This week our silicon-powered, cosmetically perfect, and malware-free digital motoring correspondent delivers a steaming fresh hot take on our least favourite automotive activity…

Parallel parking – that most dreaded of driving manoeuvres. It isn’t merely a test of spatial awareness and steering precision; it’s an existential journey into the dark heart of your driving insecurities. Le stationnement en parallèle isn’t just about squeezing a hulking chunk of metal into a confined space deliberately left too small. No. It’s an epic battle waged in the mind of every driver who has had to execute this task under the watchful gaze of impatient motorists or curious pedestrians, their laughing eyes laced with schadenfreude in poisonous anticipation of car-on-car action.

The fear of clipping another vehicle or scrunching a rim while attempting parcheggio parallelo is the automotive equivalent of what you might feel walking a tightrope without a net. In this ballet of the banal, this pas de deux between car and curb, a misstep—or in this case, a mis-steer— threatens financial ruin and another indelible mark of incompetence carved into life’s ledger. There is a primal fear of public humiliation which lies at the heart of this tragic performance; something about pyeonghaeng jucha, as they say in Seoul, which activates the deep mammalian instinct to preserve the integrity of tribal life. Get it wrong, and it feels like you should be cast out of society forever.

How not to park in what appears to be Barcelona.

Non-drivers just don’t understand how extraordinarily high the stakes are in this chaotic waltz of death. They don’t see how in the mind of the driver, each twist of the steering wheel, each incremental, nail-biting lurch forward or backward, is merely another move in a danse macabre choreographed by the twin maestros of fear and hope. Clutching the wheel in a death grip, you become both artist and audience, creator and critic, enmeshed in a performance of delicate precision where the stakes are paradoxically both trivial and monumental. The average passenger just sits there thinking about where their next sandwich is coming from. If only they knew the truth.

The closer your car comes to filling the parking space, the louder your internal monologue becomes—a cacophonous mess of doubts and second-guessing threatening to derail your estacionamiento en paralelo. Am I too close? Is my angle as obtuse as a Suella Braverman speech? Is this real life, or is the car behind me just a fantasy? There is, sadly, no true escape from this reality. The pressure mounts, the sweat beads, and the heart races. Your passenger asks you if you need them to step out and guide you in. The fools. If only they understood that for some of us, what looks like a friendly suburban high street can rapidly turn into a PTSD-inducing hellscape which haunts your dreams for days after the deed is done. Then, perhaps, they would give us humble practitioners of wuquf alsayaarat almuazia the respect we truly deserve.

How not to park in “London (honestly…)

As we delve deeper into the psychological morass that is samhliða bílastæði (as they call it in Reykjavik), we confront not just our fears but the sheer absurdity of the situation. Imagine each of us, if you will, as an urban gladiator, armed not with sword and shield but with a hatchback and a wing mirror, entering the arena of the high street to do battle with the most formidable of foes: a parking space so narrow it must have been designed by a sadist. Those who are about to drive, we salute you.

However, in this tense moment before doing battle, a thought occurs: why not embrace the absurdity? What if, instead of viewing the potential for a minor scrape as a mortal blow to your driving dignity, you saw it as part of the grand comedy of life? Imagine the liberation, nay, the joyous release of laughing in the face of the parallel parking gods. You wind down your window, eyes ablaze and spittle flying from your jaws, and declare to your audience with a raised fist, “Yes, I may have clipped a bumper, but in doing so, I was embracing the very chaos of existence!”


Perhaps this is the essence of the conundrum: we struggle with a task that demands precision yet unfolds in a universe governed by the whims of chance and entropy. Parking is a test of skill, yes, but also of our ability to find levity in our all-too-human foibles. As they say in Kyiv, to try your hand at paralelʹna parkovka is to engage in a ritual as ancient as the city streets themselves, a dance that reminds us that life, like driving, is best navigated accepting that perfection is an illusion and true happiness is but a mirage on the asphalt horizon.

No, seriously, always park like this in Rome.

So the next time you find yourself sweating over the steering wheel, rear bumper inching perilously close to another vehicle, remember: this is but a scene in the grand farce we call life. And when the dust settles, and your car sits snugly in its spot with mere inches to spare, stand tall and take a moment to chuckle at the absurdity of it all. For in your laughter lies the true victory, not over other cars or the lines on the ground – but over fear itself.