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02/12/2002 - I LOVE PARKING TICKETS, PART TWO
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I LOVE PARKING TICKETS, PART TWO

Dear Friends,

So, a couple of weeks ago, I started talking about how I fought four bad parking tickets (which I had, amazingly, received in a 48 hour period), and how even the minutiae of life can turn into a story. I won't torture you with a drawn-out ending.

After I had already won the fight for one of the tickets, I learned that the next step in the appeals process was to file for a meeting with what they called a "Judge Administrator" or some other such crap. But these people are about as related to actual judges as parking ticket writers are to real cops. They're more like evil accountants than anything else. My review was granted for something like two months down the road. When the time came for it, I paid for parking in the building, since of course the parking enforcement department couldn't possibly have free parking available within six blocks of the office. I went inside, came across another nest of parking enforcement dunderheads - this bunch so numbed by the idiocy of their occupation that they actually thought they were doing something worthy with their lives. After sticking around for about an hour, I was finally called into the back office by the "Judge," a short and serious-looking man who had the singularly diagnosable mental condition of being an asshole. Oh, and he had a Napoleon complex. So let's call him "Napoleon" for now.

Still, I figured that I was right, so that meant that I would be heard and everything would be cleared up. We went into an office, where I was made to take some kind of oath swearing to something that I wouldn't perjure myself. I explained my case. On several occasions, the sniveling little bureaucrat would intercede with this big "Ah ha!" moment, thinking he had found a hole in my logic or my evidence. For instance, I was supposed to have the receipt for the parking permit that I paid for - the same permit that should actually be in their system. I don't know why I actually kept it - and brought it - to this meeting, as no one actually told me I should, but I had it. And it shut up Napoleon until he had his next "Ah ha!" moment, which I defeated with some other piece of evidence.

Anyway, he said something along the lines of: "Well, you certainly have supported your case well with the evidence." I thought so, too. I shook his hand and left, feeling less bad about the parking system. Maybe it does work, I said to myself. Maybe all it took was getting to someone high enough in the organization where they'd actually have to have a little bit of a brain. I adjusted my Napoleon appraisal and went on with life, thinking I had cleared four unjust parking tickets off my books.

Of course, several weeks later, I received a letter in the mail saying that only ONE of the tickets was being cleared. The other two were upheld. Damn Napoleon wouldn't even say it to my face. He knew they were all full of crap. But he probably had some kind of record to uphold.

Of course, I had another option for an appeal. I could go to a downtown courthouse (where it likely costs about $15 to park) and file to see a real judge in person. That was just to FILE! Then there would be dates set, correspondence exchanged, etc. Of course, given that my remaining fines were around $50, and my hourly rate turns out to be much higher than that, I did something that I didn't think I could do - I gave up. After being so angry with the unjust tickets, I found that I simply didn't have the wherewithal to continue the fight. I had better things to do. Even the thought of being able to write a nice magazine article about my experiences (sort of like this column today, only without profanity, and with research to back up my wild theories) was not enough to keep me fighting.

Although I didn't win that fight, it did drive me to write a funny short film based on a few minutes in the life of a parking ticket writer. Sure, I haven't filmed it yet - but someday, revenge will be mine!

Parking carefully,

Grady
P.S. The epilogue to this story is that I just received ANOTHER unjust parking ticket. I'm not kidding. I can tell this one's going to be a harder fight than the last ones. I've already lost the first round, but this time, I won't back down until I see a judge! (Hey, it's easier than writing all day.)

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