I've had some bad luck with parking lately in my new East Hollywood neighborhood. We have street cleaning twice a week at 8 a.m. on a street that is already hard to fit into. A week or so after I moved in, I was unfortunate enough to not get a spot on the right side, so I got up at 7:30 on a Friday to move it... four blocks away.
The street I parked on also had street cleaning that day starting at noon, meaning I would have to move the Jeep again between 10 a.m. and noon. But I forgot because I got all carried away with programming an Internet radio playlist. I kept saying, “don't forget to move the car” over and over. Next thing I knew it was 1:30. Crap! Know what these rat bastards charge for a ticket like that? The hefty sum of $58.
Fine. Lesson learned. I hadn't had a parking ticket since 2004, so my average is still pretty good.
Until this week.
Sunday night, I came home from a friend's and didn't even bother futilely looking for a space on my street. Instead, I found one about three blocks away. Monday night, I struck out to meet another friend for dinner except the Jeep was not where I left it. Panic. I walked further down the block retracing my memory since I have to park somewhere different every time. No. I knew exactly where it was supposed to be. My mind raced first to it being stolen and the implications therein. Total bummer, but at least my iPod wasn't inside.
Then I realized that I may very well have accidentally, stupidly, ridiculously blocked a driveway in my zeal of finding a reasonably well-placed spot. Double crap! I knocked on a few doors and found a guy who thought there had been a car towed that morning. A little Internet search revealed he was correct. Know what these rat bastards charge for a tow like that? The incredibly hefty sum of $280, plus a $53 ticket.
I was pissed at myself for not paying attention. I was pissed at the City of Los Angeles for being greedy rat bastards. I mean, seriously, why are they charging so much? Two friend of mine recently got parking tickets, too, for $48 and $58. It just seems so outrageous. Didn't tickets used to be $10 or something? Has inflation grown the market that quickly? It's not like an expired meter is a safety hazard.
I understand a sizable fee for something like blocking a fire hydrant – something that people do on my street every night of the week without repercussion. And I know blocking a driveway is not a good thing to do, terrifically inconvenient, in fact. I apologized to every one who would open their door and then to no one in particular and psychically to the guy who had to deal with it because I never found him.
The way I figure it, the universe needed him to be delayed that morning and I needed to not go to that dinner... for whatever reason. Perhaps one or both of us were spared from an accident. Or perhaps one or both of us crossed paths with someone we never would've met because of the inconvenience. The guys at the impound garage were all really nice, I suppose.
But I digress. My point – if there is one other than a nice venting – is that the city is making bank on this stuff. So, the next time I hear about any budgetary problems or underfunding issues, I might just send in my canceled checks asking where that money went.