Parking


2017-02-19-23-04-06-3

My home of 18 years sits on a Vancouver corner near B.C. Children’s Hospital. A tidy middle class neighborhood dotted with parks, worlds away from the 10 minute drive downtown. Traffic circles calm the ebb and flow, night falls with silent invitation to coyote, skunk and racoon. Day breaks with time clock punctuality, proximity to the hospital dictates a 6 am scramble for precious free parking.

Parking trouble started with a distant rumble. Several years ago Car2Go marched into town – https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/car2go/ The city designated one side of the next block as “Car2Go Parking Only”, no big deal – I joined the car sharing club knowing one would be just down the street, half the cost of a taxi anytime my husband had our car. No skin off my nose, parking for our car and my work vehicle were guaranteed by “Resident Only” parking on our side of the street as well as the street running alongside the house. Across the street remained up for grabs, anyone determined to forsake sleep for a run at the 6 am parking dash might save $14.25 in the hospital lot.

Early last year geniuses at city hall obliterated 60 free street parking spots to build a bike lane. To be clear – this is wide residential street with generous sidewalks, an existing crosstown bike-way 9 blocks south, unremarkable daytime, negligible after dark traffic – but this is Vancouver. Mayor Gregor Robertson rides a bicycle to City Hall,  oblivious to realities of life in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

Tolerant at first, I didn’t mind non resident hospital staff parking on restricted sides of the street. Restricted resident only parking on two sides of our corner could park a dozen vehicles, we only needed two – one in front, another around the corner. Imaginary propriety held for a while, I called it respect, parkers considered it testing the water.

Word of consequence free parking violation spread like wildfire. For over a year I countered with polite notes tucked under wiper blades of offending vehicles. ” We don’t mind you parking in a restricted zone but request you not park in front of our house” or “Please park at the alley so we can all get along” meant nothing. I’d played my cards, they knew I was bluffing. Months of home from work realization parking wouldn’t be close to home, relentless personal debates over tolerance vs spineless complacency later, I called bullshit on resident only parking violators.

Plate numbers in hand I dialed parking enforcement. Civic employee took my complaint with apparent sympathy, diligently confirming repeat offender plates with assurance of immediate action. Empowered, I left for work without a tinge of remorse, certain that news of a ticket or trip to the impound lot would spread as quickly as news my corner was a pushover. Next morning the cars were back. I called again. The third day I returned from work to one of the cars parked where I wanted to pull in. Noticing a driver at the wheel I assaulted the horn with vengeance, slammed my car in park and jumping out to a chorus of “what’s the problem you crazy bitch”. “This is my house! Get off my street” was enough to shut him down, he drove off without a murmur.

Only then did I notice a city vehicle down the street. A handful of perplexed onlookers watched me stomp toward his car shouting  “are you parking enforcement?”. “Yes” the man replied. Conflict resolution kicked in allowing Bylaw enforcement man to hear my out with appropriate sprinkles of sympathy. He apologized for lack of civic action, suggesting I call again to request a “patrol” for offending vehicle plates, adding “permit only” parking was dealt with immediately, “resident only” was a little trickier.

Feeling better but not convinced, I walked home to Google Vancouver resident only parking and found this –

Resident Parking Only (RPO) zones

The RPO program was cancelled in January, 2010. Existing RPO zones have been grandfathered into the residential parking system, however, the City no longer creates or extends RPO zones. All new restricted parking is now permit based.

RPO zones:

  • Allow you to park on your block without a permit
  • Are enforced on a complaint basis only

Where RPO regulations are ineffective, residents may request a change to their block regulations and be incorporated into a new residential permit parking plan.

WTF! “Where RPO regulations are ineffective residents may request a change to their block regulations and be incorporated into a new residential parking permit plan”. Heads up to the civic employee who takes my fourth complaint call tomorrow morning, all I can say is they’d better have a damn good grasp on “ineffective” because this resident only parking victim won’t be swallowing excuses.

 

Nordstrom Rocks Seasonal Absurdity


Stymied gifters across the land –  unfurl your brow, exhale gratitude for American retailer Nordstrom. Know they understand seasonal distress associated with gifts for those who have everything. Sleep well, Nordstrom has your back, those with everything will cherish an $85 rock. Hesitate at your risk, supplies of “medium leather wrapped stones” are limited. Purchase with confidence, secure in affirmation those with everything don’t possess a leather pouch rock.

