There are a lot of pants on fire in my town. That's because when we are approached by a citizen that we are in the process of citing, they usually lie to us. I don't like to be lied to, do you? It's degrading to both of us, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, I understand why the person feels compelled to twist the truth - to prevent a loss of money - but it still stinks. Some examples of the kinds of lies we hear on a regular basis are things like, "I have only been here for five minutes." Nah, they've been there for over two hours and the chalk doesn't lie. Or, "I moved it." This one gets a bit tricky because if the chalk mark is now on top of the tire, yes, they moved it - a few inches. So technically it's really more of a half-truth, but they're still going to be cited for it. Or how about, "This isn't Tuesday, it's Wednesday." I had a guy argue with me for ten minutes trying to psych me out into thinking it was the wrong day and he didn't deserve the street sweeping ticket. Of course, the day of the week is printed right on the ticket, but I have to give him a point or two for trying, fruitless as it was.
Lies can also take other forms too. Take for example, the note. People will leave notes on their cars when they park them in the sweeper zone and can't be bothered to get up early and move the damn thing, or they've gone out of town to visit Grandma and they can't be bothered to move the damn thing, or they are simply so dumb they think it's Wednesday and they don't think they have to MOVE THE DAMN THING! These notes can range from such excuses (or lies) as "My battery is dead" (More like your brain is dead.) Or, "Can't find the keys." (Did you look up your butt?) Or simply, "Won't start." (Then, push it.) By the way, we have to honor these pathetic notes because, well, batteries do die when a person leaves their lights on overnight, say, or the car has no battery in the first place. However, if we see the same car with the same note on the following week, it gets a ticket. We now know you are out of town visiting Grandma. But we do hope her lumbago is feeling better.
The worst case happened a few years ago. A young woman was in the red zone near the post office. She was in the post office and her large doggie was walking around on the back seat. I pull up, she comes out and she turns red in the face (redder than the red zone, in fact), makes tiny fists with her little hands, storms over to me like a drunken sailor on shore leave and says, "Are you going to give me a ticket?" "Yes, ma'am. You can't stop in the red." "But my dog is dying and I'm taking him to the vet." "So, you stopped at the post office to....what? Mail his will to his lawyer?" The dog did not look sick at all. As I said, it was walking around on the back seat acting dog-like. By this time, steam was coming out of the petite woman's ears. I started getting angry, which is never a good thing for us to do. The more Vulcan-like we can be about our jobs the better. But the way she approached me, frankly, I thought she was going to hit me so the fight or flight response welled up in me and since we can't flee, we go into fight mode. What happened was, I actually let her go - a decision I regret bitterly to this day. And guess what? She didn't go to any vet's office. She drove away fast and turned up into one of the residential streets. I was so pissed off, that what I said when I got back into my vehicle cannot be shared here.
We know our job is not welcomed by a large majority of the driving public. Just don't look at me and lie. We are human and we don't like it. And we always know.