Despite my dislike for the free parking New York affords private automobiles, I decided to bring my car into the city for a few weeks. It lives at my parents’ house in Vermont, waiting for the day I live in a city where I’ll actually need it. (I’m loathe to sell it; I won it ten years ago on Jeopardy!, so it has huge sentimental value.)
I got in late last night and parked in a Monday/Thursday alternate-side spot, with the sweeper scheduled to go by sometime between 9:00 and 10:30 am. My red Volvo would need to join the devil’s dance of cars and drivers awaiting the sweeper’s passing.
Following is a stream of consciousness while I waited for the cleaning to occur. It kept me from getting overly bored while wasting time sitting in an illegally parked car so that I could take advantage of ridiculously underpriced real estate.
8:57. Reach car. A few other cars have initiated the dance.
9:00. Ban in effect. Still 10 cars on that side of the road.
9:03. Get out of car to gauge situation. Realize car could be one foot closer to the parked cars. Move car.
9:04. Wonder if this dog is as bored as his master, waiting for the storm to pass.
9:05. Guy in car behind me yells at neighbor walking by. Apparently the pedestrian started something with his wife, and the driver didn’t like it. “If you got a problem, call the police!” Driver motors off as a woman, presumably wife, runs up and continues argument with offending man.
9:06. First Citi Bike sighting. White shirt, black slacks, blue tie, gray helmet.
9:08. Beginning to fry in the heat. I’m directly in the sun. Wondering if this is some karmic retribution for my decision.
9:09. Craving coffee and a whole-wheat-everything bagel. Consider running to the store to get some food to tide me over. Lack paper on which to write my phone number.
9:10. People in two cars in front of me get out at the same time. Begin chatting.
9:11. Access-A-Ride vehicle slithers past. Instinctively become scared for my car’s integrity.
9:12. Mad that guy on the “wrong” side of the street has yet to move his car, and that the traffic cops haven’t picked him up for some easy money.
9:13. Sun hides behind a cloud. Brief respite. Cloud soon passes.
9:15. Realize I can watch this display from a nearby shaded stoop. Emerge from car. Cool off.
9:16. Traffic jam, including two cyclists, stuck behind a cab that hasn’t pulled all the way to the “wrong” curb.
9:17. Getting angrier at the guy who has neglected to move his car. Consider relocating mine to avoid scratches.
9:19. Move Volvo back 40 feet. Passing car honks at me in the process. Return to stoop.
9:21. Really enjoying the people- and dog-watching here. This block has such a fascinating cast of characters.
9:22. Wondering whether I’m now part of the parking problem or just a rational consumer. Decide the latter.
9:23. A whirring in the distance. Could it be? A flashing yellow light approaches. Then the sound stops.
9:24. Investigate. Yep, it’s the sweeper, but it’s stuck behind a parked car.
9:25. Traffic jam. People in the waiting double-parked cars start their engines.
9:26. A moped and two Citi Bikes sneak by the stalled sweeper.
9:27. Chorus of honking behind sweeper. Can these machines shift to reverse? I imagine they are tough to maneuver.
9:28. Signs of life from the offending car. No movement. Instead, double-parked truck moves. Sweeper is free!
9:29. Sweeper passes. Cars quickly return to their spots.
9:30. Back on the “wrong” side of the street.
<<<<Run some errands>>>>
10:20. I now, too, hate NYPD Traffic Enforcement. I guess this was the one piece of pro-car legislation that wasn’t passed by the City Council. (At least the gray SUV also got a ticket.)