Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Our Local Meter Man

In our neighborhood we have a fellow whose job it is to ticket people who are illegally part either by overstaying the parking meter or parking for more than three hours on a residential street or some such offense.  He was always very zealous and even in the beginning would literally run up and down the street checking the meters carefully and gleefully doling out tickets.  After awhile anybody local knew about him and has a plan if they just want to stop for a minute or two.  Usually I sit in the driver’s seat ready to pull out if needed while Ray runs into the store.  But he does capture quite a few visitors.  He was so good at it that they rewarded him with a bicycle so he could do his circuit even faster.

That brings me around to bridgeblogging.  A bunch of us were out to dinner yesterday and Fred Lerner, a long-time friend asked me why I hadn’t blogged (I had only missed a couple of days).  He said he missed my blogs.  Wow!  That made me feel really good.  And when I answered I realized I was a bit like the local meter man.  There can be only one reason to do blog for no pay, no fame, many times a month for many years.  You like doing it.  That local meter man must really like his job, strange as that may seem.  Maybe there is a bit of a competition going on among the meter fraternity in which case I would bet on him.

Now I have been a subscriber to, the premier bridge forum, for years.  Lately I haven’t read it all the time but I was glancing at it today and thinking about how much lots of people like talking, writing and reading about bridge.  Here are some threads I found interesting:

In the ACBL, am I allowed to play one system white, yet another

completely different one red? Obviously, this would be pre-alerted.

As a quick example – say EHAA when white, and 2/1 when red.



A variety of people provided the answer: Yes you can but it is pre-alertable.

I know some people who used to do something like although not quite EHAA (Every hand and adventure).  Somebody wondered if you could play more than two.   I could see up to eight depending on seat and vulnerability and if you were a computer and not a “mature” person.  Apparently you are not allowed to change systems during a session for example playing one thing against weaker players and one against stronger.  Ray and I used to play weak notrump against everybody but a fellow called John Rayner which apparently is not allowed in a single session.

Most of the entries are about questions about specific bids or a play problem but some ask broader questions.  The answers are sometimes serious and sometimes as in the one below whimsical

My partner and I are considering using REVOLVING  LAVINTHAL  discards in NT contracts. Any suggestions or comments.


Most clubs do not provide the swivel-chairs that make playing these most effective.–Will in New Haven

I confess I was on the board looking for a particular topic.  The infamous second last board of the Spingold which I wrote about along with many many others.  Ray will be writing about this particular bridge phenomenon I think so I won’t here.  But the comments on the board were quite interesting.

I suppose the same point about why do people do commentary on Vugraph and so on.


Paul GipsonAugust 9th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I think there is, or should be, a difference between a blogger and a Vugraph commentator.

A blogger is normally doing it for themselves. The fact that some actually read their blogs is a bonus.

The better Vugraph commentators are not doing it to hear their own voice (sic) or for the kudos of having commentator privileges, but to improve the experience for the rest of the audience.

But a common factor is that we enjoy doing it.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 9th, 2010 at 3:49 pm


I would like to think that bloggers blog because they believe they have something unique to share that others either don’t possess or are not interested in sharing. True, they do it on their own dime and it is up to the individual to determine for himself or herself if pro bono work is payment enough.

Obviously, MOST DO!

With regard to commentary on today’s BBO, it is a far cry (with certain exceptions) from the old magical days of Ron Andersen, Mike Ledeen, Edgar, Bobby and other quick-witted, bridge luminaries, But — bear in mind — that was a labor of love also. No money exchanged hands. Resounding laughter was remuneration in itself.

For the most part, a great many of today’s commentators are quite refeshing and stimulating, with a few notable less qualified exceptions.

I don’t agree with your assessment of why the plethora of commentators do their thing. It is a mixed bag as I reflect upon it.

I think it is a combination of love of the game while simultaneously (maybe unconsciously) bolstering one’s own ego — which goes with the territory. How can it not — knowing thousands of kibitzers are hanging on your every word? But, in the same breath, many have tons of scalps on the wall and really don’t crave ego nurturing. Most of them can do it in their sleep. Those are the ones you refer to as “better Vugraph commentators.” Point well made!

