Summer is almost here, which means the advent of over-the-top spectacles with lots of special effects. No, not blockbuster movies. The presidential conventions.
The candidates will make speeches about matters of great importance to the citizenry, such as the economy and foreign affairs, and zzzzzzzz sorry, dozed off. But if it's votes they're seeking, they'll tackle the real issue on the minds of Americans: parking.
I live in the Washington, D.C., area, where parking is a blood sport. They have signs, several paragraphs long, detailing the disjointed hours you are permitted to park and the various consequences for breaking the rules - ticketing, towing, booting, putting the car in neutral and shoving it down a hill, etc.
Washingtonians have learned various ways to cope. The official method is to go to your friendly neighborhood Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a parking tag. You take a few necessary papers - proof of insurance, proof of residency, proof of vehicle ownership, proof of inspection, proof of continued existence, proof of ability to make a decent crab cake, those sorts of things. The DMV offices are filled with mirthful employees who enjoy amiable banter, such as, "Did I call your number? Sit down," and, "I'll get to you when I get to you." After standing in line for a scant three and a half days (on average), you receive a little piece of paper with a number on it that you affix to your windshield. This paper, or, technically, tag, lets you park on your front lawn from 10 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
The unofficial method is to jot nasty notes and leave them under someone's windshield. I received one. It read: "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't park in front of my house - it makes it hard to bring in groceries."