An Unexpect Reappearance or Yeah, That Happiness Couldn’t Last Could It?

It had been at least 6 months, but the idiotic lady put another note on my car letting me know I may get towed because I blocked a wall that was a loading dock in some previous life.  It’s the same note she puts there all the time, but today I have new questions to ponder.  Why has she just now decided to tag my car with her ridiculous note?  Was I taking the spot she so desperately needed for her dog groomer?  I wasn’t the only one blocking the walls of her office, so were the others some sort of Oakland unicorn? Or perhaps they were her coworkers, given special dispensation to park in front of the imaginary loading dock.  We’ve already decided she’s a bit off her rocker.

I think my next move is to sell her character to TV as the next sitcom villain, a la The Soup Nazi.  I’m starting to think she’s make a great long running foil for Jeff Garlin on “The Goldbergs”.  Of course first we’ll need to address the subtle anti-Semitism on that show. I wonder if half of the country even realizes they are Jewish.  There are no cultural religious references past the traditional names Adam, Barry and Murray.  Did you miss that there was not Christmas episode? Instead there was a hilarious Thanksgiving episode, with no religious overtones, no dreidels and no latkes.

Let’s suppose the Goldbergs are highly assimilated.  That’s not a crime.  My paternal grandparents were.  But there home and their lives were not devoid of Jewish culture.  It is who we are and what we know.  No one is going to accuse me of being overly religious or unassimilated.  Yet if you look, there are religious symbols in the home, a beautiful Mezuzah on the door, a few special pieces of art here and there.  Some things should never be forgotten.  I hope that Adam’s family remember that this season.  I do seriously want Big Tasty to some sort of hardcore rap espousing the virtues of the latke.  Badly.

Murray and Pops from the Goldbergs would have a conniption with my nemesis, the parking Nazi.

<breaking the 4th wall> By the way, feel free to suggest a new name for this bitch.  She needs a more appropriate name for the next note I put in their mail box. </rebuilding the 4th wall>

Much like myself, the senior Goldbergs would ponder what type of company could this crazy parking lady work for?  Why would they let her run hundreds of copies of ridiculous notes off their copier?  Why would they allow her to antagonize the neighbors and local color?  You know that downtown Oakland, much like Philadelphia, has more than its share of nut jobs.  Why would you risk antagonizing them?  Is parking rage about to become the crisis of 2015?  I can see that.

Let’s look at her erratic behavior from a different angle.  Perhaps she pays for the copies out of her own pocket, either making the copies at some local copy shop or on her home printer. As you recall the note is written in 40pt font with a marker.  If you owned that company and you saw your employee doing that, wouldn’t you wonder what else she was doing?  More importantly, I might question what she WAS NOT doing by focusing on parked cars.  Which leads me to my most disturbing realization.

She either owns the company or holds a position of ridiculously imbalanced importance.  Oh fuck.  Imagine the poor souls whose employment depends on her making sound business decisions.  I’m still waiting for her to have my car towed.  I will own that fucking company.  Meanwhile, I guess I will work up a character treatment and see if I can get a meeting in Hollywood.

I’ve seen Episodes.  How hard can it be?

Parking Wars: The Follow-up Episode

Shortly after I posted my open letter to the parking Nazi here, a friend parked in one of these oh-so controversial spaces.  He was meeting me for lunch.  The soon to be crazy cat lady chased him down and ranted about the access “the truck” needed.  Keep in mind his car was more than 30 feet up the street of the supposed door to be used.  And two other cars were blocking said door.  He said he walked on and tried to ignore her.  Finally, he turned as said, “are you an officer?”

“No,” was the reply

” Are you going to write me a ticket?” he asked.

“No.”

He turned and walked away as she went back to the rant on the truck.

After lunch we walked back to his car and there was a note on the windshield.  “Leave your # so we can call you when the truck comes or else we will have to tow.”

Seriously? Who is giving this crazy lady their phone number?  That would render the phone useless.  Why would she think that anyone listens to her.

Oh, and I spent 10 minutes talking to the parking enforcement officers in the neighborhood today.  They reconfirmed how ridiculous this was and that no company would be towing our cars.

