I got this town wired. It starts with the parking.
When I came here last week for the first time I parked close to the courthouse and racked up a ticket every day. There’s no way to feed the meters given the time constraints and nature of covering a trial. So earlier this week, after court ended early, I went to the police station and handed my three tickets to the fellow behind the security window and he told me that would be $18 total — five dollars for one ticket, five dollars for another, eight dollars for a third, the fees escalating slightly to punish the recidivists. I gave him a 20 and he gave me my two bucks back plus a handwritten receipt.
Eighteen dollars is about what it costs to park in a garage in downtown DC for a single day. The whole parking-ticket experience here was so pleasant it made me want to drive up here on vacation sometime just to get a parking ticket.
But no: I’ve got it all wired, as I said, because, thanks to a source in city government, I know where there are parking meters where for a single quarter you can park for five hours. Yes. Fifty cents covers the entire day.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Joel, you finding 5-hours-for-a-quarter parking is the single most bad-arse thing I’ve heard about since Neil Armstrong joysticked the Eagle past that crater and landed safely.” And you are correct. When I hit the courtroom every morning, having parked with such panache, I’m glowing.
There are two kinds of reporters covering the trial: Those that plug in at the DQ and those that tromp down the hill to Cool Beans. I’m a Beans guy. In both places, the employees are super friendly. Their electricity bills are going to be through the roof because of all the laptops plugged into every conceivable outlet. But it’s as though whoever designed these places understood that, someday, they’d need a lot of outlets for all the parasitic reporters. When you’re a journalist these days the first thing you look for, and maybe the only thing you look for, when you enter a commercial establishment is the number of electrical outlets.
Yesterday I climbed Mount Nittany. This is not a heroic feat but one that, in the heat, proved sufficiently exercising. There’s a great view of State College, of which the most prominent landmark is the football stadium.
In the morning, early, I’ve walked the campus, which is enormous, and quiet this time of year – a campus where the big trees are fully in control, and the stone blocks of the muscular buildings are wide and sturdy like interior linemen.
It’s all very nice here. Except for, you know, the trial.