Huzzah, etc.: All the parking meters in downtown Minneapolis are hooked up to Parkmobile, so you can pay for them with your phone. This is a vast improvement over the old way. You had to walk up to the pay machine. With your legs. You had to punch in the space number. With your finger. You had to put a card in the slot and push ANOTHER BUTTON, then wait for a paper receipt. It was like living in some primitive world where you wrapped telegrams to the legs of carrier pigeons, I swear.
Anyone miss the old meters? No. Granted, the new meters lack the finality of their predecessor. No red flag snaps up to brand you a lawbreaker. (I never see any meter cops, so I assume the tickets are delivered by drone.) No one misses carrying around a wad of quarters. I cleaned them all out from my car and felt like they should go to the historical society.
Anyway. Now it’s much easier. You just whip out your phone and call up the Parkmobile app, start to type the zone number and dismiss the screen that asks if you want to join the network HotDog493 because you enabled the JOIN NETWORKS setting; then you go to your settings, disable Wi-Fi, then enter your password, and then enter it again, and then enter what you swear is your password, and then hit “Forgot my Password,” and then wait for an e-mail so you can use your temporary password of 034$8454r4293r35, and then enter that, and then reset your password, and then enter the zone number and wait for the words AN ERROR OCCURRED.
Which would be like walking to a meter and finding a grizzled grinning troll who says, “I must riddle thy loins before the slot takes thy coins!” and asks you some infuriating question. Even if you got the riddle right, your arm freezes as you try to drop the quarter, because AN ERROR OCCURRED.
So what happened? The app said I had no Internet connection. But I did. Apparently, I have to bring a desktop computer with 6 miles of cable plugged into the wall back home. After multiple attempts I gave up and figured I’d just put a quarter in the meter —