In 2018, it still costs to park, but inflation has kicked up the price.
In older times, Albuquerque Old Town visitors would pull 55 Chevy’s into spaces under towering cottonwoods, next to adobe walls built in the early nineteen hundreds. They would not lock their car doors and drop quarters into the slots of this triangular collection box to keep legal and be within walking distance of the Main Square.
Sometimes, there was an old man sitting in the shade reading a newspaper, collecting quarters from the box and secreting them into a sock in his right suit coat pocket. There was a half empty flask with his initials, in his left suit pocket.
There were few patrons then that didn’t pay. In the fifties, people had money in their pockets and a conscience.
This parking relic reminds of the past but it has been supplanted by new technology that raises red flags when your time is up, takes credit cards, and alerts parking attendants to haul away delinquent parked cars with a text message.
I miss seeing the old man reading his newspaper, tapping his feet to Mexican music on his little GE radio, waving at families coming to Old Town on a Sunday afternoon for a stroll down memory lane.
For city folks, parking has always been a big deal.
We don’t take our cars to heaven, but, if we did, the old man would be waiting to collect our quarters in a parking lot just out front of the Pearly Gates.
Paying parking for eternity sobers up even the worst drunk.