This bumper sticker, often spotted on the backs of Subarus in Boulder, is desperately needed by my dear friend Lib in Milwaukee. She’s reached a level of frustration with the city’s parking situation (and meter maids) that rivals my frustration with the Today Show.
Perhaps she just needs to start a venting blog. Coincidentally, www.milwaukeeparkingsucks.com is available.
H.H. the Dalai Lama was in Wisconsin this week, so we wondered what His Holiness would say about her parking frustration. In other words, WWDLD? Some of you might remember my What Would Queen Latifah Do? posting. This is a different take, but really, I suspect in most situations you’d get the same answer. For example, what would Queen Latifah do if her homeland was invaded (she is a queen, so this is a valid example)? You know she’d escape, continue her government elsewhere and fight for her people diplomatically on the international stage, or at least in those Cover Girl commercials.
See? Same answer.
But in light of H.H.’s recent trip to Wisconsin (who knows when QL was there last?) we’ll stick with the question:
What would the Dalai Lama do if he couldn’t ever find parking, had to pay through the nose for parking everywhere he went, got parking tickets on technicalities and didn’t want to take the bus home from his job that kept him in the newsroom until two or three in the morning, especially because he is single and living alone in the city?
Okay, so that last part is a little weird, but it applies to Lib, who is also, I might add, surely gorgeous even after a long, late-night shift at the paper. She probably doesn’t even have circles under her eyes at 3 a.m. I mean, if I saw her on my bus at 3 a.m., I would start stalking her, and I don’t even go for tall people. Or women.
Moving on, I have a feeling the Dalai Lama would just abandon his car entirely. Who needs it? It’s causing stress to the driver and the environment, he would say. It would be healthier to walk or cycle. It would cost less, in gas and ticket fees and meters. Yet we cannot seem to get rid of our cars, he would say. We are attached to the individual freedom they offer us. But are we free if we’re cursing meter maids and crowded streets as we circle the block looking for a place to park?
(As an aside, if we were to ask WWPD?, well, the Pope cannot abandon his car, because what would he do with the Popemobile? It’s not like anyone else can ride around in something formerly known as the Popemobile. I suppose the Vatican could auction it off for charity.)
Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I think the Dalai Lama would do. WWJFD? First, cry over my parking tickets. Next, fume. Third, dust off my bike. Fourth, drive anyway, because I was running late and didn’t have time to ride, but I had to park so far away because there were no spots that I was even later and might as well have ridden my bike. Fifth, fume more, chastise myself for being a lousy environmentalist, then be good and ride my bike for at least a week before resorting to my car again, which, now that it’s summer and gas prices are up, costs me a bazillion dollars to fill up with gas. Then fume again.
And that, friends, is one of many American middle-class versions of the First Noble Truth — all life is suffering.
Now, what would Lib do? Hopefully she’ll answer here and let us know. No pressure with the Dalai Lama comparison, Lib. I mean, we can’t all win peace prizes and have compassion for people who drove us out of our homelands and killed and tortured our countrymen and whatnot. Well, we could, but it sure isn’t easy for us non-lamas. Some of us deserve a peace prize simply for not saying something nasty to the next meter maid we see.