What does a $92 donut taste like? Well, it tastes good but when buying a $92 donut I have a few suggestions:
1. Park your car where you can see it.
2. Read all the signs where you park your car
3. Know that Portland is Weird and therefore probably has weird laws.
4. Don’t allow a $92 donut the power to spoil your day, bite its head off and eat it.
The donut in the picture is from Portland’s too famous Voodoo donuts and it has a retail price of $2, but if you park your car where I parked, the total price of visiting Voodoo donuts is $92 once you add in your $90 parking ticket.
How does one become the owner of a $90 parking ticket? This is an excellent question and one that I will try to answer. Mistakes are always easier to analyze in retrospect so after a few days to examine the situation I think I have put together enough excuses to make it sound like I have been victimized. (This is an important step for all outlaws like myself.)
Mistake number 1: I live in a town where parallel parking is a skill that is rarely used. Can I parallel park? Yes! Well, kind of. Okay, I can when I really have to, but when I see an open space that does not require parallel parking I take that one instead of shimmying into a pair of pants that no longer fit. So when looking for a parking spot in downtown Portland I passed up a perfectly good space so that I could park in one of the three open spots at the end of the street.
Mistake number 2: Ignorance. I am ignorant about many things in the world: String Theory, The life cycle of Voles, Advanced Math, and laws related to parking in Portland. Did you know that there are parking spaces for “Carpool Vehicles”? Well, there are. What is a carpool vehicle? You got me on this one. I think there are vans that are white and carry Portlanders who don’t want to ride bikes but still want to be self-righteous. Does that mean that a car driven from Washington State carrying enough people to drive in the carpool lane can park there? Obviously not. Why not? Because a car with Washington license plates is an easy way to make 90 bucks for the city of Portland.
Mistake number 3: Even if you pay for parking, have a parking spot, and there is no indication on the parking space that it is reserved for “Carpool Vehicles,” you can still end up with a $90 parking ticket. I suppose this is the most annoying aspect of the whole thing, I paid to park AND got a ticket. So for those Math majors out there, you can add $1 for a total of $93, but only 25 cents of that dollar came from my pocket since my friend paid for 75 cents of the parking. (He also already gave me $45 to pay for his half of the ticket, so what started as a simple math problem has now turned into a Common Core word problem because he also bought a donut, but I paid for it to save time. So if you were a third grade student you would have to write the problem out and explain it using your words. Here is how I would answer this problem when I was in third grade: “$90 is a lot of money. Donuts should not cost that much.” )
Mistake number 4: Read all the signs on a street before parking. Yes, that even means reading signs that are several parking spaces away at the end of the block. Sometimes cities try to save money (aka, screw tourists) by reducing their signage and environmentally friendly cities might even try to save the salmon by not painting curbs blue, or white, or orange, or red, or pink to indicate special parking situations. (This salmon thing is out of control in the PNW. First it was the dams, then it was “Don’t dump pesticides in the river”, and now I have a $90 parking ticket. I am going to kill and eat a salmon this summer just to get even.) After I took the ticket from my window, it took me a good five minutes to figure out that I was parked in a restricted spot. Only then did I see the little sign at the end of the block with some nonsense about reserved for carpool vehicles. The irony that I was traveling to Portland to buy books and I did not read the important words on the sign has not been lost on me. (Irony is much better when it relates to someone else.)
Mistake number 5: Wanting to eat a donut. There is no excuse, but look at that big slab of bacon. You must admit (even you vegans) that bacon is awesome and putting a full piece of bacon on a maple bar is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. Since I was hungry I probably did not take enough time to find a parking space. Is this a crime? Apparently it is.