November 2, 2006
The little things
In car-centric Los Angeles, parking is key. And a parking pass? Priceless. Friends can't cruise by if they can't park with ease. You can't ask a date up if he can't ditch his wheels. Sure, I can take my cute tush down to the traffic depot and get a one-night-only permit. But that yearlong pass? That plastic permit I carelessly toss in my kitchen junk drawer? That's special. That's limited edition. That's the golden ticket of convenience.
Let me tell you a story about a man named Rich. We dated from March 'til May a couple years back. Then he dumped me. Over the phone. Before 8 a.m. on a Sunday. I wasn't awake enough to realize I was single. I swore I would never talk to that cowardly lion again. 'Til a week later, when I remembered he had my guest parking pass. What to do, what to do.... Stuck between a rock and a heart place, I desperate dialed. I had to. 'Cuz the one thing that's harder to find than a good man is a good parking space.
"Hey, Rich, it's Carin. I was hoping I could stop by and grab your pass. No, your pass." Fun chat.
I learned my lesson. From that point on, I wasn't gonna give up my parking pass easily. Oh no -- guys would have to get to know me first. So at the end of each date, I'd make Scott pass back the pass. Night after night after night -- I'd give him a kiss, he'd give me the pass. A silly exercise, but one that gave me a sense of freedom. What? We waited 40 years to get out of the desert; he could wait a few months to reach the parking promised land. As long as I controlled the pass, I could date whom I wanted and have people park when I wanted. But one day I realized Scott was the only one I wanted to park.
I wanted Scott to park with ease on my street; I wanted him to feel at home in my pad. This was a true small step/giant leap moment. Well, as giant as my short legs can leap. 'Cuz we all know it's the little things we do and the small things we share that show we're ready to give a relationship a real chance.
Does he know your password? Your salary? Your real hair color? Do you let him drive your car? See you in your glasses? Control the remote? Do you cruise Victoria's Secret? Fain interest in fantasy football? Make out with him in public? Really? 'Cuz that's not sharing, it's annoying. And gross. Please, I beg you, stop.
But checking his team's score, stocking his favorite food, trying to talk less? Those little acts are big. "Celebrity Fit Club" huge. Why? 'Cuz we're Jewish. We consider every little act significant -- eating, shopping, dressing. Don't eat milk and meat, don't buy a wedding band with stones, don't wear wool with linen. We're a people who walk around asking "What would Moses wear?"
In Judaism, we believe every act has meaning. Same with dating. Even small efforts mean things are moving forward. They're checkmarks on the way to a serious relationship, which at first seemed too good to be true. When it came to serious relationships, I only tinkered in the minors. I never went pro. So I wanted to be sure this was real. I wanted to be sure the moving forward was mutual. At first, I took baby steps with Scott, I thought carefully before making small gestures, I clung to my free parking.
But eventually, you stop overanalyzing and start enjoying. You decide to climb aboard a relationship. You embrace the joys the little gestures bring. Which is why Scott now has the key to my heart and my apartment.
Freelance writer Carin Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.