Riding in Cars With Boys

Back in the day, teenage couples occasionally engaged in a thing called parking. Not ‘parkour,’ which involves leaping off rooftops and fences. Just parking, where you stop a car. And sit for a while. You’d find an adequate hiding place, park the car, and learn about the fine game of baseball. For guys, it was all about third base. For girls, it depended on their level of interest.

My first boyfriend, who shall be nameless (Les Mitchell) had this great idea to check out a local cemetery. We’d just been to the vampire movie, ‘Count Yorga.’ As cheesy as it was, it still managed to scare the crap out of me. It was only when the Umpire was announcing the start of the game that I realized my boyfriend, a tall dark and handsome type, looked exactly like Count Yorga. Exactly! Minus the cape, and the whole, turning into a bat, thing. But still.

I freaked out, he kept yelling, “I’m not Count Yorga!” and we pretty much had to call the whole thing off. Not the relationship. Just parking in the cemetery. Which otherwise, wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

My next boyfriend and I found a back alley behind Green Street, up on a hill. It was winter, and we’d leave the motor running while discussing foul balls, strikes and grounders. I’m not sure what the home owners nearby thought, but I do remember being occasionally yelled at. Something like, “You kids get the hell out of here!” Which would have been a good idea. Because our discussion got so heated, the parking brake came off (oh, The Rambler! I miss you so!) and we rolled down the hill and almost got killed by oncoming traffic. Never park there.

One place we could never, ever park, (and my siblings can testify to this) was our own back alley. My parents had a strict, two minute timer. If they didn’t hear the car door opening, the house lights would flash. If we ignored the flashing lights, a face would appear at the car window. Usually my dad’s. Mom was always the good cop.

I’m sure all my friends have good parking memories. It was so much better than nowadays, when parents meet their kids at the door, hand them some protection and tell them to enjoy the ball game. Where’s the fun in that? There’s something to be said about the fine art of sneaking around. Of course, I can only point this out now that my children are grown up. And if they have their own parking stories, well, I don’t want to hear them. Because some things are just too private to share.

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