D. E. Larsen, DVM
We made a trip to Portland a while back for my 4-year checkup from prostate cancer treatment. My Radiation Oncologist wants to see me next year, so it looks like they expect me to live that long, at least.
Traveling to downtown Portland lets one realize how lucky we are to live in Sweet Home. Traffic was horrendous, both going and coming. We parked in a parking garage at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital. We took a ticket from the machine when we entered the garage.
When we left the doctor’s office, the receptionist asks if I wanted a get out jail free card for the parking attendant. I almost declined it, but on Sandy’s urging, I took the small slip of paper with a scan code from his outstretched hand.
When we drove to the exit gate, the attendant was just going on a break. He was a short black man with a slight build. What hair remained on his head was white. I imagined that this was a significant supplemental income for his meager Social Security check.
Following the instructions on the exit machine looked pretty easy. It reads; “Insert your ticket, when the fee is posted on the screen, you can do one of two options:”
1) pay the fee, and the gate will open.
2) scan your card from the doctor’s office, wait for the price to change to zero, and the gate will open.”
By now, there are 3 cars behind me. I insert the ticket into the machine, we were parked for just over an hour. The fee is posted on the screen. It says $64.00.
$64.00 for an hour of parking, it takes me a few minutes to recover from that shock. “Do you see that fee?” I say to Sandy. “Talk about highway robbery!”
Now there are seven cars behind us. I place the card from the doctor’s office in the scanner. The limp paper is a bit crumpled from being in my shirt pocket. It does not scan! “How the hell are we suppose to get out of here now, I will be damn if I’m going to pay $64.00 an hour to park!” Sandy does not respond.
I don’t know how many cars are behind us now. The end of the line is around the corner.
I scan the card again, nothing. I turn it around and scan it again, still nothing.
There is a number to call for help, but inside the garage, there is no service on the cell phone. Such a big help that is. The guy behind us is getting impatient, he guns his engine a couple of times. I see the attendant come out the door back by the doctor’s offices. He looks alarmed and starts running toward us. I scan the card one more time.
It works! The fee returns to zero, and the gate opens. We pull out of the garage just as the attendant reaches his station, somewhat out of breath.
The phone still has no service, so the navigation is not working. Which way do we turn? The guy behind us is right on our tail now. Sandy says, “Turn right!”. I turn left. So starts the discussion until we finally get the navigation working and make it back to the freeway, but heading to Seattle.
Next time we might drive to Wilsonville and call a cab.