Last week I attended the Northern California Independent Booksellers Assn. Trade Show on Oct. 15th & 16th and then left South SF, where the show had been held, for the real thing, to my daughter’s place near the Haight. A bit of childcare is a nana’s obligation and pleasure. This morning before my daughter and granddaughter took off for work and school, my daughter left instructions as to the necessary steps to be taken in order to secure a parking space across the street from her apartment, a space with almost no time or day restrictions, except for Monday mornings when any vehicle parked at the time of street sweeping would be ticketed. Today is Monday.
I followed instructions and before eight walked up the street and around the corner to where I had been parked. I then made a U-turn and drove to the other side of the street and double-parked about two parked cars away from the intersection — exactly where I had been told to park. I turned on my flashers, sat back and waited, all the while expecting the sweeper to come along any minute. After waiting for a lot more than a few “any minutes,” I left my spot and drove slowly past the parking signs and saw that the “any minute” could be any minute between now (which was about eight-thirty) and ten in the morning. So this time when I parked and activated my flashers, I also turned off my engine and went back to reading my uncorrected proof of Marco Politi’s Pope Francis Among the Wolves, generously given to me by the man behind the Columbia U. Press booth at the trade show.
Several big garbage-type trucks with “eco” embedded in their names went by, setting my heart off into “ready” mode. But before leaving my spot to follow, I got out of my car and spoke to the lady double-parked behind me, with her left blinker going. An old hand at this, she told me to wait for a mid-size white truck with big brushes both beneath and to the sides of the truck. Back in my car, I picked up my book and continued to read of the machinations of the Papal conclave. By the time Francis had been elected Pope, the street sweeper arrived (about nine-fifteen) and I was by then the lead car in a parade of about five other vehicles all double-parked with flashers and blinkers alight.
We all pulled away and made our left turns onto the street, forming a new parade led by the street sweeper. As the sweeper made its way down the street, brushes spinning, each of us patient drivers who had waited in turn, pulled to the right and parked our vehicles in a newly clean parking space. There were, of course, some cheaters, folks who thought they knew how to work the system by driving their vehicles, without flashers or blinkers, up over the curb and onto the dirt beneath the trees lining the street. Only their motors, still running, gave hint to their plotting to drive back down the curb as soon as the sweeper passed to gain an undeserved parking space. Those drivers were pissed that I parked where I did with no regard for their expectations. They did not know I had been inspired by Francis who gained his place without deceit, and where better than the streets of San Francisco to be reminded that there are wolves everywhere. – Sunny Solomon