Too long, didn’t read. I hear this more and more often from all sorts of people. Busy people. Distracted people. People trying to digest hundreds and hundreds of e-mails and texts a day while still getting work done, raising children, and dealing with all of life’s complex challenges. TLDR. As a result I’ve now taken the advice of a friend and kept my e-mails short. Haiku is optimal. But there are trade offs.
A friend-of-a-friend asked if he could crash on the guest bed for a week during a business conference. Accommodations are expensive in San Francisco and a free place to stay saves serious money. “Yes. Of course. All are welcome.” He lives a couple hours away and was planning to drive in to the city. I asked where the conference was being held and realized he could pretty much walk or ride a bike (my bike) there from my place. I also realized that any form of driving and parking would be a hellish experience, particularly for a suburbanite who wasn’t used to the city. So I advised him to park in a distant suburban station and take the train instead. But he drove. Of course he drove. They all drive.
So I attempted to explain where he should park: on a specific street near the top of a certain hill where there’s no residential parking permit sticker requirement and he’d have a pretty good chance of finding a space where he could stay for the whole week unmolested if he arrived mid day and he paid attention to which side of the street had street cleaning on which day.
He arrived mid day as planned, but proceeded to drive around the city as a windshield tourist taking in the scenery by car. When the sun began to set he then quickly skimmed my e-mail and drove to the street I suggested only to find no available spaces. He called my cell. “What’s the deal? You said there’d be parking.” Well, by evening everyone had come home from work. He should have parked at lunchtime as I instructed. “Oh.”
Later that week he thought he got really lucky. There was a space directly across the street from my building. Lots of spaces! So he moved the car to be closer in. The tickets were waiting for him when he returned. Two hour parking limit without a residential sticker. Street cleaning day. Blah, blah, blah. Tickets here are expensive. He called again to ask if he really had to pay. “Yes. This isn’t the mall parking lot on the outskirts of Sacramento.” What he experienced was the one thing powerful enough to focus his attention. Pain.