You realize I have now made up my mind to tape the open letter on their office.  Probably quite often.  There might even be a picket line.

A Piece of Tape Too Far

An Open Letter to the Parking Nazi at 217 (or is it 229, Who can tell?) Harrison in Oakland, CA.

As you and I both know, I park in front of your building when I drive to work.  I park there because there are always spots there.  You have done such an effective job of scaring everyone away, there is always a spot.  You must realize it is your fault that I infuriate you so much.

(For those of you coming late to this party, 217 Harrison has a banked curb leading to 4 loading docks;  3 of these docks have been converted to office walls or doors, making them LEGAL parking spots.  The office puts flyers on cars, trying to intimidate them into leaving.  I love knowing that 95% of the time I have a spot waiting for me.)

I returned to my car recently, finding 2 new notes.  There was they typical “NO! NO! NO!” flyer, which is often found in on the sidewalk around the neighborhood.  There was also a note, loaded with vitriol, about how you’ve told me many times not to park where I park.  There was also paper taped to my driver’s side window saying “Tow this car!”

I think it is time we clear the air.  For the last several days there have been no flyers on the cars parked where I often park.  Are these your cars or have you been ill?  If you have, I hope you feel better.  I’m neither vindictive or evil, contrary to what you believe.   I feel sorry for you.  Your parents must not have taught you the hard lessons about sharing.  Did you scream when other kids touched your toys?  It must have been lonely not having friends as a child.  The public parking spots on Harrison Street are not yours alone, you really need to share them.  I can only surmise sharing is foreign to you.  I would also point out that putting flyers all over car does not make you my friend.  It does, however, make your passive aggressive and inconsiderate.

Let’s not talk bullshit about how the (mythical, magical) truck needs to park parallel and therefore you are saving me from being blocked in.

  1. Trucks back up to loading docks
  2. Trucks block traffic all the time in our neighborhood
  3. I have never, ever, ever seen a truck at your location
  4. Let’s not forget the time you told me, in our only conversation that you needed access to the windows 8 feet off the ground,  which  told you was ridiculous
  5. Go ahead, block me in.  I work till after 5, often after 6.  What truck driver is leaving your business that late?  That’s right. None.

I won’t minimize the fact that you want these spots all to yourself (or possibly your firm.)  Its an admirable, if misguided goal.  The fact remains that these are public spots and the signs you have posted are not legal.  You do not own the street and any implicit easement was eliminated when your firm build walls rendering the loading docks ornamental.  The parking authority won’t write tickets for the spot I park in and tow trucks won’t be towing me based on your note.  The past 18 months of results bear all this out.

Perhaps you had an “incident” and your sense of reality is skewed.  Did you take the brown acid at Woodstock?  seriously, you were warned. Let me help you in ways your parents and coworkers clearly have not.  Your notes and wishes won’t change reality.  The fact that you don’t want people parking there won’t make it illegal.  I want to win the lottery.  Just because I want to, won’t make it so.  Nevertheless, my odds of success are far higher than yours. Rather than tilting at windmills, perhaps you’d be happier accepting reality and getting on with your life.  This isn’t the Twilight Zone and you won’t wake up tomorrow finding that your misguided sense of reality is the new truth.  Grow the fuck up.

How sad must your life be if you spend this much time placing flyers on cars that aren’t yours?  I’ve seen your work on other vehicles and more importantly, all over the neighborhood.  Clearly you realize that we work near the water and the wind kicks up in the afternoon, cascading your inane flyers over several blocks.  I’m guessing the police are looking for you.  With all the green initiatives in the Bay Area, how do you sleep at night knowing you are a major litter contributor, let alone resource waster?  Have you no consideration for the forests you’ve decimated and the trees you’ve condemned to be part of your folly?

I think you would be better off finding a new hobby.  I don’t think it would be out of line to suggest you start fostering cats.  Start with one, and with your obsessive nature you can add more. Clearly, you will agree that being a crazy cat lady is far better than your fixation on my parking habits.  Let’s be honest, you’ll probably have more friends as the Crazy Cat Lady than you will as the Parking Nazi.  Or at least  you’ll have cats.  And Grumpy Cat on the internet.

