Published on October 11th, 2017 | by Randy Weeks0
View From the Balcony: Square Parking
Watching traffic and parking on The Square can be most entertaining. Fairly frequently folks go the wrong way on Courthouse Square (north towards Bouré), only to be stared down by the hood ornament on a tricked out Dodge Ram. The Balcony erupts in Bronx cheers. Le’meaux d’Less, a loosey goosey guy, is especially fond of those times. He grins like a fifth grader in a pooting contest.
Among the notables who circle the Square ad infinitum are the Jag Man, who’s one cool dude, and Drop-Top Tallulah (she drives a convertible). Drop-Top Tallulah’s man-eating pit bull rides shotgun. During an especially exuberant happy hour, we Balcony Dwellers were egging Drop-Top Tallulah on. For entertainment purposes only, I ran downstairs, took my hat off like a true gentleman is wont to do, and politely asked, “Ma’am, might this humble vagabond circle The Square once with you and Lassie?” She stared, squinted, spit tobacco on my vest, scratched herself like a major league pitcher with jock itch, and said, “Na-a-a-a-a-a-w.” Then her dog bit me. I kid you not! That damn pit bull swallowed my right arm all the way up to my shoulder. Being the quick thinker that I am, with my left hand I did the Three Stooges eye-poke on ole Bowser. (No animals were injured in the production of this column.) He flinched and I yanked my arm from the inside of his colon. Tallulah gave me a semitoothless grin, spat again, and said, “Have a blessed day, you ole fart.” The Balcony dwellers hooted and took pictures.I normally park in a free zone, having been sufficiently shamed by my good friend, Leon, an insightful man. Leon grew up in Oxford and has an aversion to any progress that fines him, taxes him, inconveniences him, or otherwise annoys him. He sets the bar at the bar. When Leon speaks, people listen. Anyway, I got my first ten-buck parking ticket on the Square a few weeks ago on a game day. I didn’t know that metered extortion went all the way to midnight.
(The next day I learned that my good friend, Z. Z. Frog, had gotten a $50 parking ticket the same day. The back of his ticket reads, “The second such offense carries a fine of your firstborn”. Z. Z. says that his firstborn will be a Tasmanian Devil.)
The next Saturday I took copious loops around The Square’s borders, in a fruitless effort to avoid taxation without representation. (My good friend, The Sheik, is on the Parking Syndicate, but that don’t do squat for me. He plays by rules. Bent rules, but rules, nonetheless.) I wound up parking slap dab in front of Bottletree Bakery. But I was wise this time. I took a picture of the meter number so I could use that handy-dandy Passport parking app that lets you pay the piper via remote meter mesmerization. Guess what? Not only does Pissport not work on game days, but there’s a three-hour limit on the meters. (Cha-ching!) So with a bum left knee I limped down the sidewalk every three hours to shove my debit card in the sideways slot on the money-chomping monster. It was a long, expensive night.
Parallel parking is a lost art. Few can pull it off and most don’t understand it. A guy was about to parallel park on Van Buren recently. He put his blinker on and properly pulled up next to the car in front of the empty space he planned to occupy. Evidently the ding-dong behind him was used to daddy parking the car for her. She laid on the horn like she was trying to shove toothpaste back in the tube. Being the helpful kind, we Balconeers started yelling at Princess Dumb-Bunny. She finally quit blowing and the guy parked his car. We cheered him. We jeered Clueless.
Last week an old guy in a black Mercedes parked in front of Old Venice. There was nobody in front of him, so he had plenty of space in which to navigate. When he finished, his car was sticking out two feet beyond the white lines into the street. He looked at it, shrugged, and took off towards Ajax. Where’s Barney Fife when you him?
My friend Sparkles has been hounding me for months to write a piece about parking and traffic on the Square. This was it, Sparkles. Please put your mouth in park now.
Oh, yeah—the pit bull in Drop-Top Tallulah’s car? It was actually a rat terrier, but getting bitten by a rat terrier doesn’t make for much of a story.
And that’s the view from The Balcony.
(I left my catch-phrase out last time so I’m doubling down.)