Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Today started off looking good: the world didn't end in a storm of hellfire, Ann Coulter made an ass of herself on the Today show (even FOX News is trying to distance itself from her) and lost her column in USA Today, and it's finally finally finally pouring. The last makes me particularly happy, even though I have almost as little tolerance for the rain as I have for Ann Coulter, because I was waiting for the train this morning, when that jerk Traffic Safety Cop pulled into the parking lot, ready to ticket anyone who can't figure out our train station's needlessly convoluted parking payment plan.

Let me say that I have nothing but a mixture of respect and contempt for the police — especially here in the suburbs because we don't have any drug kingpins or mob hitmen for them to chase down, so they're pretty much stuck harassing people going twenty-eight in a twenty-five zone and not catching the petty vandals who go around tagging our street signs — but this one cop in particular, driving around town in his cheesy Traffic Safety SUV, makes me crazy. First of all, the simple process of parking legally is so tortuous it's like New Jersey Transit and our municipal council is doing their best to encourage workplace violence. It's three dollars to park for the day, but you can't just put three dollars into the meter, because that would be easy. You have to put three dollars into the token machine, which may or may not be accepting money on any particular day, wait fifteen minutes for the machine to cough up a token, and then put the token in the meter, punch in your space number, press the green button, and take your receipt and put it on your dashboard. By this time, you've missed the whole day at work, and you've just wasted three dollars.

So Big Fat Traffic Safety Cop there is just the bureaucracy's human arm that perpetuates this ridiculous parking system, and there's a little bit of disdain because of that. Also, in the past year, he's given me three tickets, all of which were bogus. First ticket was for parking in a monthly space without a monthly permit, except that I parked there after ten AM, and the space was about two feet away from the Parking Rules sign that said you can park in a monthly space after ten AM. I had to go to the police station and explain the rules to the guy — which you'd think knowing the parking rules ought to be a requirement for the job of Parking Cop — but he was totally cool and professional and tore the ticket up right there, so no hard feelings. Then my second ticket was for THE EXACT SAME THING!!!!

That's sort of the point when I get a little paranoid, like maybe he's just ticketing legal parkers and figuring some of them won't bother to fight it. Maybe he gets a little kickback or something. I don't know, but I can certainly make baseless accusations.

And the third ticket he was literally writing while I was putting my money into our insane Rube Goldberg parking validation system. Three strikes, dude: you're clearly not very good at writing parking tickets, so maybe you could ask for another post, like Cop Who Keeps Kids From Reading the Nudie Magazines at the Corner Store. But today, since it was raining, I was totally giddy watching this guy have to get out of his truck and stand there in the downpour, struggling with his poncho and having the heavens open up upon him as he checked the meters and wrote out the tickets. Dude, if I were rich, every rainy day, I'd deliberately park in the handicapped space or in the middle of the road or on top of another car, maybe putting a few dents into a streetlamp, just to make that guy get out and write me a ticket. I'd be nice and dry inside the station, watching him stand ankle-deep in a puddle, and I'd just laugh and laugh and laugh.