Parking wars


The first Christmas after I started my job in parking enforcement, my eldest daughter decided to start buying me socks for my stocking. The first year she bought me some Star Trek socks. 13bd_star_trek_tng_mens_socks

 

I wear a uniform at work and I usually wear shorts. When I would wear these, I would get occasional comments from people about them. On Fridays, I can wear a sports shirt so I always wear a Bronco shirt and Bronco socks. I always get comments on those, too. 20171201_143158.jpg

When I told my daughter, I guess she decided to make socks a tradition. She has continued to buy me socks. This year she bought me several fun ones, Justice League, Alien, and Wolverine. I have so much fun with these. Every day, I wear fun socks and I get comments from people of all ages. Kids, old women, old men, adults, young adults. I even had one lady a week or so ago thank me for wearing them. She said that I make people smile with my socks.  There are days that I get “I love your socks.” from dozens of people. I get told I am cool. I get told I am awesome. I get smiles and thumbs up. Yesterday, one of the delivery drivers in town told me that he is going to start calling me Socks so I guess I have a new nickname.

I am going to continue this tradition of fun socks. I told my kiddo yesterday that I need some Marvel socks. I also need to get some ankle socks for the summer that are fun but still visible. My Walking Dead ones that she got me are no show so they aren’t as fun.

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Occasionally, I will give out advice that really should not need to be given to my friends on Facebook. They all relate to my job in the parking world. I have decided to start sharing those here.

I am going to start with license plates. Most states in the US require s registration sticker on the vehicle AND for the plate to be readable. That applies even when you are NOT in your state. Unless you are from New Jersey or Pennsylvania, no matter where you are, you need to have visible proof of your registration on your vehicle. I don’t know if there are any other states that don’t require it at this time. That means if you are driving on our roads in Colorado, you can and may be pulled over by the police. They can run your plates to find out if you are registered and generally will just give a warning if you are registered. If you are PARKED, we can and I WILL give you a ticket in my town. Parking enforcement officers cannot run your plates to see if you’re registered and the law is that it has to be displayed. That means that even if you have it, you are breaking the law if it is not displayed. I will write a ticket if your year or month sticker are missing. You can prove your registration and maybe the ticket will be voided but I view these more as a warning to fix it before you get pulled over. If the police write you the ticket for registration, it is a much higher fine AND a moving citation so POINTS on your license.

The things I cannot write a ticket for but you can get pulled over for are things like a dirty plate that is unreadable or a worn out plate. I will politely tell you if I see you to replace your plate if needed. I will wash off a plate to read the registration. A police officer can give you a ticket for either. I have personally been pulled over for a temporary plate that was unreadable in the back window of a car.

My recommend that you look at your plates regularly. Every time you wash the windows, wash your plates and your lights. If you think about it, they are as dirty, if not worse, than your windows. You will also be keeping an eye on the plates wear and tear and if your stickers are valid. Many times, people that are expired say they never received the notice from the state but things get lost in the mail sometimes, it is put in the wrong box, you misplace it, etc. There are many reasons why we may not remember to register our cars but it is OUR responsibility. Take responsibility for yourself and your car and do what you can to avoid this ticket. Remember, we are just enforcing rules and all of the tickets I write are avoidable.

We never know when an act of kindness can be real important to someone. My middle child taught me this years ago. She randomly compliments people all the time. One day, I had a friend tell me that she had met my kiddo at the movie theater the night before. My kid worked there at the time. My kiddo complimented her and Nikki so appreciated it. I don’t remember what the compliment was but I am sure Nikki does. After that, I try to do the same with people all the time. With my job, I see so many people every day. It is not uncommon for me to tell someone that they have a great smile, nice shoes, nice hair or something along those lines. The people always perk up when I do this but sometimes, it comes back to me.

Today, I had a gal stop me and say my name, which is not a common name. She reminded me that a while ago, on her birthday, I had written her a ticket and she came out right afterwards. We have a policy that if we choose to, we can call in and request a warning for someone. They are allowed one per calendar year. She was nice at the time so I did this for her. When they were checking her account, she let me know that it was her birthday. When she was telling me this, it came back to me. It was several weeks ago. I told her that I was hoping that I could dismiss it for her for her birthday. I knew that there was something else to the story but I didn’t remember what. She reminded me how she is also going through a divorce. I did what I always do. I gave support. I asked her if she had a good support system. I told her that if she needed to talk to find me at work. We are a small town. I don’t remember all the conversation from a few weeks ago but we continued it today. She told me how much my kindness that day helped. She was having a hard time. First birthday separated is hard for sure. She told me how she tells everyone about my kindness and thanked me for being there for her. We chatted a few minutes about things and then went about our days. I went back to patrolling and almost cried. I am so glad that I was able to cheer her day and give her hope. I love my job in that I can do that. Yes, I write tickets but in the time of my work day it is such a small part. I do things like this more often. It also made me remember how the kindness of others helped me five years ago when I was going through my divorce. We need to remember to be kind to people. We never know what is going on in their lives. A small gesture that means nothing to us, can mean the world to them.

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.

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.

 

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