About 12:35 pm as I was driving away from my usual parking spot beside Drake’s Park I noticed the parking enforcement person walking away from the parking lot, and as I passed by I looked to see if it was the one I talk to occasionally. We have plans for me to take her dog for a walk because it is left in the nearby kennel all day and would appreciate a walk in the park. It wasn’t my friend but one of the other enforcement officers I didn’t know and they were just trudging along to the next string of cars to check out. No biggie, just my normal drive home.
The streets were ice covered in the shadowy patches so I was driving very cautiously on the two-mile drive. The ice was an added challenge to the many potholes it is necessary to dodge, and this time they were partially hidden because of the ice and snow. Thus, between these minor problems and the major one of trying to guess what the other drivers were going to do, my mind was occupied. I try hard to obey the posted speed limits and all of my route to my house is posted at 25 MPH. On a normal dry day, people normally drive about 35 MPH on these streets and I only go 30 so generally there is a car or two behind me after going a few blocks. No one ever gives me any trouble for going too slow; after all, I am going over the clearly posted speed limit, which I dislike doing, but I don’t like being physically pushed either. Today was no exception and someone got closer to me than I thought wise so I figured that, because of the ice, I had to drive for me and for them too. Perhaps they understood and we both went along at the dry condition speed limit.
Anyway, I eventually turned off at my residential street and it was clear driving for a hundred yards and it was time to relax and then I noticed it. There was a green envelope under my windshield wiper. Did someone leave me a message? Uh, oh. Did I get a parking ticket? Once when parked in the garage, I got the envelope and noted the City of Bend, Oregon, was written prominently on it. I went inside and gave the unopened envelope to Debbie; she took care of it. She takes care of all my problems. Twelve dollars if paid online within 48 hours. The ticket was paid off in about ten minutes of the time stamped on the ticket, and that included my driving time home.
I’ve gotten several violations in my eighty years of driving and every one of them has been like this event. A really tight definition of a violation. One time it happened back in Berkeley when I was in a ten-minute parking zone; I had walked into the post office, dropped the envelope into the slot and immediately walked back out to my car. It couldn’t have taken a minute but I had a ticket. As it turned out the courthouse was directly across the street and I immediately walked to the payment window and contested the ticket as the time posted on the ticket hadn’t even occurred yet. They let me off on that one. Another time I got a ticket for parking in a totally empty University public parking lot at 5:59 where it was posted free parking to the public after 6 PM. I had checked my watch, which indicated 6, so it was obviously okay. The enforcement officer must have been hiding within a few steps of that spot intending to make his quota.
Even if you try really hard to be compliant with laws and you will still get nailed occasionally.