Thursday, July 12, 2007

Small Mercies: Parking Diaries III

It's a sad day when you have to willingly and voluntarily submit to the iron fist of the #!@%# NYC Sanitation Department. For us, that sad day was today.

It's a long story - isn't everything? Just depends on how much detail we go into, so I'll keep to the facts. In two days Ed is going on a week-long male-bonding fishing expedition in Canada, a more than well-deserved vacation. For at least a month, Ed has been working horrific hours, around the clock, and has not been able to do much in the way of preparation for this trip. Luckily not that much has to be done EXCEPT retrieve his fishing gear from our storage unit that's across the neighborhood and has normal-people hours of 8am-10pm. Very reasonable hours of operation for the average person, but Ed has not been able to get over there, not even on the weekend, because of his work schedule.

So this was the first morning he didn't have an early meeting or conference call, so he got up and went over there to get his stuff, and planned on arriving at work a little later than usual. I reminded him that, it being Thursday, he would have to park on a Friday street upon return to avoid the wrath of Sanitation. He came back about 45 minutes later with his gear, but stressed out about the traffic report on the radio that indicated the route his bus takes was heavily jammed and delayed. Then as he rushed to take a shower, mentioned as an afterthought that he hadn't found a parking spot and was in front of a fire hydrant with the blinkers on.

So I went down and drove around for at least 1/2 hour looking for a spot anywhere within a 15 minute walk. I knew I had to get back soon so Ed could leave, so I swallowed the frustrated lump in my throat and took the only option I could see left to me: I parked in front of our building, on a Thursday morning street sweeping side. I take the girls to a music class on Thursday mornings - we walk there, so I knew that by parking here it would stay here through the 9:30-11am sweeping period, and I was guaranteed a $45 ticket and sticker of shame. Just no way around it.

When I got back from music class sure enough, an orange ticket envelope on my windshield, but - and here's the small mercy - no sticker. I have never heard of this happening, and all possibilities seem unlikely: they ran out -OR- they forgot -OR- they felt like being nice? I can't see any of those being the case so I attribute it to divine intervention. And I'm not being flippant here. Different little things help different people at different times, and no one knows it better than our Creator. In my case today, lack of a big annoying sticker on my car window went a long way for me - a very long way.


Davey said...

That sticker looks like a good deterant to me. I mean sure, a ticket is never fun, but a big neon sticker proclaiming that you and your car are the reason for a dirty New York? That's got to shame a lot of people. I like creative punishment. A $45 dollar sticker and your neighbors pointing is much better than being towed, or booted (which would be really anoying and just make you mad, not shamed) or a huge $200 or more fine (which would break my bank). Glad you got spared (mostly).

Beck said...

That sticker is "cruel and unusual".

Your blog has a way of making NY sound like a totally CRAP place to live... why does anybody stay?

Disco Mom said...

An excellent observation and question, Beck, whoever you are.

Time to wax philosophical: in many ways NY is a CRAP place to live. I think the CRAP-factor increases or decreases by level of limitations. For example, money is a limitation. If you have a lot, NY could be a sweet place to live (Trump Towers, car service, send laundry out, etc.) If you're on a budget you gotta compromise by living farther away (=longer commute) or in a smaller space (=drive me crazy), etc. Children, another limitation. I love them, but I look at the childless and think, "wow, they're really having a different NYC experience than I am."

I think other people stay because they don't know any different or any better, because they love city life that much, or because their family is here. But when I first moved here I quickly learned the reason NYers are so pissed off all the time - they hate it with a passion but love it too much to leave.

I am not a NYer and therefore will be able to leave when Ed's job is done next year. Happy to do it.

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