… lovely Rita … meter maid … where would I be without you? …
Have you ever got a parking ticket? Have you ever begged a parking inspector to not ticket your car, only to have them give it to you anyway?
I’ve been the lucky winner of three parking tickets in my life. I don’t remember why I got the first one, but it was back in Melbourne — think it might have been an expired meter. I got the second one for parking on a street that turns to permit-only after 7pm — there are far too many permit-only streets in L.A. The third one was a beauty. I parked in a spot with a meter four minutes before the meters turned off for the evening. I didn’t have any change in my pocket and thought to myself, “Four minutes? No-one will give me a ticket for that.” Sure enough, the ticket was time-stamped 5:59pm, one measly minute before 6!! The judge agreed it was silly and I didn’t have to pay that one. But, I can still hear the evil laughter spewing from the parking inspector as he slid the ticket under my wiper, thinking what a funny guy he was and how much he loved his job.
Today, I got a little sweet revenge.
A couple of months ago, I was driving on a street in my neighborhood when I saw one of those cars with “parking enforcement” emblazoned on it. It was parked on the side of the road, under a tree, nicely shaded. As I got closer, I realized there was someone in the driver’s seat, laid back, taking a nap. It was 9:30am, so I don’t think he was on his lunch break. I decided that even though it was my tax dollars he was snoring away, I would show a little mercy, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him sleep off whatever he’d gotten up to the night before. I figured that showing him the courtesy that he has probably denied so many others was a friendly gesture.
When I drove past the same spot late this afternoon and the same guy was in the same spot catching another forty winks, I decided it was time for a little action. The nice lady at the City Department of Transportation happily took down the license plate and said she would investigate. She even understood why I might not want to give her my name — apparently, there is no “blue wall” as far as parking inspectors go.
It might have been petty, and I might have felt like a snitch for a moment or two, but that passed quick. I figure that karma balanced itself out just that little bit more, and I’m glad I could help.