The Paperless One has a bad day...
September 10, 2000
One day last week, the Paperless One had one of the shittiest days he's had in a LONG TIME! Lucky you; you get to read about it!
For starters, I took the junior Paperless One to the post office to cash in a few money orders. The clerk at the counter was about 10 years past retirement age, as I felt we would be by the time we got out of there. The line was backed up for about three city blocks, and while mere mortals would have fled the coop at the sight of it, we decided to stick it out, if only because we had a whack of money orders to cash in. Since we've been doing the eBay thing, we've become regulars at the post office, but we had never had the pleasure of having this living fossil of a post office employee serve us before!
What a treat it was, too. Within 20 minutes, we finally established a "good" place in line , mainly due to customers in front of us walking out after getting fed up with waiting for the oldster behind the counter to process the orders of those at the front of the line. Joining the crowd of smart people and returning later in the day wasn't a feasible option, as we needed the cash from the whack of money orders to go record shopping with!
So, we stuck it out. Several minutes later, we were at the front of the line, after a wait that resembled a line for Metallica tickets rather than the post office counter at the local drugstore...damn that Canada Post for franchising its outlets! By this time, I could smell that the Junior Paperless One's lunch was beginning to take its course, and that he was about to get CRANKY with a capital everything. Oh well, not to fear - we're at the front of the line and only have a few things to send out - they're all pre-labeled and have the "air mail" and customs stickers affixed already. Grandpa Munster should be able to process them pretty quickly, and once he cashes the money orders, there will only be one exchange of money - from him to me!
I hand Vincent Price the money orders. He puts on his bifocals, studies them for about ten minutes, after which, he is finally satisfied that they are genuine United States Postal Service International Money Orders and that he will be able, as an employee of Canada Post (sort of), to cash them. However, life is not as simple as it usually is. The routine, which normally goes like this:
...was a little bit different today!
Finally, we escaped with our money (and sanity) and went record shopping, after a quick stop at the Junior Paperless One's change table! It was here that our bad day was to continue.
Normally, the Paperless One finds a free place to park the Egulphymobile! Today, the free spots were all taken, and the Paperless One was finding traffic too busy to get across three lanes within 40 feet to get to the metered spots on the other side of the one-way street. The logical alternative was to go to the municipal lot and pump an hour's worth of coins into the ticket vending machine. The Paperless One grabbed a loonie from the dashboard of the Egulphymobile and chucked it in the coin slot.
Out came the coin. The Paperless One tried the three quarters and the handful of nickels from his pocket, but they were all rejected like a bad kidney as well.
I went back to the Egulphymobile to grab that elusive two-dollar coin that I saw in my ashtray a few days earlier. Upon my return to the machine, I am greeted by a woman who is also pissed off that her coins aren't being accepted either. I look around the area and see no one. While automatic bank machines have saved the Paperless One from banking's equivalent of my friendly neighbourhood post office staffer, automating parking booths have been a dismal failure.
Why? It probably has something to do with people bashing the machines late at night while attempting to steal the "booty" out of them. Within the past four weeks, this is the second automatic booth that refused to accept my money (in two different cities). After convincing myself that since no one was around to take my money or listen to me complain, no one would question my free parking.
Wrong. No less than five minutes after entering the record store, a green hornet showed up and ticketed the Egulphymobile! I discovered that my record shopping excursion, in which I had found nothing of interest, was going to cost me 12 bucks!
Although the city of (we'll leave the name out of it because they made amends...read on) was too cheap to have humans fixing their parking lot vending machines, there was no shortage of humans to write up tickets to those who couldn't pay for their parking in the first place.
Given the fact that my day was beginning to resemble Michael Douglas' day in the film "Falling Down", I was steaming mad. I got on my cellphone and called the number on the back of the ticket, asking who I was to speak to about my parking ticket situation. The clerk said that the ticket was too recent for it to be back in the system and that I should contact "the prosecutor" tomorrow...then she hung up.
Fuck that! I'm not wasting money on long distance for a bullshit parking ticket that I shouldn't have even received in the first place! I'm going to city hall today...not making an out-of town trip next week, not wasting money being put on hold by city hall voice mail systems...forget it! I'm getting this looked after immediately.
Remember the change in my pocket that the vending machine didn't want in the first place? There just so happened to be a vending machine in the city hall parking lot that DID accept it. On our way to the traffic department, the Junior Paperless One and I had a chuckle over the irony of having to pay for parking to go dispute a parking ticket, although I don't think he fully appreciated the irony of it at 18 months of age...you never know, though. This past Hallowe'en, he got the biggest kick out of an ironic window decal of Cookie Monster dressed up for Hallowe'en as, of all things, a cookie!!!
The ticket was quickly taken care of, and we were told not to worry about paying it...because we were from out of town!
Oh well, whatever reason is good by us. We just hope that the "coin mech" on the ticket vending machine gets fixed before anyone else gets an undeserved ticket, or even worse, pays it!!!