I once, years ago, had a car with a busted upper radiator hose. I needed to replace it. But I couldn't drive the car (obviously) to the nearest Advance Auto to get a replacement. But I could have driven my other car. The one that was in the driveway in front of the broken-down one. The one that was blocked.
As luck would have it, my driveway had a gentle slope that allowed me to put the disabled vehicle in neutral, let it coast, and guide it onto the suburban street I lived on, making a sharp turn once on the main drag, and parking it at the curb. As circumstances dictated, the street had a serious downward slope too that required that I turn right out of the driveway and park it backwards, facing oncoming traffic.
In a legitimate parking spot, only backwards.
Doing so allowed me to fire up my other car and make a run to the parts store.
Got an idea where this story is going?
When I returned - 15 minutes later - there was a ticket on my windshield - supplied by the traffic nazis - for - get this - parking backwards on the street.
Did you know there was an ordinance prohibiting the parking of vehicles backwards? Neither did I. (Neither did the judge when I went before him; he seemed annoyed by the pettiness of it.)
In any case, I found myself being accused of wrongdoing by The Man.
Do you think the city I lived in did the right thing? After all, it confiscated sixty bucks from me. And I never parked backwards again.
But I thought a whole lot less of government after that too.
You decide if it was worth it.
I bring this up for a reason. There are so many similar stories to be told. Including:
Letter of the law deserves an "F"Suppose Joyce is going to fight this? My guess is no. She'll pay the city the bullshit fine and get on with her life.
By Dan Casey, Roanoke Times
Life is full of major and minor outrages, and last week, I heard about one of the latter.
It involves Joyce Crouch, 65, of Salem and a $25 parking ticket she got in Roanoke on Wednesday.
She's retired, and disabled as a result of a knee replacement that didn't work. She also has a hernia condition that prevents her from stretching out her arm. Joyce can't even use the drive-through teller at a bank. Her husband Carson is disabled, too.
As a result of her conditions, Joyce has a handicapped placard that allows her to park in disabled parking spaces.
Wednesday she had an appointment at a Carilion Clinic rehabilitation center. She parked her Ford Expedition SUV in a handicapped space at McClanahan and First streets in south Roanoke.
Because the hernia makes it difficult for her to reach up to the rearview mirror, she didn't hang her placard there. Instead, she stood it up neatly in a slot on her dashboard, so it would be obvious. She said she's been doing this for at least three years without any problem. (It's illegal to drive around with a placard hanging from the mirror.)
Joyce's appointment lasted for an hour, and when she returned she found a parking ticket on the SUV.
Her offense? She didn't hang her placard from the rearview mirror. The listed violation was: "Improper display of placard." A little farther down on the ticket was this comment: "Placard on dash beside rehab center."
This means the ticket-issuer actually saw Joyce's placard and busted her anyway. [link]
But she'll never forget the way she was treated by her government either.
I struggle to not make too much of this. Chances are slim that the shabby treatment will make her a Tea Party reactionary. But it will give new perspective to that whole "of the people, by the people, for the people" silliness. It's us against them in that small way, and in too many major ways to count.
The city of Roanoke will get its revenue. And Joyce will hang that tag in the proper way from now on. A win-win.
But deep in her heart she feels the sting - the helplessness - of being just another prole expected to walk the daily line.
I parked backwards. Joyce didn't hang her disabled tag in the proper manner. May God help us so that we don't defy the government ever again.
But here's the deal:
When the revolution comes - and it's coming - don't come looking to us for support. Change is now a welcome concept.