Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sweep This!

My hand is planted firmly on my crotch.

They’ve done it to me again! Or, I’ve done it to myself?

I blame my car.

My father has generously given me a new car. But I still have my old car which means that, when you add Tanya’s car to the equation, we just have one car too many. We’ve got lovely two car tandem parking (which if you’re not from a city where there’s an overcrowding problem means that we have to park one of our cars behind the other). Since my old car doesn’t actually run anymore, it gets a permanent place in the driveway which leaves another car to fend for itself, forced to circle the streets like an angry hobo just looking for an open doorway in which to spend the night.

Well, my car overslept this morning. It stayed in its cozy little cubby, tucked into the same spot it’s spent the entire previous week.

That’s when it was molested by some jerk in a white hybrid car with “Los Angeles Parking Enforcement” written on the side. It’s street sweeping day.

LA loves street sweeping day (that’s why it’s always street sweeping day somewhere in this town). If someone were to come up with some animated map of parking tickets issued in Los Angeles, you’d be able to watch the city coffers fill up block by block as the street sweepers winded their way through the city.

The city wants you to believe that street sweeping exists for the sole purpose of sweeping the street. Residents of Los Angeles know better. Street sweeping is an excuse to hand out parking tickets at $45 a pop. On my block alone, this morning my car was one of four others who had either purposefully or inadvertently ignored the posted no parking sign. That’s $180 dollars just on my block. I took a walk this morning and noticed an average of about three cars a block that were parked on the wrong side of the street at the wrong time.

So why $45? I’ll tell you my theory. It’s the same strategy they use in marketing. You don’t charge $20 for an item. You charge $19.95. Why? Because it’s not $20. It makes it seem more reasonable. $45? Well, it’s not $50, that’s why. $50 is a lot of money. It’s half of $100. But $45 is worth taking a risk on.

I wasn’t trying to take a risk. I had every intention of moving the car this morning (uh, I mean, my car had every intention of moving itself).

Instead, now I’m out 45 bucks. For absolutely no reason.

I hate this town.

Fun Fact: As I was researching for this blog post (yes, I do some research…very little research but…) I found this article on the subject from the Los Angeles Times.

Also, you’ll notice that the picture at the top of the post says “No Parking” on Wednesday. I realize that it’s Thursday today. See, our apartment building sits on a corner. The street in front of the house has no parking on Thursday. The street on the side of the apartment has no parking on Wednesday. That’s where I took that picture.

Incidentally, on both streets there’s only legal parking on one side of the street. This means that every week on Wednesday and Thursday, we get to have the “Great Car Shuffle!”

It sounds more exciting that it really is.

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