I got another ticket. Sheesh. This time a new fangled parking meter in front of a sushi joint in Chicago took advantage of me. I actually had a free space on a side street and left it for a spot right in front of the restaurant where I was going. Never again.
In Chicago a new fangled parking meter means that there's one meter for two parking spaces. You have to push a button to indicate which side of the meter you're parked on. I was on the right side. So I pushed the putton that said "RIGHT" and started putting in quarters. Usually when you do that there is some indication of how much time you've bought. But I got nothing. So I pushed "RIGHT" again. And put in another quarter. This time I got a flashing "46." Hmmm. Another quarter and another push on the "RIGHT" button again -- from the when in doubt keep pushing buttons school of thought. Soon the meter was switching back from "16" to "46" -- back and forth back and forth. Luckily I had someone with me who said, "I think this meter is broken. If you get a ticket, I'll be your witness."
As we all know, I got the ticket. So did the person behind me who probably had the same experience I did, since we shared the same (#@*$&#@(*$& meter.
Determined to fight for my rights, I followed the directions on the ticket for protesting by mail. This process is a test of reading small type. But I not only wrote up my protest, I printed it out with the name, address and phone number of my witness and sent it in today. The whole thing took about an hour of my ever so precious time along with the price of a stamp. Plus the 75 cents I lost in the meter. Anything to keep from paying $30.00. In a couple of weeks I'm sure to get another notice -- this time for $60.00.
That ticket reminded me of another parking ticket I got in Chicago. I had to run into an ad agency to drop something off, so I parked illegally, left my lights flashing and ran in. When I came out a cop was writing me a ticket. Rats. I told him I'd only been gone five minutes, blah blah blah. I had heard that once they start writing a ticket, you're SOL, but I gave it a try. And it worked!! He stopped writing, put his pad away and got back into his truck with his partner. I remember him only because he wasn't a regular cop -- he was a horse cop. He was towing two horses in a trailer. His partner was driving. I should have checked out his badge, the license on the truck, anything. But I didn't think I had to.
So I never got an actual ticket. But I did get a second notice from the City of Chicago saying that now I owed twice as much because I didn't pay the first time. But, wait, the cop never gave me a ticket. Well, yes and no. He didn't hand it to me. But he did turn it in. I bet he thought I got so many tickets I wouldn't notice another one. I don't get a lot of tickets, so I noticed. And there was nothing I could do about it.
Another time I had a permit in my window which allows you to park after six on the crowded neighborhood streets especially around Wrigley Field. The problem was the permit I had wasn't signed by the people I was visiting. They forgot when they gave it to me, and I didn't check before I stuck it up. Fifty bucks. If I protested that ticket I would have had to send in the unsigned permit to prove that I had posted a permit, but it just wasn't signed. But I could have sent in any unsigned permit.
I soon realized that it would be me saying "See -- I did so have a permit. It just wasn't signed." And someone at City Hall would just say, "But how do we know that THIS is the permit that wasn't signed, not just another unsigned permit you got to try to beat this ticket?"
Why do I live here?