My Friday-morning strategy went all to hell this morning when I made the mistake of sleeping in. I got to my car at eighty-thirty and found it surrounded by orange cones; notices posted on both sides of the street announced that they would be shooting an episode of “Nurse Jackie” today. O.K., no problem, I’ll drive around. Jeff Spurgeon was playing excellent music on WQXR—something Spanish, a Mozart Horn Concerto, a souped-up version of Vivaldi’s Autumn . . . As it turned out, I got to hear quite a lot of music.
I made my usual rounds, even visiting the Sanctuary, though I had little hope of finding solace there, and after a half hour I gave up and headed for the parking lot by the river. A woman there said she had nothing for me and directed me down the road to a section of the lot that has to be entered through a toll gate. She said it was the same price—fifteen dollars if you get there before ten-thirty. I have never liked this lot, so when the attendant said it was full and I would have to double park and leave my keys, I said no thanks and headed out again.
It was necessary to stop at a deli for coffee and a muffin before implementing Plan C: Drive across town and poach a spot in someone else’s territory. By the time I got over there, the street sweeper had passed, and I pulled into a very luxurious spot, all town houses, playgrounds, and yellow leaves. At ten, I got out of the car, and the man in front of me also got out of his car, a black Lexus. “Is it ten or ten-thirty?” he asked me. “Ten,” I said, looking at my watch. “I mean the sign,” he said. Oh my God, he was right: the sign said “No Parking Tuesday & Friday 9-10:30 A.M.” I certainly was in foreign territory. “I wish it WAS ten,” he said. “I’m tired of sitting here. But you just know as soon as we leave the meter maid will come along.”
As long as I was out of the car, I went to a diner on the corner and got another cup of coffee. Then I resumed my vigil. Fortunately, I had bought a copy of the Times and it had this great article on lobstering by Charles McGrath.
Otherwise, it was the kind of morning that makes a car owner's thoughts turn fondly toward garages.