on our recent visit to michigan, we had the following scenario. see if you can spot the ticket-able offense. if you can, you may qualify for a job in the state of michigan:

we went to dunkin donuts. we ordered lots of yummy stuff. we got in the rental car and drove to the house where we were staying. we parked in front of the house. we unloaded our suitcases and our donuts. we brought out stuff into the house. we locked the car. we ate and went to bed.

do you need to read the paragraph a second time?

apparently in certain places in certain neighborhoods on certain sides of the street, WHICH ARE NOT MARKED IN ANY WAY, you cannot park on the street overnight. well blow me down.

because if there are no signs and nothing posted, it’s like, who knew?

so we accidentally parked in the black hole of no parking- but it’s only no parking between like 3 am and 6 am or 4:18 am and 6 am or something- so when normal regular people (like us), who don’t keep party live hours park their cars, there are plenty of people parked on the street.

and then after all the old tourist folks (us) are tucked safely in their beds, all these people who are in the loop of secret knowledge tiptoe out and move their cars and teeheehee giggle their stealthy selves back into their snug little house, safe in the appropriate parking places (i.e. driveways only- who knew?)…

but then the ticketing force comes out in their silent patrols looking for people who can’t see markings on pavement that don’t exist and don’t read runes that aren’t there and haven’t yet learned to feel vibrations on a breeze that would warn then of impending parking doom.

and they ticketed our rental car.

so, we did what all rational people would do and we wrote a letter to the city, calmly explaining that we don’t live in that city and had no way of know that we couldn’t park there overnight since there were no signs anywhere. like, anywhere. at all.

it wasn’t a big flowery letter, because they are busy and because the idea was pretty straightforward. maybe their sign fell down, or the paint on the road wore off, so we were letting them know that, as of now, there is no indication that you can’t park there so they really should dismiss this ticket. fair all around, right?

well, lucky guys that we are, we fairly promptly received a default judgement against us (?), but with the kind stipulation that if we paid the ticket before a certain date, they would allow us to only pay half the penalty.

so- just so we are all on the same page here- we parked in a perfectly legit spot, got a totally unfair ticket, and they are making us an offer that we can still pay half of an undeserved ticket. humph.

ok. letter #2. still trying to be nice and patient, when all i want to do is scream: “DIDN’T YOU READ THE FIRST LETTER? WHAT DIDN’T YOU UNDERSTAND?”

i’ll tell you what they understand. they understand that we are out of state, and the odds are slim that we will come into town to fight over a stupid parking ticket.

they understand that people are busy and that a certain percentage of them will just pay these tickets just to not be bothered by having to play kissyface with a court that seems to spit out form letters but not read what you send them.

they understand that i can’t walk over to that spot and take photos (ah, but i have friends who can!) and barrage them with “evidence” (how ridiculous over a parking ticket! especially one where they know good and well they have no signs posted!)…

so, we are awaiting a response on letter #2. we are hoping this is not one of those times where they choose to just escalate consequences on us because we are out of town and they hope we will cave.

i used to feel energized by things like this, but right now i’m tired.

this isn’t even fighting the good fight; this is just dumb.

if they want a 2 hour window where people don’t park on one side of the street (for what possible reason? who even can fathom???) in one part of one neighborhood, then by all means, post a sign.

that’s it. no harm, no foul.

i’m sure that reasonable people seek to comply with reasonable requests.

but this is just crazy.

what’s been going on in your lives?