I lied. In my most recent New Years Post I asked myself the question (roughly) “What did you most want and not get this year?” and in my holiday-addled haste to get the post published I wrote that I was pining for a new tripod and I never got one. That was false. I didn’t get one, but it was not what I most wanted this past year. What I wanted most was parking.
I’ve been struggling to be a transit-rider for the last year and a bit since I started my current job. I got a quasi-discounted transit pass (as one of a small handful of employment benefits) and have been either hopping the bus from the stop a half-block from our house each morning, or actually driving myself to the LRT station’s park-and-ride. But lately, I’ve only driven to the station on days when I’m tasked with picking up Claire after work.
This is all well and good, the service is awesome, and I love riding the train and hunkering down with my Kindle for the commute.The only down side has been the parking.
Now, I don’t really care about the politics of a parking lot, though I’m sure my humble complaint could be echoed and amplified by many with an axe to grind on this topic. Let’s just say this: At some point a decision was made, parking spots were secured, and a twelve-hundred spot, free parking lot was established at the train station nearest to me.
This is great. It would be more great if there weren’t about twelve-hundred-and-ten people wanting to park at that lot. And it would be greater still were not all those people willing and able to get to said lot before seven in the morning each weekday to obtain one of those precious free spots.
One need not imagine too hard to realize that this commuter reality has been my reality for the past thirteen or so months that I’ve been driving: I get up at six each morning, hastily eat breakfast, shower, turn on the television for Claire, and rush out the door. I fight a few cars to get into the lot, park most of the way near the back of those twelve-hundred stalls — seeing as I’m usually arriving at around the nine-hundredth to eleven-hundredth (ish) in this crazy queue — and scamper off to board the train.
These efforts put me downtown thirty to forty minutes early for work. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes me feel very rushed in the mornings.
Things changed today. Well, they started changing late last week, but they officially changed today. See, today my paid parking pass kicked in.
What I failed to mention above was that what I wanted last year (but did not get) was one of the seventy-five or so paid parking spots at that same park and ride. Thirteen months ago I put my name on the waiting list… and then waited. And waited. And then waited some more. (Now, to be fair, it should be noted that my name came up over the summer but the email went to my spam folder… where I discovered it exactly one day too late before putting my name back on the bottom of the list.)
My name came up last Thursday.
I was notified via email. I registered online with my code, paid my deposit, submitted, and waited anxiously for my little yellow parking pass tag to appear in the mail. It did.
Today, I slept in. I got ready for work. I meandered around the house for a bit. Packed my bag. Climbed in my car. Drove in moderate traffic to the station. I rolled into the mostly-empty paid lot at the north end of the station, took my pick of the spots, and smirked at the line of cars still futilely searching the now-packed free lot for a miraculously missed empty spot. I hung my yellow tag from my rear view mirror, and meandered towards the train, as usual. I arrived at work just in time to start at eight.
I’ll need to remind myself of this for next New Years Post. This “what did you get” will be hard to top.