It’s been too long since we had some honest-to-God hate going on here. The comics are fine and good, and the e-mail exchanges with the litigious morons was fun, but I feel like I could get the ball rolling, perhaps trigger a mighty avalanche of vitriol the likes of which Sean hasn’t seen since 2001. So here goes:
I hate when cops flout parking laws.
Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t have a huge chip on my shoulder for cops. I’ve heard all the stereotypes, all the epithets, even watched a few unflattering YouTube videos. Flawed system arguments? Heard them. At the end of the day, I’m glad they’re out there scaring people who do violent or illicit things around my neighborhood. I can’t imagine it’s a very pleasant job.
Parking tickets in New York City range from to 5, depending on the offense, and they’re meted out by the Parking Enforcement Division, which I can only assume is the police equivalent of the Untouchable caste in India.
I don’t intentionally park illegally. But I’ve been hit with plenty of parking tickets anyway. Enough to develop the proper fear and hatred of those fuckers in their three-wheeled go karts.
Case in point: Alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules. In the mornings the sanitation department runs the street sweeper down all the streets. That means for an hour and a half (8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.), one side of the street has to be bare of cars so the brushes can do their business. That’s all fine and good, except that everyone on the block double-parks on the other side of the street. If you forget about street-sweeping day, you wake up to find yourself hopelessly trapped by a solid line of late-model import sedans and minivans. And no manner of horn-honking or screaming will summon anyone from their apartments to let you out. I have called the cops on these people. No one gets ticketed. Nobody cares.
Having been made late to work several times by this, I always park on the side of the street the city demands vacated by 8:30. Of course, having lived here a year, I know that the street sweeper never shows up until 9:30. That used to make me lazy. On one particular morning, I got out of the house at 8:45, to find a fat parking ticket on my windshield, issued at 8:40 a.m.
Solid line of double-parked cars in flagrant violation of city laws? Not a single violation. I have paid the tickets and made peace with it, but I carry that little wound of the iniquity of parking enforcement. I try to act as a shining beacon to all those total bastards out there too lazy to search for a parking space: I can park legally at all times. It’s not even that hard. Give it a try some time, assholes.
I find it especially insulting when I see a police officer’s civilian vehicle parked illegally. Yes, emergency vehicles should be allowed special parking privileges. Yes, it makes sense to move firefighters’ personal vehicles out of the way so they don’t get scratched to hell when the hook-and-ladder truck comes back to the station. But when the only car left on the right side of the street is some cop’s Nissan Maxima with the badge placard in the front windshield, all “dangerous job” indulgences shatter like glass in my mind. No meter maid is going to give a fellow cop a ticket, and no amount of complaining or lecturing is going to change that. What’s worse, said Maxima-driving cop parks in front of the fire hydrant on our block. He doesn’t even bother to move it when everyone else has double-parked and left him with the entire length of the street.
Another cop near my work had the audacity to park behind my car, which I had nestled close to the car in front of me so that the hydrant behind me would get its full 15-foot clearance. Said cop parked his shattered-windshield Mercury Sable touching my rear bumper. How do I know it was a cop? The midtown Manhattan placard displayed in the windshield.
Don’t mind me, guys, I’m just blocking a hydrant, and let’s forget for a minute that I’m in Queens, about 20 miles away from the precinct where this placard would actually have any bearing. We’re all part of the same brave fraternity, a fraternity that hates firefighters, so let’s remember where our alliances lie and disregard the undeniable fact that I am obstructing a piece of equipment vital to saving lives and property. Fucking hose jockeys deserve to lose one, anyway.
I don’t care how hard your day is. I don’t care how many kids died in your arms or how many muggers you put behind bars. The minute you decide that not driving around for another five minutes to find a legal parking space in your own neighborhood is worth risking the lives of civilians, you deserve to be suspended from duty.