Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the honor system ...

for the past three days, my favorite parking ramp has been operating under the honor system. a laminated sign covering the ticket dispenser explained that it was out of order and they were waiting on a new part that probably wouldn't arrive until after wednesday. it asked parkers to note what time they had entered the ramp, so they could tell the attendant at the exit and pay accordingly.

i love the honor system. it is an opportunity for me to show -- in this case the holiday inn parking ramp attendant -- that i can be trusted to do the right thing without a dot matrix time stamp as evidence. i can really shine under an honor system. and as long as we're here: i never cheat at pool either.

unfortunately, i was going to the ymca, which validates parking. and honor system or no honor system, i had no intention of paying for my 1 hour, 45 minutes in the ramp. but no ticket meant no muddy y-shaped validation stamp.

as the sort of person who can really get behind the honor system, i knew 'i was just at the y' would sound like the lie of an honor system abuser. especially since i would probably be lighting a cigarette as i explained that i had just worked out. short of mimicking the noodle test and flinging my wet sports bra at the window of the booth to see if it stuck, i would appear to be ruining the honor system for everyone.

sure enough, when i left i got the hassle.
'i was at the y?' i asked.
'did you read the sign?' wilford brimley accused.
'yes ?' i said. 'the honor system.'
'the part about the y?' he challenged.
'i must have missed that part,' i said. sighed. 'whatever. fine. i got here at 3 p.m.'
'make sure you follow directions tomorrow,' he said, lifted the arm, and pardoned me.

i ended up back in the ramp later that night. on my way in, i noted that in a corner of the sign someone had lightly scribbled in pencil: git [sic] this form [sic] y.

on my way out of the ramp today, wilford was working again.
'i was here overnight,' i said, digging in my purse for the $6.50 maximum charge. a small price to pay, considering 2 a.m. found me hugging a frozen digornio's pizza to my chest and accusing the gas station clerk of stealing my debit card. definitely not the model of drivemanship.

'you going home?' wilford asked.
'yes ...?'
'well i hope you enjoyed your stay!' he said cheerfully, nudging up the arm to let me out.
'no. i mean, i left my car here last night because i went out drinking,' i explained.
'oh!' he said. 'you're a good girl! six-fifty! you're lucky you were at a bar. someone got killed outside of my house last night.'

i paid him and left. i wanted to say: see? you can trust me! i didn't lie about going to the y yesterday!

i rule at the honor system.


Kristabella said...

I would FAIL at the honor system. I would tell them every time I was only there for 20 minutes. Although, at $6.50 for overnight parking, you can't really beat that deal.

Beverly said...

I rule at the honor system, too. I once called an electrician's office because they forgot to bill me. Then they billed me for too much and it got awkward.