ELECTRIC GRAPEVINE: Park 'n ride
The lack of foresight our government has can be absolutely staggering sometimes. Our new currency and the application of it to our daily lives is a prime example of how we operate as a country.
Force of habit led me to dumping two shiny 2012 toonies into an already overpriced parking meter the other day before realizing I may as well have deposited them into the storm drain.
The whole parking meter scenario in Vancouver is rather typical in that their new concept was brilliant and the application rubbish. Solar powered meters with cell phone connectivity via the hotline. Good stuff.
What could possibly go wrong? Oh, right, our increasingly cartoony currency doesn't work in our shiny new meters, or vending machines, or on some forms of transit.
The phone system seemed like a great addition to me at first until I realized the powers that be actually gain more coin from it. When you sign up over the phone you don't leave extra time for the next person in one of the only ways people "pay it forward' these days. If you pay for an hour and leave after five minutes the next person still gets to pay. Sneaky stuff.
Vancouver as a city needs realize which areas warrant higher prices and which do not. My feeling is that if parking your car for an hour rivals the cost of parking yourself with the prostitute next to the meter for an hour, it's time to revisit the costing breakdown.
Perhaps I have that out of phase, maybe call girls should be used as a pricing guideline depending on the quality of company on the nearest corner. A toothless 57-year-old named Roxette should likely not require six toonies worth of time in a parking stall. That's quarter territory.
However, if you're pulling up next to a Catherine Zeta Jones clone working girl who you weren't positive was a hooker at first, then perhaps that's a multiple toonie kind of parking experience. I digress...
We are now tasked with re-working all of these "time savers" to make them work with a currency we all knew was coming. Scenarios such as these and Fast Cat ferries depress me to no end.
The existing ferries (Slow Cats?) in general are possibly the least useful form of transit we have with lineups that actually end in Osoyoos on three-day weekends and fees that turn a day trip to Victoria into half the cost of a cheap cruise to Alaska.
Traffic jams stretching into the horizon are par for the course in the Lower Mainland which features the exact same vital arteries it did 30 years ago with little relief in sight. A single car accident will cripple the entire Lower Mainland with startling efficiency.
I'm actually surprised that we aren't charged for parking when the highway does turn into a parking lot. I received a parking ticket awhile back that rapidly went from a 30 dollar ticket to a 100 dollar ticket as I forgot I was given it.
Running three minutes over the time limit on Vancouver's East Side literally cost me the same as a middling hotel for an entire night. "Those fees pay for our roads," some say. The very same road makes a backroad in Riyadh look like the surface of a pool table so I'm not a believer in that theory.
Even better than throwing down the hundred bucks for the ticket is the fact I can easily throw down two hundred bucks and be none the wiser as the new bills stick to each other easier than they stick to a sweat soaked stripper after a third set in a humid Miami club.
These bills are pushing me closer and closer toward a cashless existence which, frankly, I'm all for if it means not being ridiculed by Americans for our funny money. Depending on who you ask, our bills also feature a scratch n' sniff option that results in them smelling like maple syrup. To retain any sliver of respect I have for our government, I simply couldn't bring myself to investigate.
The idea of a scratch n' sniff bill is absolutely embarrassing. I personally don't want our national currency to be on par with a reward given to a "potential filled' Grade 5 student. On the bright side I can only assume that the maple aroma beat out bacon, the smell of a hockey bag and perhaps that of a beaver. Regardless the concept is ridiculous and I don't see our neighbours to the south lacing their bills with the scent of oil and ignorance.
It's par for the course for them to look at us as the awkward cousins and us to refer to them as violence driven excess addicts but that line is blurring.
Right after their face chewing Floridian we followed up with a "Canadian Psycho" so we aren't ones to speak. That and I've somehow covered hookers and strippers already so I'm not going for the trifecta today by tossing face eaters on the pile.
Regardless it's nice to be back.