On the morning I flew from JFK to Los Angeles, I noticed city workers up early in my neighborhood in Queens, drinking their coffee, already at work.  They were removing the coin-operated parking meters from the sidewalk, rooting them out from the heavy cement as if they were tiny metallic trees, both ancient and sturdy.  It was the end of an era.  The city was installing the electronic parking meters that I had seen in newer cities like Seattle and Denver.  It was a makeover I didn’t want to happen in New York, something like Robert DeNiro getting plastic surgery to look more like Justin Bieber.

A child born today will probably never see a working coin-operated parking meter, or experience the frantic search for the dropped quarter under the car seat, while the meter hungrily cries for her food like a voracious Venus flytrap.

The typewriter. The telephone booth.  And now, the coin-operated parking meter.   All gone.

It’s not as if anyone LIKED the coin-operated parking meter.   We cursed her.   We said she was a whore who demanded money for her time.  We despised her pimp, the man in the snazzy uniform who cycled around the block, waiting to trap us as we enjoyed our relaxing coffee in a cafe.

We hated the coin-operated parking meter.  We wished it dead.  And soon it will be dead. Only to be replaced by a soulless machine that spits out a wafer-thin paper ticket.  And we will miss the coin-operated parking meter

Tomorrow starts 2012.  It is a time to start fresh.  The writing staff at “Citizen of the Month” wishes every reader of this blog good health, happiness, and success.

But let’s also take a second to remember those who faltered during the past year, like the once mighty coin-operated parking meter.   If only we had said “I love you” to her when she was still alive.