All I wanted to do was pay my five bucks faster.
On Saturday night, Dianne took me to see West Side Story at the Overture Center for my birthday. I dropped her and our friends off at the front door and went to park the car in the Overture ramp.
I pulled into line and waited to pay my five dollars and park, which made me late for the show. When you show up late, the ushers give you stern looks and make you stand in the back until there's a break. My seat was on the aisle four rows from where I was standing with two ushers. I gestured toward the seat as if to say, "It's right there. Seriously?"
The usher nearest me "shushed" me and told me to stand in my place until receiving further instructions from her. I looked down at my shoes and made no more trouble.
She was doing the right thing. I was late. I deserved even worse than I got. That's not my complaint.
Here's my real complaint: I didn't pay nearly enough for parking. Five dollars is ridiculous. I once paid two dollars for ice in my Scotch at a bar across the street from the arts center. Don't get me started on that one, but it illustrates the point. Five bucks is nothing.
People in my neighborhood charge $15 or $20 to park on their lawns during UW football games, and the walk to the stadium is a lot farther than the walk to your theater seat from the Overture ramp.
Cheap parking is not guaranteed in the Constitution.
Let's at least charge $15 to park for Overture events. If you took the extra $10 and gave it to Overture, a conservative estimate is that it would provide another $250,000 for the struggling arts center every year. And it would mean that people who enjoy the facility but don't live in Madison would help a little in paying for it. Right now, only Madison residents pony up through their property taxes, even though more than half of Overture patrons live outside the city.
And finally back to something that really burns me: that two dollars they charged me to put a couple of ice cubes in my Scotch. I started drinking it neat. It's better that way, anyway.