Friday, September 30, 2005

The Zen of Parking Meters

At some point a couple of nights ago, Summer said, "ah, the hell with it.." and let Fall take over. Yes, yes, as I'm sure some of you are saying, "Ed, we know, Fall began last Friday..." Ha, ha. I know. But it really did suddenly switch over to Fall here. One day, it's warm, sunny, gentle breeze, we got our fans going throughout the house, then I go outside the other day and boom- Fall's here: still sunny, but definitely cooler. The air's got that crispness that you know is only going to get cooler, and- hey, when did the leaves starting fall off the trees and blowing down the streets? Sheez.

BU is on this long city street called Comm Ave. There is one indisputable law of driving around the school and is: Thou Will Pay To Park. It's a $1 an hour to park along Comm Ave using the traditional parking meter. My goal every time I drive to school - find a meter with some time left on it. Of course, it's never that easy. There's a 4 hour limit on the meter, which means I usually have to run out and keep feeding the meter quarters....which leads me to this observation, in an age of modern wonders, why, God, does this city still rely on machines that only takes quarters? You can only ask the poor undergrad working at the coffee shop for change so many times before you're face is plastered on a poster by the register with a sign below it reading, "Do not give change to this man."

So driving in takes some planning. One needs to avoid the meters that are Out of Service (they only have a 1-hour limit). I'm convinced the meters work on a kind of Karma system, where if you leave a meter with let's say, 30 minutes on it for the next driver, you will be rewarded with extra time at some point in the near future. There's even a rumor of a magical meter that's permenantly stuck on "45 minutes".

Sometimes the meters don't tell you they're out of service. Like yesterday, when like an idiot, I started to put quarters into the meter without noticing the time on the meter wasn't advancing. Now, like most people, you'd probably advise me to stop putting quarters into the meter, but I'm not that bright. What do I do? I put another quarter into the meter just to be sure its broken. It was. Crap. No use hitting the meter. I've tried. It hurts. In retrospect, I can imagine this might have been humorous to watch. "Oh, the meter's brok- wait, is it broken, maybe if I put one more quart- damn! [slapping front of meter with palm] come on, are you kidding me-"

Yup, very funny.

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