Why would those who have everything want a rock? Glad you asked, Nordstrom has the answer –

“A paperweight? A conversation piece? A work of art? It’s up to you, but this smooth Los Angeles-area stone — wrapped in rich, vegetable-tanned American leather secured by sturdy contrast whipstitching — is sure to draw attention wherever it rests.”

Don’t beat yourself up over failure to recognize Nordstrom whimsy. Gifting those with everything is a perilous journey, rejoice in the charity of Nordstrom. But for Nordstrom, the weak among us might have gifted those with everything charitable donations in their name. $85 perfectly good dollars could have fallen to creative or thoughtful expression.

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/nordstrom-selling-85-rock-stone-snob-life-article-1.2900370

 

4 AM Birthday Party


Throwing myself a birthday party at 4 am is complicated. Not complicated in my existence, more justification for pouring another glass of wine between laundry’s wash and rinse cycle. Strictly speaking my 57th birthday expired at midnight, I say it’s history when sleep delivers a new day. Half an hour ago pre-dawn wine glow launched an ambush of conscience – everyone knows how much I work, so what if my birthday falls on the 12th straight day in a row and tomorrow makes 13. Why did I tell co-workers it was my birthday? Was I feeling sorry for myself?

My 57th birthday, 12th work day without a break started at noon and didn’t end at 2:30 am when I walked in the front door with a bundle of uniforms to wash for tomorrow’s parties. Oh crap, I’m feeling sorry for myself! Quick, wish me a happy birthday because laundry is done and my wine bottle is empty. Never mind, I’m going to bed 🙂

Baby Ran My Day Off


Waking to an imaginary unplugged serenade of 54 40 Baby Ran proved I had a day off work. Playing gently in my mind, I stretched and went back to sleep. After ten straight days of screaming alarm clocks I was free. In truth freedom began the night before when I rushed home from work to shower and change for the 54 40 concert. Since the 1986 release of Baby Ran, 54 40  has played background vocals in my life. Attending a know every word to every song concert was exceptional. Capping it with an unplugged banjo plucking rendition of Baby Ran made me forget how tired I was.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/54-40

Not once did I look at my phone or care what time it was. Much as I like my job, Baby Ran reminded me how important time off is.

How To Make An Impression


What a strange day. Work started at 8:30 am – 70th birthday party for the father of a repeat client, brunch booked by a woman insisting I personally handle festivities. Truth is, lasting impressions are common, I’m good at my job. Meeting hundreds of clients a year, committing each name to memory isn’t a priority. No worries, even if greeting her face to face doesn’t kindle a spark, she won’t suspect otherwise.

Genuine “hello, so nice to see you agains” left my lips. “How long has it been?”. Answering “eleven months, let me find my husband and children, I want you to see the baby”, offered  just enough time for a secret love my job happy dance. Off she went, oblivious to her status on my impression list.

Eleven months ago she booked a “birthday” party – 70 guests, generous selection of stationed cocktail reception food, birthday cake – standard family party. A heads up regarding relevant details would have been nice. “Guests 5-7 pm” isn’t the same as “you can’t serve anyone until the Rabbi circumcises my son, blesses the food and breaks bread”. OK – good to know.

Adaptability is my middle name -hardly the first, certainly not the last event to stray off course – what impressed client to ask for me by name almost a year later? Bah, doesn’t matter! Her name meant n0thing until the moment fresh eyes prompted “pinch me now, it doesn’t  get better than this!”

Repeat client perfection has nothing to do with her impression, everything to do with mine. I wonder if she knows our first encounter is legendary? Not for omitting details of the Bris – in my line of work that’s another day at the office. Her legend wasn’t born during the party, it grew from something left behind.

If ever in doubt as to how to make a impression, let me assure you – a coffee cup of foreskin and bloody gauze will suffice. No point in calling out “excuse me, you forgot something”, goodbye pleasantries had been exchanged. Standing alone, cup of foreskin in hand, several thoughts came to mind. Was this usual practice? An oversight? Might they return in panicked haste to retrieve it?

Twenty minutes clean up, one minor detail before walking out the door. Tossing coffee cup in the garbage bin, I drove away pondering the absurdity of  believing it socially acceptable to leave the caterer a cup of bloody gauze and snipped bits. Regardless, I made a positive impression, an imprint void of coffee cup acknowledgements or comprehension of the lasting impression stamped on me.