I swear I think my town’s entire financial well-being must come from the money it generates from parking tickets. I don’t know if there’s a grand prize giveaway to whoever gives out the most tickets or what, but it seems that the cops are more than just a little ticket-happy around here. I can’t tell you how many tickets I’ve gotten just parked in front of my own damn house! And when I got a “Final Notice” in the mail yesterday about a ticket I’d never even received, well, I about hit the fan.
In most of the towns around me, you are required to have a special parking sticker displayed on your windshield in order to park on the street. These little suckers will set you back a whopping $80 a year. We are always very disciplined about purchasing our stickers & slapping them up on the windshield asap in order to avoid paying a ridiculously stupid fine. And you most certainly will get busted, too, if you don’t keep those puppies current. (We know this from firsthand experience.) The little ticket guys honest to goodness go out in their little jeeps on the day the stickers expire and purposely look for cars that haven’t made the switch. (As if they have nothing better to do with their time.)
Another senseless rule that is strictly enforced is the “No Parking” ordinance on leaf pick-up days in the fall. In our town, everyone rakes their leaves into a big pile on the sides of the streets, and on certain days, the city sends around trucks to collect all the piles. Sounds all good and dandy, right? It definitely is convenient, however, you have to figure out where to move your cars, because everyone has detached garages around here. Most people can only fit one car (if they’re lucky) into their garages, so everyone is usually scrambling to find a spot in the alleys. And if you forget to move your car off the street the night before a leaf pick-up day, look out! Those little ticket dudes are out in full force at the first crack of dawn to nail your ass, and there’s nothing worse than walking out of your own freaking house to find a $35 ticket sitting on your car.
The winter months bring a whole other set of circumstances that force you to fork over even more money to the village government. Since it tends to snow here pretty much non-stop for a good four or five months straight, we have to deal with the whole hassle of having to move our cars for the plows to clear the streets. The bitch of it all is that one side of the street says you can’t park there if there’s more than two inches of snow, and the other side says you can’t park there during “winter precipitation events.” What are “winter precipitation events” you ask? Hell if I know, but according to the village, it basically means any kind of weather that’s not sunny. Snow, sleet, even rain apparently constitutes “winter precipitation.” One time last winter, it started snowing in the middle of the night, and we woke up to a big, fat ticket on our car. When I called to complain, they said we were given the ticket for not moving our car for this so-called “winter precipitation event.” Believe you me, I laid into this idiotic woman on the other end of the line. I asked her if she honestly expected me to watch the weather forecast all throughout the overnight hours and then get up at the first sign of a snowflake to move my damn car. Talk about a crock of shit! After hearing an ear full from me, she finally told me she’d waive the ticket.
So, yesterday, when I saw this letter from the village saying it was my final notice to pay this mysterious ticket that I’d supposedly been given back in June, I was pissed, to say the least. It was the first I’d ever even heard about it! I called the police department to find out what the ticket was even for, and the woman told me it was for parking my car with the left side against the curb, facing the wrong direction. I suddenly had a flashback to a time during the summer when I went to pick my son up from a playdate and had quickly pulled up on the left side of the street. I stood at the front door of this house for no more than three minutes and turned around to find one of the little ticket-writing a-holes walking over to my car. I ran out to explain that I was leaving right then and there, and he agreed to not give me the ticket. So, I explained this whole ordeal to the woman on the phone, and she said that the bastard had actually written and submitted the ticket even after he told me he wouldn’t! She actually felt bad and said that he sometimes turns tickets in even if he’s agreed to dismiss them. (Uh, I think maybe you might want to replace this idiot with someone who hasn’t completely lost their mind. Just a thought, though.) Luckily, the woman had mercy on me and relinquished the ticket, but if I wouldn’t have spoken up for myself, I would’ve been forced to hand over another $35 to the city once again.
If you ask me, it’s all a frickin’ money-making scheme. I swear that some higher up political know-it-all is driving some sweet-ass car into his five-car garage in his ten bedroom mansion with all the money he’s collected from the unknowing saps that just go ahead and pay for unjustified parking tickets in our community. It makes me sick. We pay a crap ton of property taxes to live here that should seriously count for something. But, since the situation unfortunately seems that it is what it is, I’ll just continue to be the squeaky wheel and try my best to stand up for my oil when I know that I’m in the right.