Parking Spaced

Why did I buy six parking meters? Well, first and foremost, I’m a guy, and buying the parking meters was as much an “impulse” thing as checking out RVs at Campers Inn whenever I’m within a five-mile radius of the dealership or tire-kicking at Hobbs Automotive every time they get a repossessed car in or using the excuse of “I can’t find the right tool” to justify making a trip to Home Depot. It is in our genes to want stuff that no one has — even if we have no use for it — just to hear someone say, “Wow, you’ve got a ?! That’s COOL!”

When I read about the parking meter sale, I called the Manchester Traffic Department first thing in the morning and reserved 20. I even admitted to the person on the phone, “I have no idea why I’m ordering 20.” My brain fantasized about selling them on eBay. I’m going to keep one for myself (because someday I can USE it for something!), sell the rest for SOOO much more than I paid for them, and thereby be closer to my long term goal of retiring at 78! When I then read in the paper that they sold out in one morning and there was a waiting list of 200 people … well, I knew that I had made the right decision!

I didn’t tell my wife about my buying the meters; I had a feeling she just wouldn’t understand the huge marketing upside potential to the whole idea. I felt certain that she’d just refer to my non-success with earlier wealth-generating prospects, like Day Trading (not a smart thing to do with a dial-up modem) and “Speculative Web Page Purchases” in the earlier days of the Internet (has anyone even HEARD of So, under the guise of Christmas shopping, I went to pick them up at the Traffic Department when they were ready.

When I got there, I put three in a crate, lifted them up and felt years-neglected muscles start to stretch, groan and call out for help immediately. Since there were a few people in the office, I naturally did the “cool” thing, and sauntered out to my car with them while the alarms kept going off in my body. When I got to the car and no one was looking, I took a moment to let all the tingling/burning sensations subside and for my heart to stop pounding, and then, with the help of the little voice in my head that was screaming “What were you THINKING?!,” I re-evaluated my purchasing strategy in light of the several trips to my car it was going to require, and the remaining tingling sensation in my right leg.

I decided instead to buy six and give 14 back to the pool for those on the waiting list. I’d keep two for myself (because someday I can USE them for something!), put one into an upcoming Yankee Swap, give one to my brother (who has “everything”) for Christmas and try to sell the remaining two to re-coup the money I spent on all six.

So that’s what I did. I sold two, gave one to my brother (who now has everything!), gave one away as a Yankee Swap (it was the most sought-after gift by all the brothers-in-law … proving my point in the first paragraph) and the remaining two are safely stored away under my work bench in the basement, red lights still blinking, just waiting for the day when I will use them … for something. NH

John Campanello is an actor and talent casting agent whose company, Between Gigs Casting, is based in Manchester. He credits his skills as actor and tongue-in-cheek commentator on experience gained in his less-colorful, 18-year prior career in Corporate America.