Sunday, November 11, 2012

Black arts

I enjoy learning how things work.

I get more satisfaction as I learn more and more about something.  It's even better if few are in the know.

This is true about life, law, information technology, riding, and parking.

The moment of true enjoyment is observing something for the first time that allows you to learn a new thing about a topic that interests you.

Parking, for instance.

Most people's interest in parking is limited to finding inexpensive, convenient parking. That's what motivates me too.

Most people drive cars. As with just about everything, when most people do something, it's relatively easy to learn, even if parts of it are difficult. Like parallel parking a car in a tight space. It's difficult, but driving instructors, family members and friends who are willing to teach the black art of parallel parking are easy to find.

Parking a scooter or a motorcycle is dumb, stupid, simple, compared to parking a car, right?

Well yes, and no. Is it spatially challenging? Not so much.

The challenge, as with a car, is finding Costanza parking.

Jerry Seinfeld is a really good observer.

His particular brand of enjoyment is learning the black art about the mundane things we all take for granted, sharing his insight with us, and then branding the knowledge, making it memorable.

So it goes with parking.  Costanza parking.

Costanza parking, named for Seinfeld's fictional pal George Costanza, is the holy grail of parking: free parking mere paces from your destination in a place where any parking spots are hard to find, and where even the expensive parking is less convenient than the Costanza parking.

Costanza parking is rare, unless you ride a Vespa.

When you ride a Vespa, Costanza parking is plentiful. There's even more Costanza parking for Vespas than for other motorcycles (yes, Vespas are motorcycles).

That's because Vespas are relatively small beautiful works of transportation art, and the parking warden (in Montreal we call them Green Onions because their uniforms were green and the tickets they give you make you cry) who will gleefully ticket a Harley, will cruise right on by, overlooking a Vespa.

This is critically important, because parking that attracts a ticket is the most expensive parking of all, the antithesis of Costanza parking.

What's my point (I know you're wondering)? Patience, we're getting there, I promise.

Costanza parking can seem more plentiful than it actually is. You know this. You're going to that great little restaurant you've dying to try, and wait! There's a spot! Oh... fire hydrant. Oh! There! ... Drats, a no stopping sign.

You see for cars there are signs, lots and lots of signs. All you need to do to find true Costanza parking is to read the signs: 'no parking' 'no parking 7:00 a.m, to 10:00 a.m.', blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Finding true Costanza parking with a powered two-wheeler is more a black art than a reading assignment.

Yes there are some signs: 'stationnement pour motos'. But they are rare, and even more rarely do the parking places they identify qualify as Costanza parking.

Like the coureurs de bois, Indian scouts, trappers, and woodsmen of old, you need arcane knowledge gained by keen and patient observation. You need to stop and stoop where others tramp hurriedly on, to scoop and sniff a handful of earth, notice a broken twig, or observe an overturned stone, to find the quarry.

It is by taking the time to pause and observe, the other day, that I learned more about moto parking.

You see, those wise in the ways of the PTWs teach that you can park a moto at the beginning or end of permitted street parking spots, in other words, technically in forbidden parking space, and you won't get ticketed. It's not written anywhere (or if it is I can't be bothered to find it).

I have shared this before, grasshopper.

What I observed recently is priceless. I'm a giver (as my MV friend Treppenwitz says) so I'm sharing it here with you.

Pay attention, grasshopper. Observe.

See the motos parked in the forbidden space, close by the permitted space.
See the dreaded Green Onion ticketing the hapless black car.
See the Green Onion stalking oh so closer to the motos, within p-e-r-f-e-c-t striking distance he is, p-r-e-c-i-o-u-s!
Oooooooh! NO TICKET!!!!

Bazinga! You're welcome!

PS: If parking interests you too, I have listed all the parking posts together as a topic in the gear posts page, which you can get to by clicking on the link above, or by clicking here.


Trobairitz said...

It is nice that the Parking police are lenient on the Vespas and scooters.

Maybe they ride one on their down time.

Unknown said...


This would not be possible here in Vancouver. The parking police will have you towed away from corner clearance spots (end and beginning of each block) They have a vendetta against any two wheeled vehicles but they embrace pedal power. If you park between cars your bike will probably be on the ground when you get back. We have short spaces and drivers park by "touch". Scooters parked in bike racks, are towed away

Riding the Wet Coast
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Dar said...


I laughed through your post, love that you call them green onions, you are kinder than what I call our parking enforcers.....

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