How I Got My First Parking Ticket
I blame World of Warcraft, wikipedia, the Internet, and George Bush.
It all began with Warcraft. After levelling a Hunter to 70, I got bored and started to level a Shaman. I got bored with that and started on a Warrior. And then I saw the Light and decided to level a Paladin (we shall conveniently forget the Druid for the moment). And after rolling female Night Elves and male Draenei, I finally felt ready for a plain old vanilla Human male paladin.
Then came the naming problem. I didn't bother much with the name of the very first character I made: in fact, I asked the people around me for random syllables which I then cobbled together for a name. Bad idea.
Since then, every character I've rolled has gone through an agonizing process of deliberation for naming. I wanted the Hunter to be Artemis (goddess of the hunt), but had to settle for Artem since that was taken (and I didn't want Artemys, Artimis, or another other creative mispelling). The Shaman was named Tostig, after the Earl who inherited his 6 feet of English earth at Stamford Bridge. The Warrior was named Osrik because I was going through a whole Anglo-Saxon naming scheme (I gave up on the whole alternate spelling purist thing: too many people had already taken the obvious, and to my mind correct, spellings).
Now the Paladin, I had the perfect name for: Mjolnir. After all, Paladins are a hammer wielding class, and what better name than the most famous hammer of all: Thor's hammer. And, of course, Mjolnir was taken. As was Mjolner, Mjollnir, and Mjollner etc. Evidently other Paladin players had the same idea as me.
So I turned to Google, and discovered another word of similarly ancient vintage: Vajra. Sanskrit, not Norse. The thunderbolt. The diamond mace. The symbol of knowledge that smashes ignorance. Now THAT was a good name.
So now I had a name for my Paladin. And naturally my mind wandered to the next thing ... that's right: accessories. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if I could get a miniature vajra symbol, like a pendant, or a handphone dongle.
Another set of Google searches determined that South Bridge Road (Chinatown) held the highest concentration of shops selling buddhist paraphernalia (a category of merchandise I didn't even know existed). A plan was formed: drive down to Chinatown ... park somewhere ... look for a shop ... that sold vajras.
And you know what the parking is like in Chinatown right? Right - horrendous. I ended up parking at the first place I could find a lot, in a large car park next to a big new red building I hadn't noticed before. It wasn't till I got out of the car that I realised I had just parked next to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. And a thought occurred to me: "Do Buddhist temples have gift shops?"
This one does. And lo and behold, amongst the incense, CDs of monks chanting, and fashionable tea-light holders ... yep: vajra handphone dongles (see picture above).
15 minutes later I was out of the temple and back in the car park. To find my first parking ticket. So you see, I blame World of Warcraft, wikipedia, and the internet in general.
And George Bush? Well, we blame him for everything anyway, don't we?