Yeah, that's the ticket.

Let's talk about parking tickets, shall we?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big Mistake

The other day I heard that the small Texas town of Round Rock, which is outside of Austin, is going to start enabling volunteers (!) to give out overtime parking tickets in their downtown. Wow. I think this is a baaaaaad idea. It's tough enough on those of us who do this job in uniform in connection with some city police department, with police radios and pepper spray, etc. I can't imagine this is going to go well. The store owners are upset because they can't help but notice the cars that sit out in front of their businesses in the two-hour zone all day long. In our little town it's slightly different. Here it's mostly the business owners that sit all day in the two-hour zones in front of their businesses. They just hate it when we come by. As I write the ticket I love telling them, "You may own this business, but I own the street."

Anyway, what's going to happen in Texas? Here's a sample of the dialogue I think might occur:

Billy Bob: Earl, just what in the world do you think you're doing?

Earl: Well Billy Bob, you've been sittin' in this here two-hour parkin' zone for three and a half hours. I'm writin' you a parkin' ticket.

BB: Like hell you are.

E: Nah, it's true. And you gotta pay it too.

BB: Like hell I will. Earl, I fixed your lawnmower. How can you do this?

E: Watch me. And by the way, I think you overcharged me for fixin' that darned thing.

BB: My wife and yours play bridge together!

E: Well, your wife better start winnin' then, so she can pay this here ticket for ya.

BB: Earl, don't make me have to kick your ass.

E: Like hell you will!

It, of course, gets worse from there. One lady in the news story I heard about this said if she got one of these tickets she'd just rip it up and throw it away. I wonder what one of these volunteers will do when that happens. Fine her for littering too? This simply cannot end well and I urge the Round Rock City Council and the Mayor to stop and reconsider this foolish course of action. Of course, it could make for another great installment of the "Tuna" play series.

Ten-Seven, y'all.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Seven Parking Dwarfs

Good Evening Citizens. I've noticed a lot of weird behavior on this job, and it occurred to me that some of it reminded me of the famous seven little guys who gave Snow White such a hand. Here then is my list:

Dopey - This describes so much of what I see. Bad driving and bad parking are only a part of it. Many times I've stopped to cite a car because the registration tags (or tabs, as they are sometimes called) are out of date. And many is the time that the dope comes out of their house or business to show me, "Oh, I have them right here in my glove box." I tell them, "Um, they took away our x-ray vision and we can't see into your glove box. They need to be on the plate." Why do we still call them glove boxes, by the way? Anyone still storing gloves in there? Anyway, I've had women tell me that "their mechanic puts them on for them" (Really? But it's so easy) or that they were waiting until they washed the car (why not wash that little spot and put them on?) You have to understand, some of these tags stay off the plate for months! As I said, Dopey.

Grumpy - This is pretty much most people to whom I give a ticket. It's understandable. But sometimes I get a person who simply takes the ticket, admits they made a mistake and even smiles and says thanks. These I would say are Happy.

Sleepy - Once in a while you actually get someone sleeping in their vehicle (didn't they hear the sweeper truck go around them? They're loud, you know). I like to see if I can sneak up, get the last 4 of the VIN, and place the ticket under their wiper without disturbing them. What fun! I love the ones who wake up (usually Grumpy) and say, "Why didn't you wake me up?" What am I, your wife? Your alarm clock? Usually I just say, that's not part of my job description and leave. I've also had times where I did not notice the person laying all the way back in the seat nodding. When they pop up it has scared me silly. I can't take too much of that. I am getting older. You'll notice I didn't say anything about those who have no choice but to sleep in their cars (lost their house, fought with their wife - usually it's a guy) because I feel bad for those people. Those who are homeless deserve a break. Heaven knows they haven't had a break for about 8 years so I figure they're due.

Screamy and Yelley - More like Siamese twins I suppose than dwarfs. You know the type so I won't even describe them. But I have had these folks say things like, "A monkey could do your job!" that could read and write and drive. Or "You hate people!" No sir, only you right now. Or, "Why don't you get a real job?" I say, "Why, do you have one for me?" Mostly I say, "This is a real job. I get paid and have benefits and everything." They hate to hear that.

And finally the last dwarf - Clueless. These types say things like, "What sign?" Or, "Oh, I didn't even read it." Or, "I only read the one sign and not the other one." I love the ones who park in an 8 to 10 sweeper zone, come out of their house at 9 after the sweeper has gone around and ask me, "Can I move it now?" I actually said once, "Please, wait until I put my head under the tire. Then you can move it!"
I probably shouldn't have said that.


By the way, I always thought the plural of dwarf was dwarves. Dictionary dot com says either is acceptable. Okay then.