Parking and Corpses in San Franshithole
September 7th 2005 @ 4:18 pm All Categories

And, so you think those Katrina victims have it tough, Pleeze!!! How about my pain! I had to deal with parking in San Francisco over the weekend… Hmph, If you had the choice between a case of dysentery and having to go a few days without food or water, or having to deal with PARKING A CAR in SAN FRANCISCO, which would you choose… Yeah, I thought so…

The reason for going to San Francisco was because of this exhibit that I wanted to see titled, “The Universe Within”. You’ve probably heard about this type of exhibit in the news somewhere during the past few years… Some German doctor, scientist, artist, whatever, a few years ago, came up with a way to plasticize corpses so that they don’t rot and so that they can put them on display without them being a health hazard, so we living people can gawk at a bunch shellacked corpses who’ve been rescued from the grave and been dissected and posed in various different artistic ways for our curiosity and amusement! And with me being a science nerd, as well as a rubber-necker who likes to stare at anything different, weird, or bizarre, this was definitely the exhibit for me!!

Before I went I checked out the website for the details… Tickets were only $17.00, which wasn’t too horrible for such an exhibit… In San Francisco, parking usually costs more that that! Also the Nob Hill Masonic Center, where the event was being held, was doing a thing where they were offering three hours of parking for only $8.00 if you see the exhibit. Wow! pretty cool! Three hours! that should be way more than enough time to see the exhibit. So a friend and I took off to see the corpse show.

When we got near the location of the event, I started looking for street parking, hoping to get lucky and find something cheaper and with a longer stay time than the garage… of course there were no open spots, and all of the street parking had 2 hour limits anyway, so even if I found a spot, it’d be useless. I get to the garage, and see what the prices would be if they weren’t doing the three hour $8.00 deal, or what they will end up being if I don’t make it back out of the garage in those three hours, but three hours is a lot of time, it should be plenty of time to see the exhibit. The rates without the three hour validation deal? $2.50 every fifteen minutes, and $27.00 for all day. Ugh!

I get to the parking garage, and it spits out the ticket with my official parking start time stamped on it, the clock has started…. The underground garage, like most other garages around these days has been redone to cram the maximum amount of cars in and gain the maximum amount of cash from, so each slot is more like a motorcycle parking slot, than an actual car spot, a friggin’ Ford Fiesta would have a tough time slipping into one of these slots and having enough room left to open it’s doors, plus they’ve painted them all in a way to shoehorn in the maximum amount of vehicles on each level, which means that the actual corridors left to drive around the garage to find an empty slot were as thin as starving Whippet! So I’m threading the needle around this garage in my Jeep in a traffic jam with a bunch of other SUV’s and somewhere 20-30 minutes later, on the fourth level down, I finally find a few open spots, so that I could park and still have open spots on both sides so that I can open my doors and actually get out of the car and not have to crawl out of the hatchback!… We take the elevator up the four stories and make it to the entrance of the exhibit, but I don’t see them selling tickets, only taking them… I look around for a sign pointing us in the direction where tickets are sold, but, of course, no sign.. so we have to wait until the we can get the ticket takers attention, another friggin’ 5 minutes burned with me standing there tapping my foot impatiently… finally we’re directed to the next floor up for tickets. We hustle up the stairs, and there’s a big long line to get the tickets. Ugh…

Forty minutes later and an total of about an hour and fifteen minutes into my three hour allotted parking time, we have our tickets and head down to the exhibit. It’s pretty cool, a bunch of bodies and organs stripped of their skin and diced and dissected and posed in a variety of ways, some are under glass cases, and others are out in the open. Thank God for the plastinization, or plastinosis, or whatever it is they do to the bodies, otherwise it’d be pretty rank in there. After about the third body, I noticed that they were all Chinese… My mind started reeling with thoughts about one of those boats, like in Lethal Weapon III, where the Chinese people who bought they’re way onto a boat to be smuggled into the US, and how one of those boats must’ve been shanghaied by the Chinese mafia and the people killed, diced and plastinated to make money from stupid American’s in a roving exhibit!!! AWESOME!!! Later I found out that, naw, it was nothing that exciting… The doctors, dead people, and the exhibit just came from Museum of Life Sciences in Beijing, China. Not as thrilling or dramatic as my assumption, but at least I don’t have to feel guilty about innocent people dying for my curious and morbid entertainment (Well, actually, it’s China, maybe these were prisoners, or protesting students or something, who knows!!!).

While the exhibit was fascinating, like most public events, the crowd was also part of the entertainment… One couple couldn’t keep their hands and lips off of each other, and after looking at a nude and dissected corpse, they’d look at each other and make out… Fuuuuck. Well, whatever turns you on, I guess.

Although, I wasn’t getting “turned-on” by the corpses, they were making me hungry… I didn’t really have any breakfast, and with some of the corpses, they did a cross section through the leg and if you’ve never seen a cross section of a leg, it’s looks just like a friggin’ juicy meaty and marbled steak… I just wanted to bust the glass case open and throw that leg on the grill with some sauce.

