Rock Star Parking
Ya’ll know that a lot of this blog is about cross-cultural experiences, but this one is cross-cultural in our own family.
You know, every family, every tribe of us, has its own rituals and ways of doing things, and even when you marry someone you think you know very very well, you are in for some surprises.
One of the surprises in our marriage was that my husband thought I was supposed to fill the gas tank. Hello? Fill the gas tank? That’s MENS stuff, don’t you know? We had some tense moments in our first couple months of marriage working that one out, especially when I would leave him with nearly empty gas tank. My husband was rightfully flummoxed by my ability to be both a feminist and a princess, thinking that filling the tank and fixing car problems was HIS work. I learned *huge sigh* to watch the level of gas, to fill the tank, and to take the car in for services. *another big sigh*
But one thing that drove my husband right up the wall was my thing about parking close to the door. Well, I will give him this, he did not grow up in Alaska or in Seattle, he doesn’t know about freezing cold winds and mounds of snow and driving rain and winds that turn umbrellas inside out. My husband didn’t know that husbands, like daddies, are supposed to find the perfect spot as close to the entry as possible, every single time, or to drop us off and meet us inside. No, given I was a feminist, he expected to just take any old spot and I would just walk with him to wherever we would go. We never got that one worked out.
Not until a couple years ago. I learned that my mistake was all in trying to explain the irrationality of family culture. I learned that it was all about marketing, about positioning, something that normally I am very sensitive to and very good at doing. I was hopelessly blind in my approach and hopelessly single tracked.
It all changed when we were taking a new employee on a sight seeing tour of Kuwait. When we got to the grocery store, suddenly a spot opened up right in front of the store.
“Wooooo Hoooooo!” hooted the new guy, “ROCK STAR PARKING!”
I could see my husband straighten up and preen a little as he thought of himself as a person who got “rock star parking.” The light went on. Once he started thinking of himself as a “rock star parking” kind of guy, I never had to walk a long distance to the entry again.