I drove halfway to work this morning, which is something I do when I have to go somewhere right after work or if I'm really, really, really late. I drive 4-5 blocks towards my office, park the car, and walk the rest of the way. This saves me about 5 minutes of walking time on the way home, and another 5 minutes of driving time to reach the highway. At rush hour, those 10 minutes can save half an hour. The difference between hitting I-83 at 5:15 and 5:30 is unbelievable. Just in case you're wondering, and your probably not, I stop at halfway not because I like to do things half-assed (although I certainly do, at times), but because after the halfway point, we enter 2-hour parking zone. So I would either need to move my car every two hours (no thanks, I'd prefer to use that time for visitng the coffee shop or the diet coke machine), risk a ticket/tow (been there, done that), or pay to park in one of the overpriced garages (I am morally opposed to PAYING for the privelige of coming to work).
I only do this on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, because there are street cleaning signs on one side of my preferred street on Thursday, and on the other side on Friday, which means I will likely spend more time looking for a spot than it would take me to walk all the way in. The city has not actually cleaned that street in the two years I've been walking to work, but they are amazingly precise about giving out tickets for parking in the street cleaning zone. Every Thursday and Friday, the meter maid is there at 8am sharp, and I can actually gague how late I am by how far she's made it up the street when I walk past. If she's still on the third or fourth car, I'm early. If she's halfway up the block, I'm on time. God forbid, if she's already left, leaving a little white and red ticket on every windshield on the block, well, crap. I'm late. Again.
I decided to park on the block before the street cleaning block today, even though that puts me one block farther from work. I couldn't see any open spots ahead while I was stopped at the light, and there was a nice big space right next to me, so I took it. I pulled my car right up to the No Stopping in Front of This Bus Stop sign, so that another car could fit behind me. I'm nice like that.
I put The Club on my steering wheel, gathered up all my crap, hit the Lock button on my key chain, and I'd just started to walk away when a lady waiting at the bus stop started hailing me down, yelling, "Miss! Miss! Excuse me! Miss!"
My heart sank, and I was sure she was going to tell me that my engine had been smoking or alarm lights were going off all over my car (on the outside? I have no idea how that is possible, but in my mind my car might have been giving off some sort of Morse code with the non-working blinker), because I KNEW it was sounding funny this morning, damnit, I really am going to have to take it to the dealer, I hate my stupid car.
But, surprisingly, she wasn't trying to tell me that my car has developed conscienceness and is now able to alert bystanders to it's plight.
"You might not want to park there," she said. "They give out tickets for parking in the bus stop."
I looked back to make sure my front bumper wasn't poking past the sign, and it wasn't. I was pulled right up to the sign, not an inch past it. A damned fine parking job, if I do say so myself. I thanked the woman for her concern, but pointed out that I wasn't actually in the bus stop. See, I'm right behind the sign, and the red arrow points forward.
"I'm just sayin'. They give out tickets here for blocking the bus stop. I live on this block, the meter maid was just by," she replied, folding her arms over her chest.
"Um, I'm not in the bus stop".
"I'm just sayin'. It's an expensive ticket, too."
"But.... I'm not.... in the bus stop..."
"Well, I'm just sayin'. Don't be surprised if there's a ticket on your car when you come back."
The saddest part of this conversation is that I moved my car. That crazy woman is probably riding the bus right now, patting herself on the back for being such a good samaritan. I, on the other hand, was late to work.