Oh Em G

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Pulling up to my usual spot on Valmar, I spotted five spaces further up that required parallel parking; however, I ignored them and turned up KIIS F.M. instead. I tuned in too late to catch the actress being interviewed, but I did hear Ryan Seacrest ask her what advice she would give to aspiring actors. She informed her listeners that the key to acting is being persistent and never giving up. At first I disregarded her, since acting is not among my life goals, but then I looked up the street at the open parking spaces and wondered if I sometimes gave up too easily.

About a year ago, I left the DMV with my brand new driver’s license, hideous picture and all. During the test I missed the maximum 15 points possible and forgot how to turn on the headlights, and several days later I backed into a lawn chair.

For some reason, learning to drive never exactly clicked with me. Every instructor left the car laughing at my desperate attempts to master merging and unprotected lefts. Driving was not something

I could study for, and no amount of all-nighters, tutors or cheat sheets could get me through driving’s most daunting aspect: parallel parking.

Each time I watched younger drivers parallel park with ease, I grew more frustrated. I practiced the backing-in-pulling-up technique until my neck was sore, but months passed and I never got it.

By my 17th birthday, I had altogether given up on the notion of successfully parallel parking. But sitting curled up in the driver’s seat on Valmar, I could not block out the sounds of the actress on the radio, practically yelling at me to never take no for an answer. So I pulled back out into the street and resolved not to leave the car until it was parked. After seven full minutes of very frustrated braking, driving and reversing, the car fit, even if it wasn’t perfect.

I know that I will not be winning ‘driver of the year’ any time soon, but seeing my car in that space meant that I had to have improved.

And if I can conquer parallel parking, then I can conquer anything else. So maybe persistence really is my key to success, or at least to getting the best space on Valmar. •

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