tat for ticket

… lovely Rita … meter maid … where would I be without you? …

Have you ever got a parking ticket? Have you ever begged a parking inspector to not ticket your car, only to have them give it to you anyway?

I’ve been the lucky winner of three parking tickets in my life. I don’t remember why I got the first one, but it was back in Melbourne — think it might have been an expired meter. I got the second one for parking on a street that turns to permit-only after 7pm — there are far too many permit-only streets in L.A. The third one was a beauty. I parked in a spot with a meter four minutes before the meters turned off for the evening. I didn’t have any change in my pocket and thought to myself, “Four minutes? No-one will give me a ticket for that.” Sure enough, the ticket was time-stamped 5:59pm, one measly minute before 6!! The judge agreed it was silly and I didn’t have to pay that one. But, I can still hear the evil laughter spewing from the parking inspector as he slid the ticket under my wiper, thinking what a funny guy he was and how much he loved his job.

Today, I got a little sweet revenge.

A couple of months ago, I was driving on a street in my neighborhood when I saw one of those cars with “parking enforcement” emblazoned on it. It was parked on the side of the road, under a tree, nicely shaded. As I got closer, I realized there was someone in the driver’s seat, laid back, taking a nap. It was 9:30am, so I don’t think he was on his lunch break. I decided that even though it was my tax dollars he was snoring away, I would show a little mercy, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him sleep off whatever he’d gotten up to the night before. I figured that showing him the courtesy that he has probably denied so many others was a friendly gesture.

When I drove past the same spot late this afternoon and the same guy was in the same spot catching another forty winks, I decided it was time for a little action. The nice lady at the City Department of Transportation happily took down the license plate and said she would investigate. She even understood why I might not want to give her my name — apparently, there is no “blue wall” as far as parking inspectors go.

It might have been petty, and I might have felt like a snitch for a moment or two, but that passed quick. I figure that karma balanced itself out just that little bit more, and I’m glad I could help.

gym neighbors

… it’s gonna make you sweat till you bleed … is that dope enough indeed …

I’ve been hitting the gym again lately. “It’s about time,” I hear you saying, and I totally agree. It’s paying off in a number of ways — feeling more energetic, wearing some of those older clothes that I’d grown out of, and the odd towel that I’ve accidentally walked out of the place with. On the flip side, laundry and showering frequency has gone up.

I’ve been a member of four different gyms in my life, and like always, I find the people that go there to be infinitely interesting. I have headphones on while I’m there most of the time, so I don’t have to listen to the crappy music they pipe through the place. It does mean that I don’t tend to talk to to many other people, but there’s plenty of different characters to observe. Here’s a sample of the visitors to my current gym:

  • the guy who never works out: he wanders around, talking to whoever will listen, while he avoids the equipment.
  • the girl who means business: she powers through her eliptical workout like a mad woman, making fools of anyone who might try to keep up. She’s a machine!
  • the guy who looks like Danny Ainge: he comes in and reads the paper while he rides the stationary bike. Nothing exciting, he just looks like Danny Ainge.
  • the girl who brings her bag with her: instead of hiding that ugly, bright green bag in a locker, she carries it everywhere she goes, like her life depends on it.
  • the guy who wears the same thing every visit: I’m no fashion plate, but this guy wears the same windbreaker and silly pink hat-like thing on his head every day. In this case, he’s also the guy who never works out, so I would have thought that someone might have mentioned it to him. I’m hoping he washes them frequently, I haven’t gotten close enough to find out.
  • the people who need a good supply of towels: one towel per session seems to be the norm, but these folks have to drape a towel over every surface that they touch. The most I’ve seen in use at any one time was five on a stationary bike: one over the seat, one over the back-rest, one over each arm-rest and one over the handles and display.
  • the overweight personal trainer: this just seems a little odd to me. He seems to sweat more than his clients, and they’re the ones working out.
  • the mirror people: they spend more time looking at themselves in the mirror than actually working out. At the very least, they have to work out only in areas where they can gaze on their reflection.
  • the seniors: there are a bunch of them that come in for an 11am aerobics class. It’s great to see them being active, but make sure you don’t arrive or depart at the same time, as the parking structure is a nightmare, full of cars moving at snails’ pace with their turn signals permanently on.

And then there’s me. If someone else was writing this, they might have an entry like this for me:

  • the flash in the pan: these are the people that don’t go to a gym for a long time, put on more pounds than they’d like, then in a moment of clarity, decide that it’s time they off-loaded some junk from the trunk. They hit the gym like maniacs for a couple of months, then disappear just as quickly, only to re-surface a year later to repeat the sequence.

I’m hoping to break the cycle this time — no, not literally!

light on light

… alone in the dark but now … you’ve come along … you light up my life …

My fridge, not surprisingly, has a light inside. Sometimes I even open the fridge to light up that side of the kitchen because the light switch is on the other side of the room. It’s useful.

Actually, that reminds of the smart ass line my brother used to use when we were kids: “Why don’t you go sit in the fridge and see if the light goes out when the door shuts!” But, I digress.

My clothes dryer has a light inside. My washer and dryer are in my garage. The rocket scientist who installed the garage door opener decided that he’d wire it into the switch for the light in my garage, so if I turn off the light at the switch, my garage door won’t move. Sometimes, when I’m out in the garage at night, instead of climbing up and over my car to pull the chain attached to the ceiling light, I open the dryer to light things up a bit. It’s useful.

So, why, if my fridge and dryer have lights in them, don’t my washing machine and the freezer on top of my fridge? I was wondering that last night when the dryer had clothes tumbling and I was loading the washing machine in the dark — there’s a movement sensor light out there, but it goes off after a minute, and my dog refused to run around and set it off again. While the laundry was doing its thing, it was time for dinner. Open the freezer, hey! No light here either.

So, who decides which appliances get lights and which ones don’t? Is one more light-worthy than another, or am I just buying the cheap ones?

Maybe I’ll write Mr Kenmore or Mr Frigidaire and find out. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll get an electrician in to fix things up.

evasive cereal bits

… food, glorious food … what wouldn’t we give for … that extra bit more …

I was contemplating my bowl of Special K the other morning, but I don’t think I could have put it any better than Willo.

evasive cereal bits..
why is it that when there are only a few more flakes swimming around in the milk, they can be so tricky to get on the spoon? it’s like all of a sudden they TRY to dodge it.. “oh shit, here it comes! Run to the other side of the bowl – quick!”