Thursday, August 22, 2013

Not My Fault

So this happened yesterday:

Three cities; three parking tickets; 80 dollars.  And not one of them was my fault.  Here's how it happened:
Ticket #1: Newton Center, Newton 

8:34 am:  I park at a meter in Newton Center, and observe that the meter starts at 8am.  I check my car for quarters but since I just recently found myself in a grocery store with a mad craving for some RUNTS from one of those candy machines, I was fresh out of change.
8:35 am:  I walk into a Panera Bread located directly in front of my car, and they are kind enough to break two dollars in quarters for me.
8:36.30 am: I walk out of Panera, thanking the barista and promising to "come right back in to buy a coffee just as soon as I pay my meter!" and observe a parking ticket tucked into the driver's side wiper of my car, fluttering in the breeze.
8:36.32 am: I search the street for a uniformed city employee, and see a small woman who appears to be of Italian descent, making her way down Center Street like a sniper with her little meter gun, targeting every car that looks like it has been collecting dust for more than the allotted 1 hour.
Photo by mhaithaca
8:37 am: I approach the meter-sniper, and explain to her politely I had just parked and had just run into Panera to get quarters and was just about to put them in.  She smiles at me and says that there is "really nothing she can do once the ticket is printed" and that she is "so sorry" but I can tell she doesn't mean it.  I smile back at her and say "okay thanks" but I don't mean it.
8:37.45 am:  I walk into Panera and buy a coffee because I am a woman of my word.

Not my fault.

Ticket #2: Porter Square, Cambridge

11:52 am: I park at a metered space in Porter Square, and am delighted to find that someone left with 14 minutes left on the clock.  Having already changed 2 dollars into quarters and only used 1 dollar, I insert 3 more quarters into the meter bringing my total meter time to 58 minutes, and slip that last quarter back into my pocket because chances are, I'll need it for the next time that I park at a meter and need a couple of minutes to change a dollar bill.
11:53 am:  I walk toward a running shoe that I frequent as one of their brand reps, to catch up with the manager and say hello to the staff.  I won't be more than 45 minutes, tops.
11:53.12 am: I enter the store and, finding them slammed with a lunchtime rush, decide to pitch in and help out.  I used to work there, after all.
12:50 pm: I finish fitting a woman for a new pair of running shoes, which were "much needed" and will surely motivate her to "get out on that run!" and applaud myself for making someone else's day.
12:52.48 pm: I say goodbye to the staff, exit the store, and walk across the street to see a uniformed man on a bicycle securing a ticket to my windshield with a dramatic snap of the wiper, and then pedaling off before I can politely make a case for my having been 48 seconds shy of moving my vehicle.


Ticket #3: South End, Boston

7:48 pm: I arrive in the South End, only to discover that everyone else in the city has also decided to meet their friends out for dinner tonight.
Photo by mechanikat
8:07 pm: After driving around for 15 minutes searching for a spot, taking careful notice of "No Parking" signs and fire hydrants, I find a spot just two blocks away from the restaurant, directly under a "2 Hour Parking - 8am to 6pm."  Since it is after 6pm, I don't have to worry about the two hour thing, although chances are I won't be at dinner longer than two hours anyway because it is already after 8 and I have an early workout in the morning.
8:11 pm: I arrive at The Beehive four minutes ahead of my reservation, pleased with myself that I had had the forethought call earlier in the day because it is Restaurant Week in Boston and the wait can be horrendous, especially at a trendy little jazz place such as this.
8:27 pm: My friends and I are seated a little late, and although we have a waiter-in-training and service is slow, we don't mind because the food is delicious and the atmosphere is hip.
11:36 pm: We realize that we have lost track of the time, but "what do you expect with good food, great friends, and a jazzy ambiance?" and walk out of the restaurant into a delightfully warm summer night.
11:39 pm:  I arrive at my car, only to find yet another ticket on my front windshield, and, thinking there must be some kind of mistake, scan the streets for a meter maid or meter man whom I can politely ask to revoke this ticket.  But since it is 11:39 at night, and meter people crouch behind trees and under cars at night, there is not one evil soul to be found.  As I pace up and down the street trying to figure out how this possibly could have happened, a small patch of white poking out of a tree catches my eye.  It is a sign, faded and barely visible through the branches, stating smugly: "Resident Permit Parking Only after 6pm." 


Fine, Parking Meter Sniper People, you win this time.  But if you want quarters, I'll give you quarters!

Eighty dollar's worth.



  2. Didn't our family get 2 or 3 tickets on Hortonia in one day? This seems like a bit of a Heitkamp trend.