We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Thursday night a week ago the Bird Dog, Mrs. BD, and the youngest BD schlepped into NYC to see La Traviata at the New York City Opera (half the price of the Met next door, and just as enjoyable unless you need to see the world stars). The performance was wonderful, as always, and the guy singing Germond, my favorite role in the opera, was perfect.
But that's not my story. Because we arrived a bit too late to grab a spot in the Lincoln Center parking, we parked in a regular parking garage a few blocks away.
As we were waiting in line to pick up the car and to pay the parking fee around 11 pm, we observed a minor altercation. A lady in her 40s began yelling at the attendant that she would not pay the bill, and the mainly Spanish-speaking attendant was calmly trying to calm her down in halting English.
As the story became clear, they had just driven down into the parking garage, been issued the garage ticket and the rate for three day's parking ($270) and immediately decided not to stay because it was too expensive. But having already been given their garage ticket, they had to pay the one-hour minimum or the attendant would get into trouble. That was the problem.
In the not-new red Nissan sedan were her husband, and a lady who looked like her sister and two kids around 10-12 years old squeezed into the back. The car had Pennsylvania plates.
The attendant says "Missy, please sign this. It says you not pay, then you go."
"I am signing nothing. Just let us out of here."
It went on like that. The t-shirted husband seemed tired and uncomfortable, and was silent. The kids in the back looked mortified.
A dapper fellow standing next to me in the line approached the sister while the shouting is happening, and told her where they could park the car less expensively than in the prime neighborhood of the Upper West Side. She was appreciative, but had no idea how to get to where he suggested, which was far downtown along 11th or 12 Ave.
What had occurred was clear. This family had driven in to NYC from PA for a celebratory long weekend in the big city at the end of the school vacation. They arrived late, were doing it on a tight budget, and had a hotel without a garage.
I said to the sister "Why don't you just sign the paper, and find another place to park?" She finally does that, despite her sister's shouting "Don't you dare sign that. They can come after you."
Finally the wife took the wheel and managed to get the car out of the garage, and the line began moving again.
I felt so sad for them, doing their best to take on an adventure, but uprepared to handle the costs and complexities of New York City. Like a bird that can't fly, fallen out of a nest. I hope their little vacation got better after that, because I can't bear the thought that it didn't.
Your womenfolk are lucky to have a true gentleman in the family.
I am phobic about New York for similar reasons. So many cities
that rely on tourism are so user unfriendly! For example, I am too scared of the crime in NO ever to visit.Every time I drive to NY I get lost in bad neighborhoods, go broke with extra tolls from driving lost and parking. The train is even more expensive for a family, but less stressful!
Tho Ny is way improved!
I was born and raised in the the "Los Angeles basin", lived for years in the San Francisco Bay Area" but did not truly understand the notion if "fear of big cities" until I drove an 18 wheeler in and around New York city. I now understand why some drivers (indeed, some trucking companies) won't drive into NYC.
(I more recently drove my Ford Exploder in to Manhattan to visit a daughter that lives there--all I can say, I wonder where my wife and I went wrong.)
And now I have to worry because Omaha is about to annex us and I guess I'll have to move again. That will be sad--we have only lived here 18 years.
Laurence F. Sheldon, Jr.
Re: living in NYC. I did live there. Loved my work, but was paid too little to take advantage of the place. Hated and feared the city. Could not afford to go to the theater or the ballet or eat out or do anything there. Just worked 14 hours a day and slunk home to crash.
For part of my work I had to travel the busses and subways to visit people in Crown Heights, the Bronx, etc. and managed to do so unscathed. But work was worth taking risks with one's safety for. In my free time, I was more risk averse.
I have only ever seen one Broadway show: "Jesus Christ Superstar" which a college beau and his parents took me to see. If I won the lottery, I would get season tickets for the ballet, the opera, etc. But for now, New York is a place I make hasty trips to with the young to try and show them something besides the cultural wasteland we live in.
When someone tried to mug me when I was living in the city, only a block from my apartment, I just ran away. I was dumb, I guess, but as a female figured they might assault and kill me, not just take my money. Being in marathon shape at the time, I did alright. But that definitely soured me on the place.
Funny experiences, too, as when the kids I used to work with would insist on waiting at the busstop with me to protect me (picture an eight year old boy beaming and saying "Now you be safe from them gang-bangers!" Chivalry is found in unexpected places...
I had the exact same experience on a weekend trip to NYC in 2002. The parking lot had two signs, one misleading and one hard to see. It cost forty bucks to park for one hour. The dirt ball who ran the lot had my car boxed in so I was stuck. It is a racket.