off was gone, the spot vacant.

I took the spot. Got out, fixed my mirror. Went in my building.

That’s where I’m still parked, right now. Can see it out my window.

Can also see a woman with a measuring tape and a camera at the hydrant. She’s gotten a ticket and is measuring the space between the hydrant, the broken sidewalk and her SUV. I yell down, “Fifteen feet you need!”

“I got fourteen foot eleven inches,” she says.

Fire hydrants.


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