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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Parking’s No Walk in the Damned Park, You Know

Parking is the new bane of my existence.

(So you’re off the hook, Old Navy commercials. For now. Just wait until I figure out where to dump my car every day, though — I’ll be back on your ass like flies on shit. Goofy-assed cheesy ads.)

Anyway, for the next… um, forseeable future, actually — I’ll be parking illegally during the weekdays. Half the time, I’ll be doing it in one neighborhood, in a ‘Resident Parking Only’ area, and hoofing it twenty minutes or more to one office. The rest of the time, I’ll be… well, I don’t know what the hell I’ll be doing, to tell you the truth. Today I parked at a two-hour meter right outside the office, and fed the annual GNP of a small Latin American nation into it, in quarters, to avoid getting a ticket.

(Which would cost me the annual GNP of a large European nation, so it’s worth it.)

But I can’t go on doing that forever. For one thing, I mis-timed my trips outside every freaking time today. A couple of times — out of, like, six — I knew I was late. I’d gotten caught up in a conversation, or a meeting ran long, or something. But the other times, I scampered out to my car with the firm expectation of having a couple or three minutes left on the meter, only to be greeted with the big fat red ‘EXPIRED‘ sign. Either I can’t tell time — which is not outside the realm of possibility; I still have trouble tying my shoes, and I’ve been described as a ‘potty training accident waiting to happen’ — or the meters are cheating. Today, it didn’t cost me; maybe the meter bitches take Hump Days off. I don’t really know. What I do know, though, is that eventually I’m going to lose that little game of bitch-and-mouse, and so I’d better find a better solution. Fast.

Unfortunately, the prospects aren’t good. I think I’m going to end up driving to some arbitrary, but relatively safe, spot, and schlepping the rest of the way in via public transportation. The idea doesn’t exactly get my ‘nads all wet ‘n’ slippery, if you know what I mean. I’m not a big fan of commuting as it is. The last thing I want to do is add another half an hour to it, not to mention a half an hour spent not in my cozy, comfy car, but rather in a funky, hazy train, being rubbed up against greasy businessmen and stinky-assed babies and random fat farty people. If I wanted to put up with that kind of shit, I’d go to my damned family reunions. Bleh.

I don’t want to hear that ‘Lots of people do it, though‘ crap, either. That poo don’t fling, people. It’s supposed to mean, ‘Well, if those other people can manage to do it, then you should, too.‘ But to me, it just says, ‘Hey, look, there are a lot of slack-jawed morons out there doing something foolish! Why don’t you join the herd?

Which is not to say that commuting for an hour or more each way every day is ‘foolish’, necessarily. But it’s not to say that it isn’t, either. Sure, there are a few good reasons for wasting a quarter or more of your waking life getting to and from your job. Maybe your spouse works at a job that’s just as far in the other direction, so you’re compromising. Or your kids just have to be in some certain school district. Or maybe you have to live in your current house, and no other, to fill some asshole requirement in your great uncle’s will, or else you won’t inherit the fourteen million dollars. But you know what? That’s about it, as far as I can see.

(And frankly, I’m not so sure about the second one. Damned kids don’t get to pick their schools — what the hell is this world coming to, anyway?)

I really can’t fathom any other good reason for spending as much time — or more! — getting to and from work as you do on all your other non-work, non-sleep activities combined. Seriously, spending an hour getting ready for work, and then two hours getting to work, working for eight hours, and then two hours getting home from work… what’s left? That’s thirteen hours right there. Match the four it took to get back and forth, and you’re up to seventeen. Seven hours of sleep, and it’s time to giddyup and go all over again. Uncool.

Of course, that kind of analysis makes me look like a doofus, too. Sure, I only had a twenty minute commute or so to my last job, and I went in around ten. Or eleven. Or ‘Hey, it’s almost time for lunch; maybe I should just go in after I eat‘. That sort of thing. But I was usually sleeping until nine-thirty. Or ten-thirty. Or — well, you get the idea. And then I’d work until seven or eight at night, or later. So I’d have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to get in my four hours of ‘home time’, and I’d be exhausted. So I’d sleep in until ten the next morning, and hop on the merry-go-round again. Not exactly the ‘American Dream’.

(Unless you’re a crack-addicted workaholic insomniac-American, of course. Then, it might be right up your alley. Go you!)

But the difference — I told myself, over and over — was that I wasn’t wasting time getting to work, or from work. And that was the key. At work, I could feel like I was doing something. And at home, I could relax and enjoy doing nothing. But in between? Nothing but hassle, and jackasses, and potholes, and Masshole drivers to swerve around and feed the finger to. Blue-haired old ladies who can’t see over the dashboard, and slicked-up greaseball rich fucks with gigantic SUVs (gee, you think they’re compensating for something, hmmm?) who won’t pick a damned lane. Bastards.

So I’m not a big fan of lengthening my commute. If it were up to me, I’d live right across the street from my office, and just roll out of bed and into the door in the morning. (Or after lunch, maybe… you know, it’s already eleven-thirty — no sense in going in on an empty stomach now.) That would be sweet, too — I could keep an eye on my desk from my window at home. I’d finally figure out who the hell was stealing all of my pens and re-adjusting my fricking desk chair.

(If I had a goddamned dime for every time I came back to my desk at the last job, only to slam my ass into the seat because the stupid thing was a foot and a half lower than I’d left it, or do a flailing backflip out of my cubicle because the release for the seat back had been fiddled with… well, let me just say I wouldn’t be at my current job. A man could retire on that kind of money. Shit.)

I suppose there’d be drawbacks to living right outside the office, of course. I couldn’t very well make the ‘*kaff kaff* Um, boss? *ker-choo!* Uh, I don’t feel so good today… *hork*’ call while I’m loading my golf clubs into the trunk of my car. Plus, I’d never get a frickin’ snow day. They’d probably install a damned T-bar from their door to mine, to be sure that the winter weather wouldn’t keep me away. Those bitches think of everything.

Ah, well. Maybe this parking thing will work out, after all. I just need to find a meter that’s never checked, or a neighborhood where the police don’t bother to enforce the ‘Residents Only’ rules. Of course, even if I find such an oasis, it’s likely to be six frickin’ miles away from the office. I’ll have to get a Segway, or hire a rickshaw or something, to get from there to the workplace and back. Feh. Whose idea was this job thing, anyway?

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