Chicago Parking Bitch
A few week ago, I was running an errand downtown, when I arrived at the store, “no parking signs” announced it was street cleaning day. Fortunately, I had planned ahead for parking problems and bribed my teen driver (Cole) into coming along for the ride with the promise of a lox and bagel stop on the way home. I pulled in front of the location, and left the car idling as Cole moved from the passengers seat of the car to the drivers side of the car. Looking for a shortcut to walking ALL the way around the car he maneuvered himself into the drivers seat from inside the car. However, before he could click his seat belt and take off for a trip around the block while I ran my errand, a city parking enforcer, a title I have since changed to city parking droid, slapped a ticket for a street cleaning violation on the passenger side window of my van. WHOA. I politely tried to explain to the droid that we were not parked. She walked past me without acknowledgement.
I filed a report with the city, a promise was made to investigate and call me back. The only follow up was a confirmation of the ticket in the mail. I challenged the ticket in court, and it was dismissed. if you consider three hours of wasted time, and $12.00 in parking fees a win, I suppose I won.
Usually our cars are parked in the garage and the carport but for easy of access, this week Cole’s VW bug is parked in front of our house.
It looks so cute.
Cole paid the city of Chicago $390.00 so his Bug could become a legal Chicago citizen and have the privilege of parking on a Chicago city street. That is almost 32% of what the Bug cost to buy. The bugs welcome to Chicago package included a change of title, a city sticker, and new license plates and tags. Two of which will be renewed yearly.
On Tuesday Vickie our friend and camp helper showed up at about 8:45 am and told me it was street cleaning day which meant I had 15 minutes to move the Bug before it was slapped with a $100,00 ticket. The street cleaning signs had not been there the night before, so I can only assume they were hung in the early morning. I was thrilled to be able to find the spare Bug key but fell into despair when I realized the key would not open the Bugs locked doors. Refusing to be a quitter I ran for a coat hanger and with some help from VIckie jiggled the lock up. Momentary success, the key would not turn the ignition.
The only recourse left was to plead my case with the parking droid. I didn’t have to wait long. At two minutes after nine, she marched down the street towards the Bug, head down, stylus at the ready, and ignoring me completely as she started to write the ticket. My 80-something-year-old neighbor must have been watching the drama unfold from his yard and decided to intervene when he heard my shrill voice steadily escalate along with my hand motions. He crossed the street, approached the parking droid, invaded her personal space, smiled, and said, “Sweetheart, I know you are just doing your job, but this is all my fault. I promised to help push my dear neighbor’s car to the other side of the street but was having a hard time tying my shoes. Can you give us a minute?” I knew right away that his technique was brilliant. The parking ticket droid looked up, muttered “OK,” and walked away. We pretended to push the Bug, which had a locked steering wheel, until she was out of sight. No ticket.
I thanked my neighbor profusely and admired his finesse, admitting that I had broken the cardinal rule of negotiations—I had lost my temper. My neighbor smiled at me and said, “Being old is so great; it gets you out of all kinds of things.” And then he smiled even wider and said, “What a bitch!” I gave him a hug.
Odd Loves Company!