The Art of Backing Up

My husband drives a big red Ram truck, but I prefer my little Ford Escape. The truck is too intimidating sometimes. As cars get bigger and parking spaces get smaller, I find myself stressing about just trying to park that thing. My little Escape, however, is an ‘03 model and a little crowded for two teenagers and a ten year old. So even though I love it best, KC is always trying to get me to take the truck when running the kids around.

Recently at student pick up, I whipped my little Escape into one of two parking spaces, only to realize seconds later that the big white truck passing the open spots, had done so in an attempt to back into said area. Whoops! I hadn’t done anything wrong, but people aren’t alway so forgiving at student pick up. With the Arizona heat and the crowded, busy, parking lot, caretakers sometimes loose their tempers a bit too easily. As this truck began its decent into the spot next to mine, the tiny spot that had just gotten smaller because of my parking job, I had one of two choices… slink down in my seat and pretend to be busy so I wouldn’t have to make eye contact with him, or roll down my window, smile, and try to win him over with my southern charm. I chose the ladder and rolling down my window gave him my biggest smile, telling him that my husband drove the same kind of truck. I then let him know that I was very impressed with his parking job. To my surprise he gave me a big smile in return and told me that he was a truck driver by profession. I now have a new friend and a healthy respect for anyone who can so easily back up a big truck into such a small space.

A couple of days later, I was parked in said parking lot again, when a fellow parent quickly and easily maneuvered his car into at tiny little spot. I was flabbergasted! How in the world did he do that? It didn’t take him anytime at all to throw it into reverse and back in to a spot.

These encounters inspired me to begin driving the truck more, and to attempt backing into more parking spots. However, my new found undertaking has come with a better understanding of the many steps it takes to back up anything, including a GREAT BIG pickup truck. I’ve had to rely on my mirrors more, sometimes going back and forth, between reverse and drive several times. My novice ranking has also caused me to stress out a little easier so I only attempt backing into spots where there were no cars on either side of the slot I’m attempting to fill. Further, I’ve decided to back up only if there appear to be no other cars in sight. I get nervous enough just attempting the back up thing, I don’t want anyone witnessing my failed attempts at the skill.

One afternoon after pulling into the parking lot for pick up, I realized that the conditions were right for backing into my spot so I was compelled to try. Normally there are too many cars and too many people, but that day the surroundings were perfect. I was ready. I swung wide then put it in reverse, maneuvering backward toward my intended spot, overestimating the space to my left. I was now too far over the line. No problem, I just needed to pull forward and try again. This time I was crooked in the lines and needed to straighten it out. I put it in drive yet again and that’s when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, a gentleman sitting in his truck.  Great! Now I was starting to sweat, my conditions were deteriorating quickly, and my blood pressure was going up. I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, then instead of putting the truck into drive to move forward I accidentally put it into reverse and backed up…right into the big concrete part of the lamp post. The lamp post didn’t move, but I had a sneaking suspicion that the chrome bumper on my husband’s big red truck now had a nice little dimple in it.  I sat there for a minute, hating the fact that I had chosen a spot near the lamp post to back into and trying to decide if I really want to know what I’d done. I even contemplated ways to pawn the damage off on someone other than myself. It was no good, I was going to have to fess up. As I got out to survey the damage, I noticed the gentleman in his truck staring at me. He was trying to look all nonchalant, but I could tell by how he peaked over the top on his sunglasses. Also, did I tell you he was backed nice and neatly into his spot? Ugh! The unfairness of the universe at that moment!

When I got home and fessed up, KC was pretty good about it. He surveyed the damage as we were backing out of the driveway in the Escape. The way he chided me I knew he wasn’t too mad, but I was frustrated with myself. My sense of pride turned into a feeling of foolishness. The feeling didn’t last more than a week though, then I was at it again.

I picked a new parking space in the school lot and now when I begin any back-up maneuver I don’t stress so much. Instead I look at the whole memory as a growth experience. At the end of the day no real damage had been done and I learned a little something to boot. I’ll take that as a win.

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