In a few years, when technology will allow unsolicited advertising to permeate the once-private homes and display as a hologram on the bedroom mirror, the State Fair will be running holographic mirror ads using days like today as a backdrop. Tomorrow's weather will be almost a carbon copy.
As much as I gripe about heat and humidity (and as I type this on Saturday evening, Juneau, Alaska is only 13 degrees cooler than Milwaukee) the overall weather at the Fair has been pretty good. Only a couple really sticky days, one rainout, and four glorious days with temps under 80 with low dew points. Truly a weather jackpot (Side note; Keep in mind that the high temperature 8 years ago today was 61 degrees. We were at the Fair that evening and froze our keesters off. It was wonderful!)
The slew of comments that I've received on these past nine blog entries, as well as those on my personal Facebook page, decry my lack of car parking stories. With as beautiful of a day that Saturday was, let's imagine how today would have been had I still lived on 86th & Orchard....
One would think that today would have been a banner day in the automobile storage industry, however, what started out with big hopes, ended up in two injuries, one arrest and a slew of restraining orders.
Knowing the forecast, and experiencing how early the "day" began last Sunday, I got My-Sugar-Na and Bowler's Pro Shop's Official Stepdaughter, Sloppy, out of bed early and slid a parking flag in their hands. By 10:30 AM, we already had two cars in the garage and four on the front yard at $5 (I didn't think the market could bear $10 so early, and I knew that I could flip most of those spots for $10 later in the day).
Problems began when the Lord of the Neighborhood (and every State Fair parking neighborhood has one... the guy who lives closest to the Fair and wants to set the neighborhood price, conveniently so his advantageously-placed house fills up at the highest price first. He is also the one who will tell everybody that he has space for one more vehicle as large as a pick-up, and as soon as someone else sends a pick-up his way, he heads into the house before he can reciprocate) came around and blamed me for underselling him. I had been watching his stinkeye aimed at me for the past week, and just wasn't in the mood. There was enough money to be had by everybody, so I told him to worry about his yard and I will worry about mine.
He. Was. Not. Happy.
The Lord of the Neighborhood stomped away in a huff, and I parked that 14th and last car about 12:45 PM. I went in the house for lunch when I heard a crash and a car alarm going off in my neighborhood. I look outside and it looks like someone took a baseball bat to two cars in my front yard, with headlight glass all over the grass and shattered windshields on both cars. Considering everyone was out parking cars, it was amazing that nobody saw anything.
The police were there lickety-split, and tried to pin the damage on me. I thought I was doing a good job of convincing the cops that I was in the house the whole time, when the Lord of the Neighborhood suggested that the police check my garage for a possible weapon. Sure enough, they found a baseball bat with red paint (consistent with one of the car's paint color). Though the cops couldn't prove it was me, they confiscated the bat and gave me one of those "Don't go anywhere, this isn't over" lectures.
The Lord of the Neighborhood walked away, smug in his victory. I knew I was in the clear, but I was on fire. Not only did someone (the Lord of the Neighborhood?) do the damage and plant the bat, but nobody saw anything, and I will have to somehow explain this to two car owners.
The police came back to ask more questions of both me and my wife (and also to re-canvass the neighborhood) when cars started leaving my yard. Do you know how hard it is to wave cars in a yard when two police cruisers with the blue-and-reds are flashing in front of your house and there is glass all over? Well, let me tell you... it is pretty hard.
As the afternoon wore on, more cars left my yard and the empty spots could not be replaced. The massive quantity of Fair attendees were still looking for places to park and the Lord of the Neighborhood (as well as others) jacked their rates up to $15... and I had eight spots I couldn't give away. Eventually, the police left (and left their cards on the cars that were damaged) and I had at least a fighting chance of catching up... that is until the Lord of the Neighborhood's wife came through on her Rascal scooter and chimed in with "So, how is YOUR parking revenue today?"
As she rode off, I rammed my parking flag into her wheel base, jamming the scooter hard and knocking her off... right into the bumper of one of the already damaged cars. Considering that I am as docile as Gandhi himself, I guess it was out of character. The Lord of the Neighborhood came flying down the block and landed a roundhouse left to My-Sugar-Na's jaw (like a true manly man, he said "You hurt my wife, I'll hurt yours").
Just as a police cruiser was coming over the hill on 86th Street!
The Lord of the Neighborhood was arrested on the spot, his wife lost three teeth, my wife might need her jaw wired shut, and with his yard unattended, I was able to fill all eight spots (plus a few others) at $15 a car for a total of 25 cars parked and a one-day record of $205 in revenue.
But you know the best part? While he was describing the story to the police, he flubbed and admitted to damaging the two cars in my yard, too. Other than the restraining orders we all have against each other (and my wife's jaw, I guess) it was a picture perfect day.
I can't wait until tomorrow.
Now, see? Isn't it a good thing that I moved out of that neighborhood?