The First Question

People have it wrong.

When they learn we live in a loft downtown they first ask, “Is it safe?”

What they should ask is “Where do you park?”

First, Dave and I are lucky to have an enclosed courtyard to park our cars as part of our rent.  This is handy and relatively safe. One night I left the door to my car UNLOCKED AND OPEN WITH MY BIKE INSIDE and there it was in the morning greeting me.

There is a problem, however. My assigned parking spot is under a metal outside fire escape stairway. We frequently use the stairs instead of the elevator.

The birds also like the stairs. My car gets showered with their attention. This is an ugly and unsanitary wallpaper and I find I must hunt around for gas stations with window washing equipment. It’s not as easy as it sounds in downtown.  Dave and I are working out interesting parking arrangements to avoid this problem.  Here is one of them:

Birds like the fire escape

The other parking problem is, well, parking downtown.  Mostly I can walk to my destinations or ride the free B Line trolley from Cleveland State to downtown. If I’m in a hurry, it is raining, or I’m running other errands, however, I have to park just like any other mortal. This means finding a meter.  This means carrying lots of quarters.

I’ve had three parking tickets since we have moved downtown. That’s $25 each. I’m beginning to think I need to have a line in the budget for tickets.

Two of the tickets were for parking in an illegal spot and one was parking at an expired meter (I actually forgot to put in any money. Imagine!).  I have no plausible excuse for any of these except idiocy. Two tickets came when I parked behind a line of other cars thinking that if they parked there, so can I.  WRONG. We all got tickets.  I’ve found the signs are a little confusing.  Here is one of them:

Hard to read when driving by

If you live, work or shop in Cleveland Heights you must be a parking guru. They have meters everywhere. Not only do they have meters, but the meters are sometimes on painted poles. If the poles are green, you pay more.  I think they have a little person in an office somewhere thinking up clever and sadistic parking rules. This person goes home and sleeps soundly at night feeling like she/he has generated the community a lot of money in tickets.

So, think about it. Those of you that live in small towns or suburbs only have to think about “mallsheimers”(where did I park my car?) You lucky dogs don’t have the scary experience of parking downtown.

People out in the street asking me for money or muttering strange prophecies don’t bother me but finding a place to park gives me the heebie jeebies.


4 responses to “The First Question”

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  1. Jancie Newhouse says:

    Mallsheimers…I think I am in the early stages! Just came back from visiting Emily in Chicago. If you think you have parking problems in Cleveland……

  2. Judy says:

    It is indeed a great help for the fiscal policy of a community. But that is not unique to the city. In small town America (Peninsula a perfect example), it is called “speeding tickets because the limit set is illogical and goofy, and only designed to catch the unwary.” So no matter where we live, we are vulnerable to attempts to fill the coffers!!

  3. Karen says:

    I call it entrapment! No wonder people are wary of the police. They issue the tickets with little computers now so even if you are standing there they can’t “look the other way.”

  4. Carolyn says:

    What I don’t understand is why there isn’t plenty of parking. There used 500,000 more people living and working in Cleveland. And 40 or more corporate offices. Where did they park? Wouldn’t it behoove the city more economically to make parking easy, accessible and affordable?

    Oh, well….perhaps just put the car in park.