Even though I can’t remember the date, I’ll never forget the day. It marked the arrival of the most controversial conversation piece of my tenure. This object has been kidnapped more than Patty Hearst. It has been held ransom, it has been rescued, only to be kidnapped again. It’s been stowed away in a Tee-pee and went missing for almost two years. It has been given up for dead. It is… The Parking Meter.
Little did I know when an old regular brought it through the door, it would come with more drama than a cute bar fly. The old regular found the parking meter washed up along the river bank. Knowing my sense of humor, he brought it to the bar and donated it to the cause.
It is speculated that the parking meter has lived a tough life.
It obviously was Shang-highed from it’s original location, had its guts ripped out, was thrown into the river and left for dead. Who would have thought the meter would survive such a perilous journey only to wash up on the banks of our humble town?
We nursed it back to health, welded a wheel to the post enabling it to stand on its own. For years it stood sentinel in front of the bar, bilking quarters from gullible tourists. Often I’ve been asked: “What’s the deal with the parking meter?”
To which I still reply. “Ours is a poor town, we can only afford a single parking meter. Everyday a business takes its turn hosting the meter. “
I have to say, nothing yells sucker like seeing a schmuck throw a quarter in the slot and turn the knob. Especially when the glass is so mucked up you can’t see the meter’s hand. I guess its condition adds authenticity to the the town’s economic status.
Life quickly settled into routine for the Parking Meter. Spending sunny days standing before the bar like a guard before Buckingham Palace. At closing it was faithfully carried inside only to be returned to its post the next afternoon. Soon its hours were increased and it stood on duty twenty-four hours a day. Who would have thought that anyone in our fair town would set their sights on the parking meter.
But bar wars, jealousy, and pranksters are funny things, and the meter’s existence became interesting. I fear its morals have been corrupted, and it has seen the inside of more bars than most. As you can see by the picture, our meter is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
Ours is an opinionated meter. Often it displays its thoughts via signs posted on its body. Maybe it outspoken nature contributed to its troubles. Whatever the reason, our meter went missing. It seemed lost forever. Despite rewards, bounties (with all due respect to the New Orleans Saints), All Points Bulletins, it whereabouts remained a mystery. For two years, speculation was rampant, the idea that a pissed off Kawasaki owner was put forth.
Then, something miraculous occurred. Last month, a bartender showed up one afternoon with a huge smile on her face. “You need to come outside. You’re not going to believe what we found.”
In the back of her boyfriend’s pickup was our meter. A little banged up, but nothing a little TLC and a weld couldn’t fix.
Where was the meter found? Along the river bank, in the same area where it was originally discovered. Hmmm. The plot thickens. Despite the intrigue, the meter is home, standing sentry in front of the bar, ready to let it’s opinion be known, especially when it comes to matters of importance such as the color of the bike to our right. I say it’s powder fairy blue. The owner insists the owner’s manual claims it’s sea foam green. To which I respond. You’re right, the sky is green. If the meter goes missing again, I think we have our guy!