Monday, October 13, 2008
I've heard there's no such thing as a free lunch. But I have discovered, here in Lake Charles, that there is such a thing as free parking. Which, coming from Pittsburgh, was quite a revelation. I thought it pretty nifty that one can simply park along the streets in downtown LC without needless wandering, in search of a space with an open parking meter. And in retail shopping areas, such as the mall (yes, that's singular) and grocery stores, it's relatively easy to find a parking spot near the store entrance without walking half a mile. But when it stuck me the most was the first time I parked in a hospital parking garage. (For my Pgh readers, imagine any parking garage in Oakland. I can hear you moaning already.) I thought it rather odd that no ticket machine stood guard at the entrance. I nervously entered, thinking that perhaps I'd missed something, or maybe entered at the wrong place. In any case, I pulled into a spot and went to my appointment. When I left the garage, and there was no parking attendant booth, no person to collect my money, no gate across the exit, WOW, it was a freedom like I'd never experienced before. Just one of the perks of living in a small town, I guess.