By Hannah Reich Berman
At the risk of sounding paranoid, I have to wonder if some people are out to get me. Are they trying to frustrate me? Of course, it might not be directed strictly against me. Maybe the problem has been created to frustrate some other hapless soul. Or maybe it is not intentional at all but is purely accidental.
Frankly, I don’t care which it is because, either way, someone seems to be doing an admirable job of making my life difficult. There was once a time when meter maids used to drive me crazy. To be candid, I’m still not all that thrilled with them. Meter maids are the people—usually women, hence the word maids—who stroll around looking for victims. In recent years, an occasional male might be seen doing the same stroll, ticket pad in hand, waiting to prey on some unsuspecting soul. This is usually a summer job for some ambitious kid who wants to earn a few dollars.
Male or female, they all do the same thing: They stroll leisurely, seemingly aimless, hoping to spot an unsuspecting vehicle owner whose meter has expired so they can pull out a blank ticket, fill it in, and plaster it on the windshield tucked securely under a wiper.
Meter maids are not a thing of the past, but they are no longer the bane of my existence. I have a newer gripe, as I wonder why the powers that be can’t get things straight and try to make my life easier instead of harder. The “powers that be” that I refer to here are the people in charge of installing and monitoring meters in the village of Cedarhurst. I’m no longer sure who annoys me more—those folks, or the ones who live for the thrill of issuing a ticket.
Meters along the street curb are not a problem. A meter is directly in front or in back of a parking spot. But it’s a different story in the Cedarhurst parking lot where I frequently park my car. In that lot, all bets are off when one wants to know which meter to feed. Half the time I can’t tell which meter is my responsibility. Twin meters (that would be two meters on one post) have bright yellow stickers on them that are meant to indicate which meter is for which car. It doesn’t always work out.
My comment to whoever puts in those meters is—you go figure it out! One would think that both meters would be facing the same direction. But one would be wrong, since that is rarely the case. One meter often faces straight ahead while the other meter on the pole is twisted and angles off to a side. When that is the case, I have a hard time determining where my quarter is supposed to go. For what might be the tenth time, that is what happened to me just the other day in that very parking lot.
Not wanting to feed the wrong meter, I waited for someone to walk by and I beckoned to her. When she approached, I asked if she would mind helping me figure it out. With a warm smile, she said, “Sure.” She meant well, but it didn’t work out, because she was every bit as stymied as I was. “Sorry,” she said, “but I can’t either tell which one is yours.”
That left me no choice, so I bit the bullet and fed them both, just to be sure. I am not in the habit of throwing around my hard-earned quarters, but there seemed to be no other choice. My husband, Arnie Berman, a.k.a. “Hubby,” has been gone for more than five years, but his words still ring in my ears from the time I came home kvetching about having gotten a ticket for an expired meter.
It happened because I had misjudged how long I would be in a store, and I skimped on a quarter. I had put in only one coin instead of two. Hubby’s exact words were, “Hannah, think about it this way: Do you know how many quarters it takes to make $35?” That was the cost of my ticket!
As a result of that long-ago conversation, I always put more than enough money into a meter just in case my shopping takes longer than I anticipate. And the same concept held true when I couldn’t figure out which of the two meters was mine. I reluctantly fed them both. Hubby would be proud! At the end of that very day, I reached for the memorial candle that I had laid out in advance. By coincidence, it happened to be Hubby’s yahrzeit. How appropriate that he had spoken to me that very morning. That’s the way it is! v
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-902-3733.