Monday, November 06, 2006

Tickets, please

Finally, I can let something else go that I’ve always meant to look up.
Blogs are great that way.
I was once at a hairdresser in San Francisco and a lady came in to make an appointment.
He told her she was going to get a ticket because she parked in the crosswalk. She said, at least it was better than parking at a hydrant.
(Or some such thing. My memory is rather hazy on the matter. )
The point is that I was amazed that some people are so experienced in getting tickets that they know what kind of ticket is a bargain compared to another.
A couple weekends ago a friend was over and something she said reminded me of this incident. She had said that she parked where she did because her boyfriend (the cop) could get her out of a $50 ticket, but not a $100 one. (Again, the details are fuzzy but the gist is accurate.)
I finally looked up the prices of tickets
in SF and in NYC on their respective governmental websites. Crosswalks and stop signs and fire hydrants all cost about the same ($75 in SF, $115 in NYC, if you want to know, which you probably don’t).
But really, what I learned is, if you find yourself in Manhattan, you’re best off never stopping your car. The cops can basically charge you what they want at their own discretion.

And a little anecdote to top things off (remember this one, Julie?):
I parked illegally one time (only once, yeah) when we were borrowing my parents’ car in Berlin. Of course, when we came out of the post office or bank or wherever we were, there was a cop by the car, doing the well-known “circling of the vehicle” followed by the “pulling out of the pad and pen” accompanied by the “disapproving headshake.” I, of course addressed him in my best broken German, saying that I’m visiting from the U.S. and don’t understand German no-parking signs.
He informed me that, well, he’ll be nice this time, but it would be a (at the time) 40DM ticket (about $20), and wouldn’t that be a lot of money for a ticket.
My instinct was to snort and quote him the going rates over here. But then I realized that I’d be better off transforming my snort into a sign and nod of agreement, saving me the trouble of paying a ticket.
Ah, good times.

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