Nov 15, 2010

Street Fleecing

Well, we've had our street-sweeping signs up for the past four days. Today was the magical morning. It's chaos, with the shuffling and re-parking cars, and circling the neighborhood, just to discover all the streets around are 'no parking' as well. After all the ticketing and trucks and nonsense, here are the results...



What? You're not impressed? You will be.

I counted $300 in tickets, just within view of my front porch. This includes my own $50 ticket. Here's the thing about my ticket: I'm on top of this shit. We joke that I'm the neighborhood watch. I'm here all day and night, working next to this window. When the signs went up last week, I went out to the street with a shovel and broom, cleaned the gutters, scraped the curbstones of the artificial peatmoss that forms over the summer. I have a 30 year old motorbike out there and I don't like the idea of it sitting on top of a leafy, trashy swamp. And to illustrate how much silt piles up out there, while shoveling last friday I discovered among the other trash, a full sized wooden chair-leg buried under where I park.

I digress. The point is, I'm on top of this. I was up this morning before 8, expecting to hear the rumbling and beeping of Pat's Towing trucks, letting us know that our big angry squaredance was starting. This is the process we're accustomed to, after 4 years of living here: Beep beep, move your car. Some people don't. Beep beep, move your car. Some people still don't. They get a $50 ticket. It's usually college kids, UMass students in scrubs wandering out at noon to find a $50 fine on the windshield. The process is designed to get cars off the street, work with the neighborhood, so that the street can get swept. It's loud and crude, but it makes sense, it works, and if you're paying any kind of attention, you can avoid the ticket.

Today, nothing but the thrum of the sweeper. At that sound, I went out and moved Nicole's car across the street, and waited in it until she was ready to go. Then I went inside and watched my own car from the window. I hit the bathroom. Back to the window. I checked my email. I kept my eye on that goddamn car. Then the little white DPW pickups show up and the ticket-man starts walking around. I go out and start up the Civic, and on the far side of the windshield, there's the ticket. I didn't leave the window long enough for him to fill it out. And even if I did, how did he hit that magical perfect timing? Or did he just wander through at 7am, silently passing out $50 fines*? I drove my car up onto the sidewalk, slammed the door impotently and went inside. Out the window, a girl was getting out of a little blue car that had just eased into my former spot. I got a little pissed, thinking my ticket was for nothing if that spot wasn't even going to get swept. O ye of little faith, I thought as the little white truck arrived a minute later. Damn, he's smooth.

Sweep time is posted 7am 5pm. The 5pm makes sense, since people will likely be at work, and the streets are likely to be clear of cars. What the fuck is the 7am for? That's when people are getting ready for work, so instead of showering and shaving, they're in the street in bathrobes, negotiating sweepers, dumptrucks, each other, and since we live on a main street, let's not forget about the usual traffic speeding through, treating the trucks and sweepers like traffic cones on a racetrack. Or maybe they are showering and shaving, blissfully unaware of the non-rippable little surprise on their windshield.

So, the facts of the case. The city decided not to pay for Pat's Towing. And they sent a ninja ticketer through. I'd say today's street sweeping was a success. Buy some fucking teachers with that money, you assholes.


* EDIT: I just thought to check the time on the ticket: 8:10 am. Must've been magic.

1 comment:

Kate said...

dude. at least you can park on the street otherwise.