Who remembers the days before pay meters took over downtown parking? As in green "two hour parking" signs lining King Street and Cathedral Place? Those were nice. Seldom enforced, I'd park in those zones for half a day when I was a Flagler student. Legend has it that Parking Enforcement would patrol two hour parking, chalk in hand. This would allow them to mark tires as a way to time how long a given car was parked. Guess how many parking tickets I got during the three years I used "two hour parking"...one. One $7.50 ticket. Can't complain.
One weekday morning circa 2006, I was struggling to parallel park across from the Casa Monica. Ironic though it may be, I've parallel parked in St. Augustine a hundred times more than I have in New York. Granted, I was only a licensed New York driver for nine months before moving to St. Augustine. Oh, and I lived in the suburbs.
Anyway, the man who happened to be parked behind me noticed my woes and offered to help. He actually wanted to get behind my wheel and park the car for me.
"Yeah right!" I thought to myself. But I eloquently replied with a "no thank you."
"What, you don't trust me?" The total stranger and potential Good Samaritan took my response as an affront.
"Nope," I thought. I remember keeping silent. My uncomfortable facial expression must have spoken volumes. I made another parking attempt and finally succeeded. It was a relief to no longer be a traffic obstruction.
I grabbed my backpack and started locking my car as the man parked behind me, got in his long Lincoln and clipped my bumper as he headed east on King Street.
I laughed inside in amazement - I had to. The irony was too strong. I wonder what would have happened if I had given him my keys...