Put ‘Er In Park

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

If you recall we were discussing a teenager’s romantic parking places of the 50s. Great care by a young couple had to be taken when choosing a hideaway. Under the lights in a mall parking lot for instance, would not a wise choice unless one planned on filming the whole episode for posterity. A friend of mine chose a new subdivision construction site right across from the high school. What he didn’t know was the cops were keeping an eye on the place because somebody was stealing bricks.

He was just starting his moves, when a cop turned on his flashlight looking for a section of some prospective homeowner’s fireplace.

Needless to say there was no more romance that night or perhaps for several days after. The couple eventually married, but to this day whenever they hear a siren, she buries her head under a pillow and he hands his driver’s licence and ownership papers out the front window.

The odd time having a favourite spot could get you into serious trouble. Sometimes you would be out for a drive and would happen upon your buddy’s car parked on the side of a road. That was fine unless he was snuggled in the arms of some other guy’s girl. (I guess that should be the other way round.) Most of us were pretty good if we happened upon this minor indiscretion. Oh, we might tell a few friends, put an article in the Packet, but that’s about as far as it would go – assuming of course, it wasn’t our girlfriend.

However, if your steady was with you when you discovered this erotic little adventure, it was game over for the cad. Women had, and likely still have, an unwritten code that any guy who cheats on his girlfriend has to be publicly shamed.

Teenage girls do not adhere to the premise that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Good heaven’s no! They prefer the Napoleonic Code that says; “An unfaithful boyfriend shall be humiliated and proclaimed a social pariah and if possible, his life destroyed. Sometime in the distant future, the circumstances will be reviewed over a few Cherry Cokes. If he should then be found to be innocent, well then, no harm done”.

A friend of mine was caught one Sunday afternoon in the wintertime. One of his pals drove by on a tour. The girl he was with recognised the parked car and spilled the beans in the Star Café (later to become the Shangri-la Gardens, and now the Brewery Bay Food Company). The adulterer knew he had been spotted, but in trying to get away, spun his wheels and the car slid off into the ditch. It was amazing how fast the news of this harmless, but kinky, affair spread through the town. Within fifteen minutes, three or four cars were at the crime scene, including one carrying his soon to be ex-sweetheart.

I think he finally married the girl in the ditch. Just as well, their lives were ruined anyway – what with the big red ‘A’ burned into their foreheads.

The Japanese ruined the auto industry. Not because of shoddy technology and workmanship, they make fine cars. Their engineers simply never understood the romantic properties of a North American car and the tremendous contribution Detroit made to teenage love and romance in the 1950s. I guess it’s a cultural thing. I understand they sleep on mats.

First Toyota began to make cars smaller and smaller. Then Nissan or Mazda added bucket seats. Finally the old rear bench seat we loved for so long disappeared and is now but a fading memory from the past. The Japanese unwittingly sacrificed sexual pleasure for styling and gas mileage. Now as we near the end of the first quarter century of this millennium, a love affair in a Honda has become borderline masochistic and the driver and his or her lover are no longer covered for back injuries under the Ontario Health Plan.

The back roads are gone. The quiet country lanes and leafy glades are no more. The last of the great Canadian traditions has gone the way of the dodo and the good 50 cent condom. A hundred years from now, historians will be trying to piece together what destroyed Canadian Society and why kids are sticking up charging stations when they should be on the side of a country road making love. They will narrow it down to just one thing – the tragic loss of teenage parking.

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