Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Best Ticket I Ever Got

          It’s possible! Come one, we’re not just a bunch of whiny complainers despite what our 3-term Mayor says. To park a car on the street in this city means you’ve been able to see the same buildings that completely blocked your path and made you late yesterday fly by at high speed today; you’ve seen the Chrysler Building and the Brooklyn Bridge out opposite windows; you’ve seen the world from inside the pothole… You get my drift. We do all this for the privilege and we have agreed to pay for the privilege, so we are over it already. We are over the high registration and inspection fees, the high insurance costs, and, of course, we are over the on-the-spot code breaking of complicated and sometimes bizarre street parking rules. Sure we “Clicked to Accept” without really thinking about it, but we could have backed out a long time ago. We know if we want this city to be our oyster, we have to pay the automobile tax.
          Like the best of New Yorkers, once we “got over” we were able to enjoy the unexpected, the funny, and the incredibly lucky turns that all of this moving side-to-side, shifting prohibitions, exhausted late night headache that makes me want to whine and complain sometimes bring. Like that especially lasting quiet time you have to think about your Blog while you are looking for a parking space, or the time you got to see Brad and Angelina on location (in your parking space – hundreds of them!), or the parental bonding when you rediscover the joys of algebra with your daughter as you wait for the Street Sweeper to pass, not to mention sharing the thrill of a snow day with that pure childhood glee that other grownups, who don’t Alternate Side park, just can’t completely appreciate.
          So we get past the occasional tap on our wallets and can still manage to have a favorite ticket, the funniest ticket, the least hated ticket, the ticket that saved your life (for this last you should just plead Guilty). Mine is the ticket I got on a first date.
          It all started when I well was into my 30s. I had decided I was ready to settle down but it just wasn’t happening and the dating scene had begun to seem like a lot of work. I had tried the usual meeting places: classes, gyms, even gym classes, but even the most steamy (gym classes again) hookup ended with one hangup or another. So one day I vowed not to bother. My mother was already giving up on me anyway. But, just in case I was overreacting, I allowed that whenever I was invited to a party I had to go no matter what. That means even if someone from that Astrology Class I fell into called to invite me to a party, I had to go.
          Well, the stars did not come calling, but an old girl/friend did and invited me to a party that I did not want to go to. I always liked her, but knew it would not go any further with her and I had already been to several of her parties. I knew her friends. There was no point. To make a long story short, I went, had some warm words with my host and then, when I walked into the living room, was stopped frozen in one of those time/space moments we’ve all heard about. I pulled up a chair, had a very breezy conversation during which I managed to get this bright, exciting creature to agree to a date.
          The following Saturday I drove to pick her up and double-parked in front of her building. When I buzzed her, she invited me up. I explained I was double parked, but like so many NY auto-phobes, she cluelessly suggested that it was just for a minute. I know the romantics among you, men as well as women, are hoping that I did not mention the ticket to her, that I just stuffed it in a coat pocket or under the seat, that I didn’t even bother to look at it. And, after all, look at the bright side. I could have been towed (see previous Blog entry). But I did happen to mention it and I may even have betrayed my annoyance at the PVB and Parking Police in general. She seemed interested and asked to see it, looked it over carefully, and then threw it in the glove compartment as if it had nothing whatsoever to do with her.
          Then we arrived late to this awful play someone had recommended that was so bad we were the only members left in the audience at the end. This was made worse when the huge cast did a carefully orchestrated and choreographed curtain call. They came in and out in waves, in groupings small and large, from every angle, and their frozen grins and complete lack of self consciousness as they marched this endless parade in front of two people mechanically clapping in the front row made them seem even a little dangerous. Like they were recent furloughs from the local theatre-as-therapy farm.
          Such was our relief when we did manage to escape that the rest of the night was burst through with laughs about it all, that ticket being only one of the funniest. But the real reason why this is my favorite ticket, besides the fact that this was my first date with my wife, was that I realized that PVB sabotage, the god awful play, even my miserable failure to predict how difficult parking would be near the theatre, had nothing to do with the success or disappointment of the date. This perfect date thing is a figment of our imagination. We are led to believe by movies, TV, tabloids and magazines that the first date has to be perfect, that it cements a relationship’s future, but really it’s that very first meeting that is perfect and that takes place without any planning (stars not included). People either connect or they don’t and it happens anywhere, even in Traffic Court. A better test of a good relationship is the “forgiveness factor”. We get over what we can’t stand because we want to. And, even though I am not yet ready to forgive the PVB for everything they have done to us, that was one ticket I never did contest.

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