Now that I’ve conquered my fear of driving, well at least within the South Jakarta area to run errands and what not, the next thing to re-learn is how to park. It is very tempting to quote Cher from Clueless, “What’s the point, everywhere in LA has valet!” or something to that effect anyway. But see, valet parking here in Jakarta is too expensive and Babeh thinks it’s a total rip-off. Plus not everywhere you go has valet. Obviously.
Back in LA, parking was not a big deal. Well yes, I couldn’t really parallel park but it is rare that I need to do that. My driving instructor back in Visalia taught me how to park and it served me well over there. Her magic mantra: start turning 2 cars before the spot and it should be fine. It really does work in Los Angeles and some parts on New Jersey that I got to drive. But back home is another story.
If you think driving here is crazy, try parking. Absolutely insane! I always need direction from the parking attendant to park. I’m so freaking paranoid I’ll graze another car going in and out, makes me wish the car can park on its own. It took me ages to figure out why the hell do I have such a hard time to park when it was relatively easy breezy over there? Granted I was not the best parker, but certainly was not the worst. Don’t need an attendant there. Then it dawned on me, or rather, my wise Mom pointed out the very obvious thing that I missed, California has AMPLE parking land (and in bits of New Jersey that I was lucky enough to park my cousin’s car). They gave such wide spaces that one does not need a parking attendant to point out when to go left or right. Oh bliss. No need to be afraid of bruising anyone’s vehicle. (Well, if you’re not paying attention, you could but don’t tell that car I dinged it 😉
Here, land is at premium that they give just the minimally required space to somewhat safely park the cars. To compound the problem, people here like to park backwards and I’ve never been taught to do that. I can only park going forward. I mean, I can sorta attempted to park backwards myself but only and only if there’s enough space in between, like if there’s 3 adjoining empty spots then yeah I’ll do it. Oh and then, to maximise land use, they’ll double park it by allowing other cars parallel park in front. Between the personal drivers and the attendant somehow they’ve got it all down to a T.
It used to annoy me that I need to use the service of the parking attendants. But having had to deal with parking in crowded spaces, well… I’ve made peace with myself. I acknowledge the fact that I do require their help so there. They would happily help too knowing there’s a tip in the end. Actually at certain places I now look for an attendant to help me. When there’s none, sometimes one of the personal driver would take their place. A bit of diversion while they’re waiting for their masters to finish their shopping, or business, or whatever.
Or I just try to find an emptier space. That works too 😉