Friday, August 14, 2009
The Parking Nazi
Oh the sweet aroma of summer with fall nipping at our heals. Sometimes I wonder why I have lived anywhere else than here in Kansas City on the Plaza, an architectural beauty that has survived the elements of Mother Nature and even the great depression. Oh yes, history, fountains, boutiques and some of the finest restaurants that the Midwest has to offer. Well, I think I have figured out the funds for the local boom to the Plaza area.....The Parking Nazi's.
As a newcomer to the Plaza lifestyle I was engulfed with intrigue and captivated by the hometown and upscale charm this diamond in the rough had to offer. I quickly moved my things into my new apartment anticipating my upcoming exploration of my new demographic location. One thing I had not closely considered was parking. Holy Snikeys!!! OK, so I can park here at all times except 7am to 9am and legal parking here is from 6pm to 7am and here from 9am to 11am. I was begininng to think that I needed a PDA just to keep the parking schedule straight...but wait...alas...a parking garage...I can park on the roof if I am a plaza employee but only in the main garage if I am a plaza customer. I can pay a not so nominal fee each month and park on the lower level west side but not the east. Not only had a PDA become necessary but I better look for one with GPS on it, I grumbled. Overwhelmed, I parked my car in a zone which only restricted parking between the hours of 7am-9am. As I nestled myself in bed the furthest thing from my mind was parking. Oh, had it been a long day.
I awoke to the birds chirping and the arts bellowing my name. I glanced at the clock; 7:15am the digital meter read. I quickly slipped on my clothes and caught a ride on the elevator to the ground floor. I glanced up as the elevator doors glide open and to my dismay I see paper blowing freely in my windshield wipers, an ad, I thought. As I approached my vehicle there they sat - $60 in fines. I was flabbergasted. In that short 15 minutes that my lawbreaking self slept had the law enforcer swooped in and disappeared so quickly I didn't even see them? Not a trace, no black and white car or brightly dressed lights graced the streets around me. There must have been a thousand dollars coating windshields that day to improve the streets of the plaza. I better NEVER hit a pothole, I thought. One by one, the automobile owners surfaced screaming obscenities. Though in my mind, I saw us as survivors, survivors of the person who wore the iron badge.
Who was this person so quick and ready to pounce? A wolf in sheep's clothing, I thought. For anyone so sly and their actions so premeditated would have to be a wolf or perhaps a sly fox. I removed my tickets from my windshield and imagined myself taking the form of a giant paper shredder. I drove 20 feet to the legal parking place that had freed up from those normal 8-5ers and all the while I was giggling as the giant paper shredder dispersed ticketed confetti in my head.
The sky was clear and beautiful and the weather perfect. I refused to let this damper my day. I spent the day gallivanting around planting the seeds of my roots. Still I couldn't get this vision out of my head of the man with the iron badge. I must find this man. I must find this man with such calculated attacks. I lay in bed that evening imagining a Napoleonic image that quickly started to take a more clear shape...yes...I see him...the image...the iron badge...was it...no... was it Hitler?
I awoke determined to catch a glimpse of the wolf. I sprang from my bed contemplating my clothing. Should I wear camouflage? I double checked to assure that I had no number tatooed upon my arm. The night was filled with restless dreams of hiding from men with the iron badge: Shimmying my car through trees and narrow streets blanketed with signs with times and rules. It felt good to finally awake. I had been blessed with one of the few 24hr legal parking places the previous eve; therefore, tickets were the furthest thing from my mind. I slipped out the door confident no one would see me. The sun was blinding but I saw something in the distance. I glanced at my watch 6:59am. The wolf had come out to play; I was sure. I saw, silhouetted against the sun a figure carrying an ominous object. My perspective thrown, at first I thought it to be a gun, then a wooden stake, no...a pitchfork? Was the a spiked tail I see? Suddenly the wolfs arm extended as if to hail something. Fear swept through my body; chills splintered my spine. The object clasped in the hand was worse than I could have ever imagined, it bore the dreaded name, Papermate. The fountain of fines began to flow. I ran as fast as I could. I felt the villain on my heels. I burst into the lobby of sanctuary and finally caught my breath. I need not know more, for what I knew already was all I could bear.
I changed my clothes, realizing that illegal parking was not an option. The man with the iron badge would always win. I found peace in the fact that today would be a good day. Today would be fine free. I meandered my way to my car recapping the events of the last 48 hours. When I finally reached my car, there I saw it, something flailing in my wind attached to my windshield wipers. Well, there was no way, I was parked legally. I lifted the yellow sheet and read ILLEGAL DISPLAY OF TAGS. In fine print.....WELCOME TO THE PLAZA.