Originally posted to ydnar.vox.com in February 2007.
The first of the month, when there are bills to pay and other sundry tasks to get one’s house in order. Rent (or mortgage), car insurance, gym memberships, PG&E. This February brings another pair of open hands: Renter’s insurance and the ever-looming car registration tax. I suppose I should be grateful they are as small an amount as they are. Renter’s insurance is almost laughably cheap, and I have been blessed with living in an area of SOMA designated as a special residential parking zone.
I pay $60 per year for a sticker on the right-rear bumper that lets me park with impunity in any non-metered space in my district. I’m not fully taking advantage of this the way that Danielle Steele is, but I do appreciate the way that our office also happens to fall within the oddly gerrymandered area that is District U.
As it happened, the first of February fell on a Thursday this year, which means I had to park somewhere other than my lovely alley due to San Francisco’s brilliant
parking revenue recovery street cleaning program. Returning home last night I dropped my car off around the corner in a metered spot, pulled various valuables out (cars are broken into in my neighborhood fairly often) and made a mental note to move it in the morning.
Which brings us back to this morning, the first of February. I left my door at approximately 8:02 AM, Pista in tow (or was it the other way around) and walked around the block to move my car. In the intervening time, Pista decides to go for the gold, filling up a pair of, well, you get the idea. Her deposits deposited in the trash, we walk the remaining half-block to my car.
Where there it was, in all its glory: A DPT envelope, fluttering in the wind beneath my car’s windshield wiper. Reaching for the envelope, my blood pressure rising, I made a mental run through the list of reasons I could have potentially gotten a ticket:
- It’s February. My registration expires this month. Does it expire on the 1st or the 28th?
- The meter starts running at 8 AM and not 9 AM.
- The DPT agent decided to fuck with me.
In the end it turns out to be none of the above. Maybe a bit of the last, but the reason for my minutes-old parking citation: Parking on a hill without turning the front wheels. Not only did I get a ticket between the time I left my front door and arrived at my car (8:04 AM), or on a day I specifically moved my car to avoid getting a ticket, or parking exactly between the proscribed white lines—but I got a ticket for the most utterly bullshit reason. I couldn’t even chalk it up to DPT quotas, unless my particular agent decided to get a jump on the short month ahead.
I shake my head, swearing and wondering if this was the sort of thing that led to the recent spate of violence against DPT officers.
So another ticket to throw on the pile, another 35 bucks between me and a new yearly registration for the Subaru.
Footnote: I heard a curious thing: A car waiting at the light, windows cracked, blasting Sufjan like it was 50 cent. Trumpets don’t quite vibrate the license plate holder the way that dub does, but the emo-indie-christian mob made me laugh.