There were a few men know-it-alls there too… I’d hear them prattling on to there wives and kids with their vast scientific and medical knowledge… With one dude, I came late, and just heard him finishing and confidently telling his wife something like, “…and that’s how the blahblahblah makes the blahblahblah function with the blahblahblah…”, then his wife retorts, “But what about the blahblahblah?”, then the guy goes, “Hunh? Uh, uh… well, uh, I guess that blows THAT theory… huh, huh, huh.” Yeah, it does windbag… as the old adage goes, it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt.

You weren’t allowed to take pictures in the exhibit, but one skinless corpse, was pretty amusing, it was a woman dressed up in high heels a shopping bag. Being the outlaw that I am, I remembered that my new phone had a camera, so I surreptitiously took a picture with the camera phone… well, surreptitiously, until I took the picture and the phone made a loud camera snapshot sound effect alerting me and everyone in a twenty foot radius that I’d just taken a photo… ugh! Of course the photo came out shitty too, but at least no SWAT team rappelled out of the rafters to confiscate my phone.

We finally finished seeing everything and decided to bail out with plenty of time on the parking ticket left… I wasn’t quite sure when “all day” kicked in and my $8.00 would suddenly change to $27.00, so I wanted to leave a little early… We took the elevator back down to the 4th level, got in my Jeep, and “BAM” hit a traffic jam at the third level… the “˜get out of the garage’ traffic jam was another half hour and I made it out with about three minutes left on my ticket… Jeez, and I thought I was leaving early. And you KNOW if I was a minute late, telling the clerk that I’ve been in the traffic line for a half hour wouldn’t matter, Clerk:”I am surry, boot yoo have gone over your allotted tyme, it will bee twuntee-seffen dollairs!”

On our way out and down the road I saw the Fairmont Hotel, I’d always heard about how cool the Tonga room there was… like some sort of rainforest or something. I soooo wanted to see this, so I started looking for parking… Guess what… Yep, no parking – no where ““ no how ““ no way… I drove around the blocks a few times, then around the blocks that were around the blocks then said, “Fuck this, this is dumb. I bet the Tonga room sucks anyway.” and moved on and out of that neighborhood.

Since the corpse show made me hungry, we decided to go to Chinatown for a late lunch. More annoying traffic and no parking anywhere later, I found a parking garage that by comparison with the other garage, was a deal. We meandered around a bit and ended up going into the Golden Dragon restaurant, it had an ornate all gold and red dragon façade compared to the other grimy and greasy restaurant fronts so we figured that it must be good… Of course, it ended up being kinda skanky, and we got the ass end of the buffet that was going on there… twelve-fuckin’-ninety-five each for that skanky buffet too,… burned again… and no frickin’ fortune cookie either even!!! We left that place and wandered around a bit and looked in the souvenir shops… my stomach started gurgling from the nasty buffet, and even though I was trying to be nice and hold it in, in one of the crowded shops the rankest beef and broccoli fart you’ve ever smelled sneaked out, and I said, “we gotta go!” We decide to leave Chinatown and got back to the car and exited out of there..

On our way out of town, I looked over and saw a cool looking pub called “Elephant and Castle” and said, “That looks like a cool pub. Ugh.., I could use a drink and some time to relax and chill out right now… I could also use their toilet right now too… that skanky buffet food is creepin’ it’s way through. It’s too bad there’s no where to park.” Then, lo, I looked over and saw an empty parking spot with a meter right in front of the pub. I was in the far right lane at a stop light, and the pub and parking spot was on the left side of the street… I looked behind me and amazingly, there were no cars behind me either… I decided, “Fuck this, this is a sign from God!… An open parking spot in San Francisco! I’m taking it just because it’s an open parking spot in San Francisco!!! I jammed the transmission in reverse and roared backward, jammed it into “drive” and burned forward and sniped the spot before any other asswipe could grab it… I jumped out of the car and jumped up and down like I’d won the lottery, then started fishing for change…

At the meter, my jaw dropped… the parking was limited to a half hour, and the rates were, get this, 25¢ for 5 minutes, which equals $1.50 for the half hour… 5¢ would buy you one minute… I shit you not, they actual had it labeled, “1 minute ““ 5¢”… Now I really needed that drink… We scrounged up all the quarters we had… fed the extortion machine and went to the pub, ordered Martinis and I went to the bathroom… Ten minutes later, I finally came out… used the few minutes left on the meter to chug my Martini and “˜ding’ our half hour was up, and we were forced to leave and we headed directly toward the Freeway home. On the way out, over my shoulder, I gave San Francisco and it’s parking bullshit the finger.

Next time I’m going to drive my bicycle up, park somewhere relatively free or cheap, and bike to wherever I need to go. Some friends suggested Cal-Train, or BART, but then what… the train or BART takes you to the station and dumps you off, what’s next… pay a cab what it’d cost in gas and parking to drive you around, or figure out the bus system and take a lovely urine smelled ride on the muni the long way around to your destination and hope that it’s still operating when I need to go home?… There’s only so many hours in the day… and I don’t want to spend them all on public transportation… Nope, transportation needs to be going in my direction, to my destination and needs to be on my time… So driving and biking is the way to go if I ever need to go back to San Franshithole….

Fuck you Frisco!

-Sean

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