two $100.00 parking stories

Spring, 2009

I’m taking a class at Lesley called “Fine Arts of Boston.” The class consists of going on field trips to artsy places and writing thoughts and reviews and making presentations and collages. It is not a big challenge but I will not be returning the three credits.
The first field trip was an architectural walk through Boston. Symphony Hall, Old South Church, Boston Public Library; check, check, check. Column, capital, entablature; check, check, check. Write a paper, collect an A, go to the Museum of Fine Arts. Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, still rivals after all these years. Photographic Figures in the new Herb Ritts Gallery (go!) Dürer, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Renoir. Chuck Close, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Susan Rothenberg, Andy Warhol, and Takashi Murakami oh I could go on.
Part three of the class is to be a field trip to the theater. What will it be? Pinter? Moon for the Misbegotten? Shakespeare? The Cherry Orchard? Edward Albee? Death of a Salesman? Oh we are ripe with possibilities. The chosen play? Shear Madness. Self-proclaimed “America’s Favorite Comedy.” We will go cheek by jowl with the folks swarming from buses, still damp from their Duck Tour boat rides and thrilled at the shopping possibilities at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Tickets are $34.00. Meet out front at 7:15.
Fine Arts of Boston. This conjures images; grand images; images of a city that writer Oliver Wendell Holmes dubbed “Hub of the Universe.” Shouldn’t we be more careful about what we dump into this “Fine Arts” pile? Should Shear Madness ever rest against the breast of Matisse’s Carmelina? Join Degas in a pas de deux? Have tea with van Gogh at Houses in Auvers?
It is with this backdrop that I bring you Two $100.00 Parking Stories:
First $100.00:
Got lost in Boston. I am one of the few who can do this despite having a GPS. It's a talent. Too late to have the nice dinner I was going to have before the play, I parked, fed the meter through 6:00 p.m., and went into a food courtish place on Tremont Street. At the Chinese take-out counter it was between the Corn Syrup Orange Colored Sesame Chicken, or General Gao's Gelatinous Mystery Meat. Went with the chicken. Ate half of that, chucked the rest, and stopped at Starbucks. It was going to be a long night and I was already tired, so I had a big latte.
Sussed out the theater. Still half hour before it was time to meet the group. Walked around a bit and noticed I had a parking ticket on my windshield: $100.00 for parking in a bus stop. After 6:00 it becomes a bus stop, says the sign that I didn't see. Neither, apparently, did the seven other people with tickets on their cars. Last time I'll ever park on Cash Cow Boulevard.
Drove around looking for parking. Nothing on the street, naturally, and I wasn't about to pay $30.00 to leave my car for two hours. I couldn't afford it at this point what with that hundred-dollar ticket. Drove by the theater and watched from the car as the group gathered in the rain waiting for the professor who had the tickets. I pulled up to one of my classmates and gave him the envelope with my ticket money in it and asked him to give it to the professor with my apologies; I wasn't feeling well and had to go home, I said.
Ticket to play I didn't want to see: $34.00
Parking ticket: $100.00
Bailing out and going home to sit in front of the TV: Priceless

Second $100.00:

Had class in Cambridge today, at Lesley on Mass Ave. at Porter Square. After yesterday’s pricey parking episode I decided to play it safe and use the Lesley lot. More expensive, but at least I didn't have to run out and feed the ever-ravenous meter monster his bi-hourly meal.
After class I went to the desk with my ticket to pay for my car to simply exist for four hours. "$15.00" requested the attendant, stamping my ticket. I counted my bills: $9.00. But my friend Donovan told me to always carry a $100.00 bill wherever I go. I pulled this out and handed it to the attendant. "Oh," he says, shocked at my affluence and the sheer madness shown in handing it to him, "I can't take that."
"It's American money" I contended. "I can't take it,” countered he. Well, I said, one hand open with the $9.00 on it, the other with the $100.00 bill on it, "you can have this.... or this."
"Okay, $9.00."


  1. I'm sorry to laugh at your misfortune, but thanks for the laugh! Sheer Madness? Really?

  2. Another great story. Why aren't you teaching these classes with a public transportation intinerary? And I can't believe in BOSTON they're not herding you all in to "Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" I guess you should be grateful it wasn't "Menopause the Musical," the perennial favorite in Cleveburg.

  3. Oh I'm sure it had more to do with scheduling than with taste. I ended up seeing (as my "make-up"assignment) an engaging production of "The Merchant of Venice." And unlike the upshot of the aforementioned three plays, no pound of flesh was extracted.

  4. OK. I'm listening to Donovan, too, now that it saves you money. I just thought he was costing us money by plucking out $100 bills to walk around with.