Point of View
The Condescending Brits, 'Tuxedo' and Canadian Coins
I have gotten a couple of complaints about the article "We say car park, they say parking lot" in April's PT. Some say its tone is "condescending" to municipalities in the good ol' US of A. Well, with some trepidation I reread the article, and frankly, I find its substance OK; its tone, however, might rub a few stalwart Yanks the wrong way.
It says that the US has used parking meters (they were invented here) instead of P and D for a number of reasons, one of which is that Americans are a bit lazy and don't like to walk back and forth to pay their parking fees. Well, that's true. Brits aren't used to good service like we are. They are used to queuing at bus stops and having to pack their own groceries at Safeway.
The article derides us for invoking lawyers to make the bid process so long and for actually asking the people on the streets what they want. In the UK, they simply meet in a room somewhere, make up their collective minds, and then, in perfect nanny-state style, tell the people what they are going to get.
All in all, the tone is one written for Brits using most of the stereotypes we Americans have spread throughout the world with our films and TV shows.
Some folks have even asked to write an article opposing what was said in this one. I said, "Bring it on." See the result on Page 19.
When you lose an animal.
Animals become a part of your household. They are just there and provide companionship, humor and a distraction from the reality of life. But they are just animals. They have no immortal soul. So why do we grieve for them?
Some say you shouldn't have animals because of the pain through which you go when they are gone. That's absurd. Animals provide stability in your life. They ensure that you are there for them. They require some regular care and attention. That's a good thing.
What to do now? Can we replace "Tuxedo?" He was the patriarch of our tribe of two dogs and two cats. Of course, we can't. "TJ," cat No. 2, has already moved into the leadership role. Her constant complaining has almost stopped. She is a bit less attentive, but I think that's because she doesn't think she has to be. No more competition.
I don't think a trip to the pound is in order yet. We need to put some space between this moment and considering a new addition to our household. We will know when the right time comes.
Now just a goldarn minute here ...
I got this comment from a pal in Canada, through PT's Parking Blog:
"Us Canadians can't figure out the love you guys have for the $1 bill. It doesn't buy much. We have had $1 and $2 coins for years. How? Easy: Our government had the courage to eliminate the notes when the coins were introduced. The transition was easy, and no one is looking back. Rumour has it the $5 coin is on the way."
All I can say is that we Americans like our folding greenbacks. Does that make a lot of sense? Probably not. However, our government has never been one to do things with mucho intelligence. (There are 47 hidden meanings to the last word there, as you might guess.)
For instance -- it made the dollar coin the same size as the quarter. What good did that do? People didn't take to it. The paper-manufacturing lobby said, "Hold on," when the removal of the dollar bill was considered. So there you are.
You Canadians have your "loonies" and "toonies" and get along swimmingly. We Americans fight every change; we like things the way they are, and somehow muddle through.
You have metric; we have what's left. You have coins. You have all the gas and oil; we buy it from you with paper dollars. You make our cars; we send you more paper dollars. Gee, maybe it's 'cuz the bills are easier to mail than coin.
Well, coins or no, government in crisis or not, I still love it up there and get there every chance I can.
Did you know that Canada actually makes a single-malt whisky? It's called Glen Breton Rare. I've had worse.
These and other points of view can be read daily in PT BLOG - log on at www.parkingtoday.com.
Speaking of blogging - you can blog from anywhere. In April, I blogged from the floor of the Traffex show in the UK, and last month, from the floor of the IPI show in Fort Lauderdale. See the picture nearby from the UK.
Article Abstract from June, 2005