Blog photo quiz: Where am I? Europe? No, though I’m going on December 6. I’m in… Winchester, MA, the town about a block from my house. I haven’t explored Winchester Center much since moving to Arlington, mostly because I’m usually heading in the opposite direction, toward Cambridge. I’m aware of Winchester’s reputation—basically, affluent—but what I was not aware of was… FREE PARKING!
This morning I met a friend at the Winchester Center Starbucks for coffee, and I was fretting about quarters as I headed out the door, because breaking a multi-year streak, I this week received not one but two parking tickets. Thank you city of Newton and city of Somerville.
The Somerville ticket I deserved— I’d run into an office without putting quarters in the meter, because I didn’t HAVE any—but I swear, the agents in Cambridge and Somerville are like parking ninjas. They lurk unseen behind parked vehicles so even if you look both ways before leaving your violating car and are back in less than five minutes, they’ve got you. These people are everywhere. And I know it’s their job, but they are merciless, and there is one guy in particular I find belligerent from past conversations and I constantly see him on the streets in my old neighborhood! I have received parking tickets for both valid and invalid reasons over the past six years, and it’s never a pleasant feeling to walk toward your car and see that colorful slip fluttering under the wipers. “Ninjas were here.”
The Newton parking ticket I apparently deserved but was unaware I deserved. Meeting another friend for coffee in Newton Center (it was a friendly and caffeinated week) I parked on a residential street to avoid using a meter, because still no quarters, and although I was in no way blocking a driveway, I received a ticket for not parking far enough away from a driveway. Honestly. I can’t keep up with things like this.
And who has quarters, really? Quarters are like gold in the city because of 1. laundry and 2. parking meters, but the truth is I’ve never got them, because I rarely pay cash and therefore rarely get change. And I should get a roll of quarters, but I rarely go INTO a bank. Sigh. Did I mention in a lot of areas I’m talking about, a quarter only gets you fifteen minutes? So you don’t just need one. You need four or more.
Determined to evade a third parking ticket and getting thrown out of my household, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in downtown Winchester, although the spots are marked 2 hour max, there are no meters! No quarters! No stress. Just parking. I did see parking attendants patrolling to make sure I wasn’t abusing the 2 hour limit, but that was fine by me. I now know I’ll return to Winchester to explore further, just because I know the parking will be convenient.
And finally on the subject of change… If I had a quarter for every time the conclusion of my husband’s PhD has been pushed further and further into the future… well, I could park wherever I wanted. But on the day of the Newton parking ticket we found out he has a thesis defense date of December 3, 2009! Hooray, Tim!