Of course if you really wanted to have my car towed, you would have called a tow company.  And since the car isn’t yours the liability you and your company would face in the light of an illegal seizure would be monumental.  It appears that the note you put on my car is a feeble attempt at drawing unsuspecting innocents into your fantasy.  I think it is time you gave up on this fantasy, became and adult and embraced reality.

As I have tried to empathetic to your plight, I know your therapy bills are probably much higher than any plan your company provides, I feel I must be honest with you.  You have annoyed me far more than you have a right to.  I’ve stopped finding your notes funny, silly or sad.  That you have gone so far as to use tape on my car, I feel that your behavior encroaches on battery or defacing of property.  My car is my property and it is not your bulletin board.  Any further defacement of my vehicle will result in my filing charges with the police and ultimately lead to a civil suit.  I am actually considering a class action suit.  You have badgered many people and I’m only too happy to find them and develop a much larger action.  Do you really think all the people you’ve pissed off don’t care?

This is a warning.  My attorney is only too happy to proceed on my next phone call.

I hope you are feeling better.  Perhaps your therapist should increase your Xanax.  You might suggest that on your next visit.

Bart Strikes and the Entire Bay Feels

July 1st, the beginning of short week; the run up to Independence day.  And the beginning of a BART strike.  You might think a transit strike only effects the people on the transit system.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, over 400,000 people a day take BART somewhere, many of them to San Francisco.  The buses and the ferries can’t add that many more riders.    The morning back up at the Bay Bridge went from 20 minutes to over an hour.  The Oakland Ferry holds 310 people. They didn’t add 1000 more trips. They added 6 or so.

But it wasn’t just the toll plaza that was effected; those cars backed on to the approaching freeways, creating roadblocks and traffic jams.  I ran into a lot of it.  I generally ride BART into Oakland each day.  It is a 31 minute ride, part of an 60-70 minute commute – I have to walk a mile from the station to the office.  Each day I drove in to the office it took at least 90 minutes.  A normal drive is 45-50 minutes, or 60 when something goes wrong.  But that is just me. What of everyone else, stuck in different directions and longer rides?  It was a miserable week.

On my first day driving to work , and in retrospect I was glad it was only 3 days, the horror of the driving dead started on the city streets I took to avoid the freeway.  I was on an “expressway” like road.  The speed limit was 50 mph and the lights were spread out.  When we hit a light, there would be 4 or 5 cars stacked in each of the two lanes.  I was always second in the fast lane.   Normally, this was no big deal.  Not today.  As the cars to my right moved and begun to speed up, I had to believe the driver in the car in front of me was caught in the throes of a death curse or self love.  3 cars from the other lane would  speed by and cross the street before he got across the intersection.  And then, he’d pace the car next to him so I couldn’t get around.  Once, was driver error.  4 times was madenning.  I offered my soul to Cthulhu to get out of this madness.  There was no luck.    Cursed to endure this madness for eternity, misery for my commuting soul.

When I finally got around this idiot, I ran into a new problem. If the previous driver was the driving dead, this next driver had a death wish.  In traffic, we often follow cars closer than we might otherwise. I was about 2 car lengths behind the car infront of me, with 2 cars behind me acting similarly.  There were plenty of cars to my right as well.  We were moving at a reasonable speed.  Not too fast, not too slow.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the car in the back of my lane dart to the right.  He sped forward. Faster. Faster. With no where to go he cut in front of me, using the extra 6 inches that were there.  Thank god he was daring enough to risk a few lives to move 40 feet forward in traffic.  Me? I’m too timid. I’m sure if he and I were timing our commutes, he’d beat me by a good 90 seconds every day.  What’s the down side in that?  Perhaps my timidity was the curse of the old ones.

Who needs a horror film?  I had plenty of scares from the new drivers on the road.  I watched one car completely misuse the merge into the center bore of the tunnel and cut of a car completely unawere that danger lurked in front of him. And behind him as he slammed on the brakes that no one expected.  Cars went everywhere; I merely shook my head.  Transit strike or no, some people should not be allowed to drive.  Period.

