Today I was meeting Molly in Santa Monica to do some text book writing when I had the good fortune of pulling up to a parking meter that had 30 minutes still on it. Not bad, I thought. But as I got out of the car, a man with a dolly and a tool set came up out of nowhere and took the head off the meter and replaced it with a new one. Literally as I was reaching out with a quarter.
“Whoa,” I said. “Crazy.”
“Yup,” he said. “Just beautifying the neighborhood.”
“Oh,” I said. “I thought it looked OK before.”
I paused for a moment, then asked “It’s still gonna be the same price though, right?”
“Nope, it’s twice as much. Beautifying ain’t cheap, you know.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s a bummer.”
I paused again, and thought for a moment. Then I said “Say, that one you took off had like 30 minutes still on it. Could I still get that, at least?”
“Nope,” he said. “Sorry.”
And so I stood there, as the man finished his job and went off with his dolly to the next parking meter. Then I went back to my car, got out three dollars in quarters and filled up the meter so I could go work for a while.
I was probably only out about two dollars max, but it meant a lot to me. That’s almost enough to get one quarter of a Yoshinoya Beef Bowl.