A pink taxi

A pink taxi

November 15, 2011


Upon my request, I received a parking sticker as a Valentine gift last year. It was the sort of V. gift ( at 1000 dirham or 300 dollar, it appears like a hefty price for parking). But it lasts a year, and it facilitates the life of a pinktaxi tremendously. This means I can park ANYWHERE in Dubai, for free. No need to worry about coins, sms, renewals, tickets.

Before my Valentine gift, I had learned the ingenious way of smsing my plate number to a central parking phone number with the location I was at too. Because I frequently park in the same neighborhoods, it even became a trick of cut and paste. But it also meant I was paying larger phone bills because of all the hop-parking, drop one child, pay parking, go after another, pay parking, go back for the child, pay parking again, get some coffee, pay parking.....

I actually failed my driving license the first time in Springfield, Massachusetts because I didn't back out in Reverse out of the parking space, but kept the car in drive out of nervousness. I eventually became an expert parallel parker, able to squeeze my car in the tightest parking spaces. My dad says its genetic and it comes from his side of the family.

My husband isn't a very patient at parking and so he is gifted with parking karma which means he will always find a parking right in front of the restaurant or library or store. This was particularly relevant in Boston where you would otherwise freeze in your walk from your car to your destination.

Parking in Boston and its neighboring Cambridge was always difficult. I never valet-ed my car (except at the night club) and always arrived a good half hour before my class, the film, the step aerobics class, the brunch date. I drove in circles looking, or I would strategically double park and wait for someone to release a parking space. This is probably where I listened to a lot of radio and grew fond of the habit.

I jammed the parking meters with precious quarters that I would save and collect just for that. I never gave any quarters away at shops and saved them in old camera-film plastic containers that were designed the size of a quarter, in my car. But still, the meter ran out even though I would rush to its ticking last seconds, and the parking warden, all decked in winter gloves and hat would be writing a ticket or would surprise me with its fluorescent color envelop, just thin enough to fit the numerous checks I would write to the City of Boston or Cambridge.

My sister just got a ticket in NewYork for Blocking the Box. She laughed at my ignorance of the infraction and emailed me a photo of the sign. All I know is the danger of being towed, an experience I only had in my wildest nightmares.

But my favorite parking related sign is one I found in Beyrouth recently, calligraphied in an almost handwritten form and obviously composed casually. I translate it literally: "Pharmacy: one second parking".


  1. I was hoping I would find a more suitable place to wish you a very very happy birthday pinktaxiblogger! You spoke about how the summer of your 40th, leading into the fall has been magical for you and perhaps represented the change you expected on your 40th birthday, a year ago!

    I think that 40 is the new 30, or 41 the new 31, and so the vibrancy and energy that you feel is not surprising. May you have a healthy and colorful year ahead, filled with all that you love most: your family, your friends, beautiful art, and lots and lots and lots of exercising (and never ever any parking tickets!)

    I love you so much and hope that you will never lose that inspiring energy that lies within you,

    your little sister

  2. A cousin of mine taught me patience while trying to find a parking spot: just wait less than 5 minutes,and you will find a spot.I rarely go to old Dubai or little India to get my photos developed at my Old Indian friend who sends me his photographers on family occasions.He costs me a fraction of those fancy Western photographers.Parking near his photo shop is almost impossible ,yet with patience I manage to get the prized spot.