Parking wars


I get asked on a regular basis how awful my job is. People are always surprised when I tell them that it is actually a great job. There are so many reasons that I love my job. I get paid to walk around my favorite town in the world and I get paid to exercise. I walk about ten miles a day. I get to meet so many interesting people. I get to pet dogs all the time. I know everything that is going on in my town. There are so many things that I love about my job. I cannot put them all down as I am always thinking of more. One thing that is consistently wonderful is seeing random acts of kindness.

Yesterday, I had a incident that is not all that uncommon but I am going to share this particular one. I had started to write a ticket on a truck that was obviously a tourist. This man and woman are walking down the street. When they get past me and see the truck I am writing the ticket for, the guy asks very nicely if he can save that guy from a ticket. I tell him yes and thank you and that I love seeing these things. A while later, I am in the same location, I start to write a ticket at the car next to the original truck when they come out to leave. They talk to me a bit and I tell them that someone had paid their meter earlier when I was writing them a ticket. She immediately asks if she can save the car that I am working on to pay it forward. Of course, I said yes and I felt so good.

In this world of so much bad news every day, I see these small things every day. It gives me hope in human beings and definitely can improve my mood if I am not in a great one.

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One of the many things I love about my job is all the people that I get to see and meet. Some  of these people bring me joy, actually, most do, but there are a few that do not. I am going to try to start blogging more about the people in my neighborhood that I encounter at work.  I will say that some of my favorite people are the eye candy. There are a lot of men in this town that are very fit. We have a lot of bike riders that have amazing legs. I also love meeting some of the various tourists and students. There is always a story.

One gentleman that has caught my eye is the Barber. I have no idea why this man has caught my eye. He has a long beard, which I normally do not like. He smokes, which I detest BUT that man sure can wear a pair of jeans. He catches my eye every time I see him. He is married with a young child so he is just someone that I enjoy looking at. He always looks so nice. He wears nice jeans, nice  shirt, and a vest almost every day. He is always well groomed. We have only exchanged a few words since I first noticed him. I have no idea what his name is but I do know where he works. He is one that brings me a smile every day.

Who is the Lego Bomber?

I love this town that I live and work in. We have some very unique people and events. One of my favorite right now is our Lego bomber. One day last year, I noticed a bombing and wondered what it was all about. I have since smiled every time that I notice some of his work and even had the pleasure of helping him put a sculpture in a tree one day. A few days ago, some tourists were walking down the street and were discussing the bombs. I stopped and explained what it was about. I know the kid they were with thought it was pretty darn awesome. I love seeing people play with the sculptures and, for the most part, I hardly ever see them on the ground. They seem to make people smile, especially kids. There are many photos on the net of his work.

As a Parking Enforcement Officer, I write parking tickets all day long. I average about 10 an hour that I am actually walking the street. I am not walking all day, we do have other duties besides walking the streets. I have written as few as twelve tickets in a day and as many as seventy-two. I rarely see the people I am writing tickets to. If they come out when we are writing, we generally will stop the ticket and call it an interruption. Most of the time, people are very nice when they catch you writing the ticket. They ask you to stop or if it is too late. Many of the people paid their meters and are late coming back to their cars for some reason. What blows my mind is how many people do not even try to pay and will flat out tell us that. We also have people park in loading zones, red zones, bus zones, and handicap spots with the same stories. I hear so many excuses as to why they didn’t pay but they are all saying the same thing, “Here is why the law doesn’t apply to me.”

Here are some of the excuses I hear frequently:

” I was only going to be a minute.”

” I am waiting for someone.” (In one of the forbidden zones)

” I always pay but I had to drop something off.”

“I didn’t have any change.” (Many of our meters take credit cards, all take cards you                                                                         can purchase.)

“I didn’t see the meter.”

“I’m not from around here.”

So many people think that we “Meter Maids” are mean and unfair. We do not write the laws. We just enforce them. Writing tickets is not my favorite part of my job. I love being able to meet many people, run into friends, pet puppies (and snakes the other day), know what is going on everywhere in town and getting paid to exercise. Just feed your meters so I get paid to walk and do the fun things and not listen to the reasons the rules do not apply to you.

 

With my job, people always assume that I get yelled at all the time but I actually got yelled at more often sitting at the front desk of a doctor’s office. Today, I met my worst citizen so far on the streets. Most people are not happy when they get a ticket but also know that they deserve them. Most people will ask us to give them a break very nicely and some will actually come up, hold out their hand and actually say that they deserve it.  This guy today was awful. I wrote him a parking ticket for an expired registration. He came up as I was putting it on his car and asked what I was doing. I told him that I had just written him a ticket and what for. He immediately grabbed it out of my hand, threw it in his car and screamed that I wasn’t a Effin cop and I had no right to do that. We do it daily, per city council. He proceeded to drop the F-bomb to me over and over. If someone comes up and is nice, we will call in and ask if we can make it a warning. I was not about to do that since he was so hostile so I told him to have a nice day and continued on. A gentleman on the street was watching and listening. I could tell that he was horrified at what was happening. The guy continued to yell profanities at me until he couldn’t see me anymore. If I had ever felt threatened, I could have called the police for assistance. I called my supervisor and told her about him so she wouldn’t dismiss the ticket when he came in. It turned out that we booted his car a couple of months ago for several unpaid tickets for the same thing. We did have to call the police on him then. His file is not good with our department. I ran into the observing man a block later getting into his car and he asked if that was normal and how out of line the other guy was. It was nice to have someone tell me that but the jerk did not really bother me. I almost laughed at him as he was being so obnoxious. I also thought about telling him no thanks, you are not my type. Now, I look forward to giving him more tickets. He definitely did NOT intimidate me.

The photographer is a man that might find a place in my blog in the future. Who knows what the future holds but I met him at work, too. He had bought a parking pass but a mistake had been made and he was given the incorrect pass. Due to the mistake, he kept getting tickets. He would bring it in and it would get dismissed. He got several before it was discovered that he was given the wrong pass. Most people would have been angry at our department but he just laughed it off. When the mistake was realized, I was asked to go meet him and exchange the passes. He was so delightful. I apologized for the error and thanked him for his understanding. Since then, I have spoken to him occasionally. I stopped in to see him today as I was watching a car  in a loading zone. We have to watch for ten minutes to make sure there is no activity. I had the ticket all ready to print and I just had to wait my ten minutes. It was cold and it was right outside his store. I stepped in and told him what I was doing and how I was going to use his heat while I watched. We talked a bit and he proceeded to tell me that I am the ray of sunshine in his day every time he sees me. This affected my day more than the jerk did.

People like him and the observer are part of the reason that I love my job so much. The jerks are few and far between. Most people are awesome. Maybe it is where I live. Maybe it is because I smile and am nice to everyone. I don’t know why but it really doesn’t matter.