Wow — beautiful sunny April afternoon and I finish all my chores, assignments, and Satanic rituals — how about I spend an hour on the beach?
I grab a tee shirt to sit on and a book. That’s my ritual now: minimalist. A smear of sunscreen on the honker. Car keys, telephone, wallet….oh, yeah. Pants. What a drag.
Ten minutes later I’m parked two spaces from the Charleston Street beach. I whip out the phone to buy 90 minutes’ parking. Punch in the location code, and get a message that “you have entered an invalid location.” I repeat. So do they. WTF?
Well, to hell with this. Technology and I are old enemies, and clearly the battle is on. I find two bucks in my wallet and approach the infernal Master Meter, with its illegible instruction screens that tell customers to follow steps 1-2-3 while providing a punch-pad with a check-mark, A, B, and X. Idiots. #1 for coins, #2 for bills. But there’s no slot for bills.
Now I’m pissed off. I should have been on the beach 15 minutes ago, and I’m still dicking around with this parking crap. I call the number on the sign to complain, and a real live municipal cretin answers the phone. He tells me:
- There isn’t a slot for bills yet. They need to come out and change over the machines, scheduled for this week.
- Evidently the phone app I’ve been using for years is suddenly the wrong one, even though it worked a few weeks ago. When I ask him when that was changed, he says it never was, it’s always been this one. No it hasn’t. Yes it has. OMG.
So how the fuck am I supposed to park my car? I have a phone app and dollar bills, and the City of Hollywood won’t allow me to park? “I understand your frustration.”
I try to register over the phone, like the sign suggests, but that goes nowhere. When I attempt to provide the vehicle’s license plate, the voice-recognition screws it up and can’t let me change one digit at a time. There’s no provision for keyboarding in the data. It’s fucking maddening.
I keep a stash of change in the car, a habit left over from the bygone era of functioning mechanical parking meters. I stuff 6 quarters in, get the receipt for the dashboard, and hit the beach. I spend another 10 minutes on the phone trying to register with the new App without success. But if I choose to speak to a representative, they’ll help me — for a one-time charge!
Now I get it. Eat my ass.
It’s not a total waste — hell, a bad day on the beach is better than a good day in the Ebola clinic, right? — and besides, the scenery was lovely. See below. Where else can you observe exposed armpit tumors?