Posted by: Jim | March 19, 2004

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My Parking Ticket Dollars At Work

Last Summer I got the chance to hang out with one of my old buddies (Mike) in good ol’ Huntington Beach, California.

I drove my super-cool convertible through the quaint streets, feeling like I was in a scene in a movie. Mike and I were pleased to find a parking spot, but I was somewhat chagrined to find that the parking meter did not work. Luckily, the previous occupant of the space had left a note for the parking enforcer (undoubtedly named “Lovely Rita”). I saw the note, and flippantly decided that I was safe from all alarm.

Mike and I had a grand day. I especially enjoyed the attention I got from women when Mike was within 10 feet of me. At the end of the day, we returned to my car only to find that the note had blown off the meter, and that a parking ticket had somehow blown itself under my windshield wiper. Crap!

No problem, I though. I can just send them a nice letter. Of course I procrastinated, and when I read the back of the ticket, I learned that I had a narrow window of time during which to “appeal”, but that it had passed. I appealed anyway, and I must confess that my letter had an ever-so-slightly sarcastic tone to it. I think I said “I’ll make you a deal, if you let me just pay the initial amount, and fix the parking meter, we’ll call it even.” It’s not the first letter I’ve written to a court. [cough cough].

Motion denied. Apparently, after a certain date you are guilty no matter what. I paid the original $49 for the parking infraction, plus another $100 for being LATE–even though I wasn’t fucking guilty in the first place!

Then today I went to pay my DMV renewal and there in the breakdown of costs, like a chip in my martini glass, I saw:

PARKING/TOLL VIOLATIONS
MANHATTAN BCH 0090129521323 $61

Am I going to pay this? I spent 30 minutes on hold with the DMV, who explained that I need to show a cancelled check in order to not pay. However, one check is for $49, and the other is for $100.

Here are a few ideas on how I think Manhattan Beach should spend the $149 (or maybe $209) of my money:

1. Buy 20 copies of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and distribute it among a few key people.
2. Erect a statue to Draco. Maybe one depicting the brutish ruler attending a hanging of a poor peasant who stole a loaf of bread.
3. Use the money to take a taxi to LAX. Hijack a plane to the middle east and join the Taliban.
4. Take the mayor of Manhattan Beach (and whoever he is schtupping) out to lunch–tell him it’s on me!

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