Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'm a "Zipster"

My new job is working out really well. Everyone I work with is really nice and I’ve yet to identify any jerks or anyone who may be a problem down the road. My boss seems to like me. My checking account is also very happy, now that direct-deposit is once again supplying a teat onto which it can suckle.

I’ll be managing a state-wide program of facilities that assist people with disabilities find employment. That means I’ll have to travel about the state of Illinois at least once a quarter. That’ll be fun and interesting because, as a Chicagoan living in downtown Chicago, I’m not really aware that anything in Illinois actually exists outside of Chicago. Apparently, there are lots of soybeans and corn, so it’ll be fun to see.
I hear that Peoria will just eat you up and spit you out, baby.

At first, I thought I’d have to buy a car which I was pretty bummed out about. Having grown up in Texas where everything is a grillion miles from everything else, I grew tired of owning a car. For the past ten years I’ve lived near subways and, except for the occasional encounter with chicken bones or a dead bat, I really like using them.

Also, owning a car in downtown Chicago is horribly expensive. Insurance is sky-high, you have to buy a special city permit each year, and parking costs $200 a month where I live.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed these new “Zip Cars” that are parked in the plaza of my apartment building so I looked in to it. It turns out that it’s a system of car sharing. You sign up and get an electronic card. When you want a car, you just reserve one online. Then, through the miracle of wireless technology, only your “zip card” will unlock the car you've selected during the time you've selected it. You just drive off and go! It costs $9.00 an hour or $66.00 for a 24-hour period. And that includes insurance AND gas! (There’s a credit card above the visor to use).

It's like the Tivo of car rentals.

There are about 40 zip cars available within a one-mile radius of where I live. Better yet, there are four of them right in the plaza of my apartment building. Best of all, one of them is a Mini Cooper which are off-the-charts on the adorability factor.

I did the math and crunched the numbers. My employer reimburses us at 48.5 cents per mile. A round trip to my farthest destination is 680 miles. I’ll be coming out ahead by using my adorable Zipcar. And I won’t have to buy a car.

So, I joined up. As a Zipcar member, I am now a “Zipster.” (That’s cute too). I tried it out last week and it worked just fine. The Mini Coopers are just a blast to drive. Those puppies can just scoot! Did I mention they’re adorable?

I also like the idea of car sharing. I really have very strong anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist, pro-environment leanings, so knowing that I’m cheating the auto industry out of making me own a car makes me awfully happy.

But now, here’s the best part of all. You see, in the plaza of my apartment building, there are several spots reserved for tenants if you need to park there for less than 15 minutes. But, I’ve noticed this one car that’s often taking up one of those spaces all the time. Twice, when using a friend’s car, I’ve needed to drop things off and none of those spots were available. Grrrr!

I’ve complained to the parking attendants and they told me that the fellow that owns that car runs errands the elderly folks in the building. Yeah, right. (Then, the building management should give him a regular parking spot, - - not let him take up a space for which it’s not intended!) I complained to the management office and they said there was nothing they could do if the parking attendants let him do it. Grrrr!

So, for the past few months, I’ve really been grrrr-ing every time I see that guy’s car taking up a space that I have needed on occasion.

But now, my Zipcars take up four of those spots! And if anyone parks in a Zipcar spot, I can call Zipcar and have it towed away now that I’m a Zipster.

I take great pleasure in hoping that the owner of that car really, really resents that MY Zipcars are encroaching on his ability to illegally park there!

What I really hope for is that, one day, I’ll see that jerk’s car in a Zipcar spot. I’ll be on the phone soooo fast to have it towed. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! I really hope that clown parks there someday just so I can do it. I'll just be singing "Zippidy-doo-dah" as that tow truck yanks his nasty car away from MY parking spot.

God! This feels good!



At 4:27 PM , Anonymous Al Gore said...

I'm so proud of you.

At 4:53 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Thanks, Al. I really appreciate it.

You know, I used to have a little bit of a crush on you. But then you got fat. What happened there, buddy?

At 6:34 PM , Blogger Iwanski said...

I want to be a Zipster. You are my Zipcar Guineau Pig. I'm gonna see how it works out for you.
I want reports on anything and everything Zip.


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