Since I normally ride BART most days, I got to listen to the radio. A lot of radio. Sports talk. Baseball. Music.  On the first day, The DiVinyls came on.  Everyone loves “I Touch Myself” don’t they?  I quickly remembered that I have half a post – a critical analysis of love songs  versus masturbation songs – in my head.  I will work on that another time.  There was too much time in the car last week.  Too much time to think.

At one point I passed a bus, parked on the street in front of the Lafayette BART station.  The driver stood in front of the bus, in the street.   It had a great scrolling marquee.  It read:

“Try Transit!”

“Ride a Bus”

“Out of Service”

I am pretty sure the irony was lost on most everyone involved with that bus.

Napa in 3 dots or less

By now you’ve figured out that I have way too many thoughts running through my head.  It has always been the case, but it can be harder to hide it as I write about diverse topics and try to weave topics together.  Most every day, I start a post only to realize it’s going nowhere fast.  Much like Hawaii, my blog has a minimum speed limit.  Those posts don’t see the light of day.  One day you’ll thank me for that.

Someone recently urged me to write about my last Napa trip so she could live vicariously though my blog.  That post never materialized.  Too many moving parts and too few coherent thoughts prevented that from happening.  But I do have a few things from that weekend.

  • Alpha Omega is fantastic winery. Thanks to my brother for getting us in and kudos to the staff for taking such good care of us.
  • Hartwell and Elyse remain my two favorite Wineries.    Both produce excellent wines and have fantastic staffs.  Hartwell is my luxury Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.  Elyse’s wines run a wide stretch of the varietals, each excellent.  I love their Cabernets and Petite Sirahs (on the Jacob Franklin label.) The Jacob Franklin Hayne Vineyard Petite is my favorite wine these days and the Quality/Price Ratio at Elyse is off the charts.  Rick at Elyse or David at Hartwell make both places warm, welcoming and must visits.  Drop my name, it might help.  But don’t be upset if it doesn’t.
  • If you must wear designer flip-flops this season, they should Gucci.  Prada is so 2010.
  • Sift in Napa makes great cupcakes judging by the half of the bacon cupcake I was allotted.
  • In Downtown Napa, I love the service, vibe and coffee at Caffe Molinari.
  • Sweetie Pie makes whoopee pies to die for.  Someone please send me a care package.
  • My BBQ is better than the 2 places I had BBQ at.  I’m not sure if I’m that good or they weren’t.
  • Dillon at Cindy’s Backstreet Café made every woman in my family swoon.
  • There was no Jello on the menu at any restaurant I visited
  • Bello Family Vineyards in St. Helena is an up and comer.  Nice wines, great staff and a spectacular tasting room.
  • I sat next to Abbie Hoffman, or someone like him, at the Oakland Raiders Training Camp.

Those are just some of the things I tried several times to weave into a narrative.  Continuing my homage to Herb Caen we have:

  • I have never had a better Greyhound than the ones at Van Kleef in Oakland.  There is magic in their grapefruit juice.  I do love a great dive bar.  Especially one with a Rhino, Boar and Bear holding court.
  • Keep your eyes open for Stag’s Luncheonette in Oakland.  You’ll hear about them soon.
  • Strange de Jim is not feeding me information. His silence frightens me.
  • The drama at work is never-ending.  I am thinking of asking Lemal to write a theme song.
  • I am very excited to being going to the Windy City for WorldCon.  The Brotherhood without Banners will be well represented.  An advance scout team from down under is in San Francisco and ready to drink.  Good times will be had.
  • If you learn nothing else from Robert Irvine, you need to use more salt and pepper.  And you shouldn’t get ice in restaurants.  Too many bad restaurants cause us to question all ice machines, even the clean ones.
  • A six-foot pallet makes a great planter.  But no fence is strong enough to support that weight.  Yes I might have bought 50 more succulents.  And some crazy grasses.
  • The donuts at Donut Savant in Oakland are great.  And small.  My mom would still try to limit me to half of the tininess.

And with that, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Crack a few bottles, have a  whole donut or kiss your loved ones.  It’s all good.  Sometimes, its even better.