I work in the heart of the city, right smack downtown amidst the people, the traffic, and the noise. There is no place to park. It never bothered me because I was lucky to have parking provided by my employer—for free. It was a bit of a walk from the parking lot to our building, but as long as I was organized and didn’t leave anything behind coming or going, it was manageable.
Two years ago, we got kicked out of our parking lot. The city needed it as part of the building site for a huge public works project. The city couldn’t take the land outright, so they found us an alternate location that they swore was just as good. Except, now it took more than twice as long to walk from our building, and entering and exiting the garage required nerves of steel and superior driving skills because the only way in and out was via a tight, corkscrew ramp. The walls of the ramp were scarred and smeared with the evidence of lesser drivers who had not been up to the task of negotiating five levels of continuous spirals.
I hated the garage, I hated the walk, I hated the amount of time I had to plan into my day to get to and from there, and I really hated the maze of closely spaced intersections I had to get through, especially when they were backed up all the way to the garage.
The city finally agreed to include space for us in a new parking structure, since it was getting expensive to pay rent in our first alternate space. Today was our first day in the new parking location. You know it’s time to get suspicious when management says, “You’re lucky to have free parking downtown. Don’t forget that…”
It is a 20-minute walk from the roof of the parking garage—the really swell area of the garage reserved just for us—to my office. This includes a treacherous path through a huge construction site and ends with having to cross a major, insane intersection where there’s, like, an accident a week. When I crossed this morning—with a group—not one of the ten cars turning right stopped for us, the pedestrians in the crosswalk. We couldn’t make it to the other side until the light had actually turned red and the turning cars could no longer enter the intersection. So now I not only have to factor in an additional 40 minutes of commuting time a day (an extra four hours per week), but I must also risk my life crossing one of the busiest streets in the city.
Finally, the ironic part. I am petrified of police. Can’t stand ‘em, don’t think most of them want anything more from their job than to exhibit testosterone-induced displays of power and if I’m involved, intimidation. Have yet to meet a cop who took the job to help instead of say, just to show who’s in charge. Maybe others believe differently, but I can only draw my conclusions from my own experience. I have anxiety attacks if I am in close proximity to cops anywhere, including on the road.
I was just going to suggest the bus when I started reading about cops. I knew what was coming next... 40 minutes extra in your day? That is just not reasonable.
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