Dave Memphis MOJOAugust 9th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

“There can be only one reason to do blog for no pay, no fame, many times a month for many years. You like doing it. ”

Well, I’m glad you like doing it.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 9th, 2010 at 9:11 pm


Being a meter man like you described would be my last choice of jobs. Unless it was the only job left in town and my family was dependent upon it to put food on the table — even then I am not sure I would take it. There is something mean spirited (even sinister) about it — like a jungle animal surveying his prey.

However, we have something comparable here in LV. The bicycle has been replaced by the motorcycle and when you hear that racing motor behind you and see a blinking red light in your rear view mirror, you know you have been the chosen one.

The policemen are as lovely as can be — polite and sympathetic — but the local government needs money and even though he is courteous and admits he has magnanimously reduced the radar speed rate on the ticket which he is about to write up — the fine is still in the vicinity of $200 plus a moving violation and increased insurance.

I know this is totally un-bridge related but has been a popular topic among many of the local bridge gentry. Instead of concentrating on not reneging — park carefully and drive slowly!


Linda LeeAugust 10th, 2010 at 9:50 am

There is too much to say about BBO commentary to answer in a comment so I will write a blog about it.

I admire people who put a lot into their jobs volunteer or paid and do the best they can at whatever they do. That doesn’t mean I would like to be a meter man but it does seem better than a traffic cop. At least you don’t have to confront the almost any of the people you give a ticket too. Our fellow is outdoors all the time (nice in good weather) and gets a lot of exercise.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 10th, 2010 at 10:38 am


In Phildelphia they used to be called Meter Maids, as usually they were females and most needed something to keep themselves busy while their kids were in school. I suppose someone has to “do the job,” but I see no difference between the sexes.

Probably the main distinction between a meter person and a cop is light years apart. My guess is a traffic policeman (or cop as you call him) must endure a great deal more of involved training, must be much more intelligent and his job directly may affect the lives (or death) of the speeders or their victims. He too is an ‘outdoors’ person but is on duty 24/7 despite the weather and doesn’t just saunter down the street in good weather, getting lots of exercise and looking for customers — which in essence is a meter man’s job.

Though I despise the thought of getting a speeding violation, realistically it has a very valid and valuable reason for being issued. A human life may be involved.

Your reference to “gleefully doling out tickets” is what got to me. Sad assessment of this person’s life if that is what it takes to make one happy.

markAugust 10th, 2010 at 3:39 pm


just writing in defence of meter men / maids. Yes it is the last job most of us would want. Certainly in NZ the one meter man i spoke to had been made redundant (I don’t know the US terminology for losing your job because the economy is down). There weren’t other jobs he could take. Meeting people socially he would never admit to what he did – this is quite humiliating at least for men. I can only guess your super-efficient meter man hopes someone will notice his work ethic and offer him a job doing something wonderful… like maybe looking after a bridge club, or running the ACBL.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 10th, 2010 at 8:29 pm


Your second sentence says it all: “Yes it is the last job most of us would want.” AGREED.

However, if that is the only job a person could get, it is a pretty sad commentary on our global situation. And, pray tell, what is entailed in a meter person’s worth ethic??? Something I must be missing. Does that mean not giving a parking ticket if his watch says 29-1/2 minutes — but waits until the full 30 minutes are up.

I have my own theory why people take jobs like that, but I will bite my tongue.

Paul GipsonAugust 11th, 2010 at 3:35 am

A good friend of mine was a traffic warden (as they are known in these parts). The job was more about ensuring that the traffic kept moving through the small town rather than giving tickets for meters (rare) or for illegal parking (common).

She did enjoy working outdoors most of the time and the local shop owners were very friendly as, effectively, she helped their trade. On the other hand the driving ‘public’ was not so good and it was the harassment she received that eventually made her give it up after ten years.

She said there was one major difference between the sexes in the job. If you punched a male warden, then you would be prosecuted for assault, get fined and have a criminal record.

If you ripped a ticket off your card and stuck it on the chest of a female warden, then you would be prosecuted for sexual assault, get a bigger fine, have a criminal record AND be recorded on the UK’s Sexual Offenders List for ten years.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 11th, 2010 at 11:34 am


I enjoyed your tales of the traffic “warden” in your part of the world — a far cry from one just policing the parking front. I got a big kick out of your last paragraph about sexual assault. Sounds like you may have been kidding on the level but it certainly made for an entertaining vision.

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