A little BMW stalls out under a stoplight. Half a dozen strangers run from all directions to help push. One tall gangly guy dances around in front of the car – sort of a self-appointed drum major/traffic cop. He does some minor acrobatics as the car brakes to a halt and the crowd of pushers disperse. There’s a quick consultation between the driver and that guy in front. They apparently decide against trying to back into the parallel parking space just behind and to the right of the car. They would have gravity working with them, but would have to slip into the space in one pass – no do-overs. The traffic cop skips back down the hill, stops in the middle of the intersection and signals for the traffic to stop. He gives the driver an all-clear signal; and the car backs slowly into the intersection, veers slightly to the right, and coasts into a pay lot. The traffic guy does a little dance. A patrol car crawls up beside him and whoops its siren, reminding him that his business here is finished. He gives a convincingly brief explanation, pointing at the parking lot, and makes for the sidewalk. The cop pulls away. Traffic rolls. The driver – I guess he’s stuck.

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