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The Slice: Talk about parallel universes

There are a number of spectator sports familiar to those who regularly walk around in downtown Spokane.

There is “Who is that guy yelling at?”

There’s “What is he high on?”

There’s “Now that is presentable homo sapiens.”

And, of course, “Name the last three businesses to have occupied that spot.”

But one of my personal favorites involves watching people try to parallel park.

I have no idea what the national trend might be, but in Spokane it seems there are more drivers willing to try to parallel park than there are motorists actually capable of smoothly pulling it off.

I can’t recall hearing anyone suggest that we in Spokane take particular pride in residents’ ability to park this way. And that’s probably a good thing. Because, from what I have seen, it’s not our collective strong suit.

Which is really neither here nor there. I mean, I wouldn’t rate parallel parking above kindness or support for public education on a scale of civic traits that matter.

Still, it’s odd to see people attempting to do it when clearly they don’t really understand the steps.

Perhaps this is attributable to the fact that a lot of people in Spokane came from small places where curbside parking ability is not a prerequisite. Or maybe parents stopped teaching this skill to their kids long ago.

Another factor might be our fondness for large vehicles. I’ve never tried to park a tank. Maybe it’s hard.

Naturally, you might assume the desire to park on the street would be driven by convenience and the wish to avoid pay-lots or garages. But feeding the meters is not cheap.

So I think at least some people here choose this option because they like showing that they can do it – even though many of them require multiple tries.

Among the common mistakes I observe from the relative safety of the sidewalk are poor angle selection and wheel-cranking incompetence.

Well, that, and engaging in magical thinking when it comes to sizing up the long vehicle/tight space relationship.

But maybe we’re just a bunch of optimists here.

Today’s Slice question: What keeps you from asking for a raise?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Readers talk about their parents today on The Slice Blog.

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