Friday rush hour traffic in Los Angels is no joke. Yet there I was after a long day of work, sitting idly bumper to bumper in a sea of cars. I reached N’s city exhausted and wanting nothing more than to exit the vechicle that had held me hostage for over an hour. My saving grace was the fact that I managed to land a prime parking spot directly in front of N’s apartment. Most residents park along the street and depending on the time of day, you may be forced to circle the area for ten minutes or more just to find a space. Sometimes it’s impossible and you have to pay and park blocks away at the meters. After already battling traffic, I was thrilled with this small victory.
Then the phone call came.
N, still en route home, asked me to pick up dessert for a dinner party we were attending that evening. Now? He wanted me to get back in the car right now? Why couldn’t he just pick up dessert on his way home? Why couldn’t we get it together on the drive to dinner? I was tired and didn’t want to forfeit the parking spot that I had secured mere seconds ago. To make matters worse, it was raining and the streets were still heavily congested. I begged. I pleaded. I wined. But N wasn’t having it. Normally, purchasing sweet treats would be a joyous occassion, but I returned to my car only feeling irritated. I drove and parked again then muttered to myself as I walked three blocks in the rain to the cupcake shop.
I knew N would already be home by the time I arrived. I enviously imagined him sprawled on the couch while I served as the sacrificial errand girl. This thought festered as I drove back in my damp, rain-spattered jacket. Rounding the corner to N’s block, I noticed something odd. His car was parked in front of his house, engine running. What was he doing? As I neared, he pulled out of the spot and motioned for me to take it. At that moment, I realized he had been saving this parking space. For me. How long he had been waiting there for my return, I didn’t know. I quietly accepted his spot as he ventured out in search of a new one. Sometimes it takes a massive, life-changing event to rightfully humble you. And sometimes, all it takes is a saved parking space.