Before your wild imaginations run amuck, the spot I am talking about is a parking spot. Like the one you imagined after reading the post title, this one is quite hard to find, specially during holidays and long weekends. I have struggled in the narrow lanes of Ambala, busy streets of posh New Jersey, serpentine roads of Himachal; but what tops the list of my arduous quest is one small town on Jersey Shore – Point Pleasant.
The place is pleasant but finding a parking spot in summer is quite an unpleasant task. As smart as I am, just for the sake of getting a nice parking spot, I go early. Sometimes as early that the place is not even open. In fact, we did it in our recent Cape May trip, where we informed the officials that it’s time to open the zoo. Coming back to Point Pleasant, we got there early, found a nice “free” parking spot, spent some quality time in the aquarium, but then, the inevitable happened. My ever hungry and super choosy wife longed for food and she was in a mood to eat at Taco Bell that day. Complying to the wishes of my Almighty (you see, she gives me bread and butter every alternate morning), I drove 12 miles to the nearest joint. She was happy, I was happy that she was happy. But what broke the virtuous cycle of our happiness was the parking spot, when we went back to Point Pleasant after lunch.
This was around 2 in the afternoon and it seemed entire America was walking in the bathing suits towards the beach and each one had brought their own car. There was not even a single spot available – not even paid. And Madamji wanted to experience sunset on the beach. Like the muted version of our earlier PM, I obliged. So, for more than an hour, we went round and round 8 blocks to find a parking spot.
At first, we waited, then we drove towards any car that was moving, in the hope that some got sun-stroked and were going back. It didn’t work. Then, we started following people who were coming out of the beach and my lovely wife started asking them – Are you guys leaving?
Nope, No, Nada – we heard all versions of a plain ‘No’ that day.
But then someone said something other than No, but sadly it was – We live close by.
Then, my wife reframed the questions and started asking a set of questions – Do you guys live near by? If the answer was No, it was followed by – Are you guys leaving? To which one guy replied – ‘Negative’ in European accent! Wow, what kind of world he came from? See, I told you, now I know every version of ‘No’ in both English and Urban dictionary.
That was enough, I told my wife to walk towards the beach and I would join her after I got the parking. She walked out of the car, leaving her chauffeur behind. But what I saw couple of minutes later in the rare view mirror was baffling. She was hysterically waving at me. I panicked. I swiveled the car and drove towards her. She looked Ok, I rolled down the mirror. ‘I got the spot, Honey’, she yelled.
I looked at her in complete bewilderment and found many heads turning towards her. Some words have weird connotations, I tell you. I told her to calm down but she held the spot so dearly as if she won a jackpot. I parked, she smiled, and we saw the sunset on that beautiful summer day.