Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stickin' it to the Man (or his proxy, the Philadelphia Parking Authority)

A lot has happened since last we spoke, back at the end of May, which was literally the last time I felt free to do things that don't pay me or require a high degree of professionalism (like this blog), but the long and short of isthat I'm enrolled in the summer semester at Wharton which is a huge time suck featuring 7 hours of evening class, 2 nights a week plus more homework than you can shake a stick at. Fortunately it's over on June 30, but I didn't want that to let a whole month go buy without a peep.

Also, I'd like to prove I'm still out there setting out crafty, bloggish thought experiments to entertain the masses and have been cataloging them through various digital channels including Facebook mobile uploads, Twitter and emails to myself with notes about things I'd like to write later on. I maintain a list of 'Band Names' on a notepad application on my cellphone and have added a few this month, which I'll sample here:

Big Word Salad
The Nestorian Heresy

So it's still very much on.

To wit, this post, which was motivated by my good friend Dr. W following the trend of moving to town from New York City and doing so in a big UHaul truck which he emptied and parked on the street in Old City last Monday night. Having helped him hump a bed, bookshelf and other heavy items up to his 4th floor apartment, I was clearly in a giving mood and kept on with some advice on the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA, stars of TLC Show 'Parking Wars'): that he'd better get the UHaul out of there lickety-split at 7am or he was in for a world of pain. No problem, he'd set his iPhone to wake himself up and return the UHaul.

715 I get an angry text that Dr. W has slept in a mere 10 minutes and by the time he arrived on the street, the PPA had already called a tow-truck to the scene who couldn't be dissuaded from collecting his rented UHaul the associated $250 release fee. Ouch. But we saw this coming.

On Tuesday night I was over at Penn where I park my car on the street and the PPA collects tolls for this privilege until 8pm at night. You can pay for up to 3 hours at a time, but it increments in 10 minute intervals from the time of your payment so it's often the case when I'm buying big chunks of time that I am forced to increment past the hour of 8pm because I have to stay until 9. Not this time. Claiming an ounce of Dr. W's pound of flesh, I won back $0.25 by paying for parking through 7:59pm rather than 8:09pm just to see if the PPA would be on the scene in the moments of my infraction. I know this sounds lame, but you have to fight the aggrieving forces of creeping bureaucracy in subtle ways or it will overwhelm you. And I'm happy to report that I didn't get a ticket. So take that PPA!