Given how predictable our travel fights are, you would think we could control them. We only ever fight about two topics: staying safe and getting lost.
This trip's safety argument happened on day one. We drove - well, Gary drove - to Nashville, and that night we decided to do something we've never done in Nashville: listen to local music. (What a concept.) We drove to the crowded touristy area downtown and tried to park the car.
Our first lot seemed fine to me. We were halfway to the sidewalk when Gary said something that suggested he was hesitant about the location (too many people, too few people, something) and I spun on my heel and headed back to the car because there's no point in trying to have fun with a worried Gary.
We then found another lot and when we were three seconds into figuring out the automated payment system an enormous man on the sidewalk began bellowing at us.
"THERE'S FREE PARKING UP HERE ON THE STREET."
Gary bellowed back, "NO THANK YOU, WE'RE FINE."
"THAT LOT COSTS TWENTY SEVEN DOLLARS."
I bellowed back, "NO, IT DOESN'T." It was ten bucks.
"SPOT RIGHT HERE ON THE STREET."
Gary was now ten seconds into figuring out the automated system and had had enough of it. "OKAY!" he bellowed.
"You are a sap." I said, quietly.
"It'll be fine."
"Any man that enthusiastic about getting us free parking is up to no good." Also, any man that friendly is up to no good. Any man that enormous is up to no good. Any man that insistent is up to no good. Any man that talks to strangers is up to no good. Any man luring people out of well-lit parking lots and on to loading docks is up to no good.
But before I knew it we were back in the car, parking in front of a loading dock, and I was handing the Terrifyingly Friendly Man a ten dollar bill as a tip.
I wish I could tell you that I'd done that because I'd figured out that this man was a local character who supplemented his income by finding parking for tourists. I never did figure that out, and I was angry at Gary because I'd picked up on his hesitancy and he'd ignored my directness. Instead I ruined our dinner discussing it.
After we eventually had some fun wandering up and down the strip, we headed back to the car and saw Terrifyingly Friendly Man approaching a car that was trying to find a spot.
"THERE'S A SPOT AROUND THE CORNER. TIP ME TEN BUCKS; I'LL GET IN YOUR CAR AND SHOW YOU WHERE."
That did not fly with those people. Now that he was alone, Terrifyingly Friendly Man saw us and waved us toward our car.
For the rest of the trip any time Gary wanted to make me laugh he'll get a big genial grin and start waving at me like Terrifyingly Friendly Self-Appointed Valet Service Man. And now, next time we're in Nashville or India or anywhere parking is scare and people are friendly we'll know the deal.