September 29, 2010

Parking - $62.50 an Hour

Yesterday I wrote about the type 1 meet up over the weekend. It was a good event. I was happy with everything but the stolen car. Well sort of stolen.

When I posted the event a while ago on Facebook my good friend Nick asked if there would be free parking. Sure Nick, drive on up from Texas, free parking for all.

Almost all.

To have time to get thing ready and to fret that I would screw up horrifically we sent my son on his first solo driving mission to center city. He has an acting class there. His is a good actor and beginner driver. For the last few weeks I had gone with him as a passenger, to teach him the way literally. Those missions were not entirely smooth but worked out OK. Well when I say OK, I made him miss the exit off I95 the first time. We did a U turn in the empty parking lot of a sketchy "gentleman's" club and book adult literature store parking lot at the next exit down.

The city can be a little tricky but with the practice runs I figured he was ready to solo. Maybe even better off without my navigation errors.

He got lost.

I talked him back on course over the phone and without the dance club u-turn. Parking was hard to find. The window motor broke and wouldn't go up. No worries, I said, its a clunker go to class.

At noon he came out to get the meter had left in the car and check on things. It was gone. The car that is, and with the meter with it. He thought it had been stolen. We tried to calm him down. Staying in touch with his acting training he analyzed his feelings and sent this text message, “If I were to describe this situation with one word, it would be a swear word.”

I just about cried I was laughing so hard.

A few calls, while I fretted all the more over blowing the meeting, Kimball discovered the car had been towed by the infamous Philadelphia Parking Authority. The ones with the reality TV show.

We wanted the kid back more pressingly than the car so Kim drove down to pick Connor up with little more than just enough time to get back for the event.

Meanwhile Ginger, the guest speaker and star of the soon to happen and fretted over diabetes event, and I had crossed signals. I didn’t get that she needed to be picked up at the train station in Philly. Time was short and just for fun the Mini Cooper battery died and it wouldn't start without a hill to coast start on.

But Karma was on my side as Kimball was already downtown picking up Connor! Did I mention his meter and iPod were in the car and the window broke and couldn’t be put up and the car was in the impound lot? He was stressing about that part. Guess what happens to blood sugar when he stresses out? Right Hypos.

I am not making any of this up.

The lot was open to 3:00 am or something convenient like that for people who stay to last call before finding out their car was towed. That is full service impoundment. The lot is off the same exit of I95 where Connor and I made the U turn when I missed the exit for old city.

Being overly ambitious we were planning on going to go down that night. But after theBetesNOW meet we had tickets to a spectacularly good New Church Live Band benefit for Habitat for Humanity. Saturday night we were too tired to get the car before the 3:00 am closing time. It turns out that was also good Karma as the tow truck driver wars turned violent and there was a shooting that night.

We got to the impound lot a half hour before it opened at 4:00pm the next day. I looked up the history of the cruise ship the United States to pass time. It is a rusting mess right next to the parking authority now but it was probably way cool in its day. The internet says it cost $800,000 a year to keep it there. That works out to something like $91.32 an hour. Yeah I was that bored. Seemed high for the location to me and it made me worry a little about getting the car back.

We were second in line. So when the parking authority did open we had only 37 minutes of standing in two different lines for three different windows and a sliding gate in south Philly to get the car back. Mostly the was due to Kimball quick thinking and her getting in the second and third lines while I was still in the first and second.

The car window was still open. It had only rained a little and the meter and iPod were still in it. And it worked out to only $62.50 an hour for parking for Connor's 4 hour class. Cheaper than parking the ship.

I think maybe I'll drive with him to class next week. I have had enough fretting.


  1. Oh my heck Bennet! I think all of that just reinforces that what you were doing was the right thing! I believe if you are doing something good, and it seems the fates are against you...that is a test to see if you will push on to finish the good thing that you started!

    Congrats on keeping a cool head through all of this, and for not being shot in the wee hours of the morning in the Parking Authority area! (PS I have watched that show with my husband a number of times!;)

  2. "Congrats on not being shot in the wee hours of the morning."


    I think I will make that my fackbook status for the day

  3. Yowza!

    You certainly did keep your cool, and sense of humor.

  4. Whew - that was a close one! What a day - for all of you! You forged on though and rallied for the cause. And I agree - a big CONGRATS on the not getting shot. Good to see you last night too!