Small towns are generally nicer than cities. Smaller cities tend to be less abrasive than their larger cousins. Some same-size cities have better manners than others. Like the, stick shopping carts into handicapped spots in supermarket parking lots, the chutzpah, the overweening arrogance and gall many people have about how and where they abandon their vehicles, just keeps me in open-mouthed amazement. And not a little irritation.
The daughter lives in one of two wheelchair accessible units, at the end of a row of townhouses. Her line is the furthest of five, from the street. In front of the row are reserved parking spaces for each of the units, then there are four spaces with visitor parking signs, then, right beside the wheelchair ramp are two more parking spaces. These are clearly marked for the two handicapped units. The unit numbers are displayed and wheelchair signs are mounted under them.
The daughter doesn’t have a car, so her spot sits vacant much of the time. However, when I come over to take her to a doctor’s appointment, it is amazing how many times I find another vehicle parked in “my” spot. The instant karma of this is that she has been trained and authorized by the city as the parking warden for her complex. She can, and does, hand out tickets to illegally, unsafely parked cars. Ontario has a system whereby, you can’t renew your driver’s licence or your car’s plates, unless all outstanding fines have been paid. You can fuss and fume and claim that you won’t, as a couple have, but when the rubber meets the road, the only choice you have is between the rubber of your tires and the rubber of your runners.
The fine for any other spot in the complex is only thirty dollars and, despite the bitching, most people just pay it. The fine for parking in either of the two wheelchair spots, without a permit like ours, is $350. There is a sport-ute which usually parks next to her spot. I went to pick her up the other day and (thought) I saw it. Parked next to it, in her (my) spot was a car with a couple of people in it. If there is a driver in a stopped car, it is not “parked”. I stopped my car broadside behind it and went over to give the driver s**t. Can’t you read the no-parking sign? I glanced up and pointed to it and realized he was parked in the other handicapped spot, waiting for his disabled uncle to come out. Right idea, just the wrong place. I went in and informed the daughter, who came out with her ticket book. Sadly, the interloper in her spot had a handicapped windshield tag, so he or she escaped the $350 fine.
The street I live on is populated entirely with semi-detached houses. The unit I own is the first where one style changes to another. All the way down the hill the driveways are on the outside of the units and adjacent buildings share double driveways. At my building starts attached garages with common double driveways in the center. So what, you say. So, the space at the curb between my driveway and the one next door is half what all the other spaces are. The city has a bylaw that prohibits parking any portion of your vehicle less than five feet from the edge of a driveway. This allows for line of sight and a safe turn radius, backing out. If five feet is taken, both from the neighbor’s side and mine, you can’t legally park a bicycle.
It irritates the s**t out of me to go out and find the ass end of someone’s car hanging over the end of my drive. Little Toyotas are bad enough, but full-sized vans are a real pain. Oh, I Can back across the neighbor’s side, if he doesn’t have both his cars on it. Then I just swing it back around 180 degrees and slide it backwards, between Mr. Thoughtless and the guy across the street, who legally leaves his van at the curb.
I got a damaged “No Parking” sign from the daughter’s complex. I just hack-sawed off the bent bottom and drove it into the grass on the boulevard. We might get a street sweeper up our street once a year. The NEXT morning, one went through, and the driver stopped and removed my sign. The parking authority had told me that they would not put up a sign for me. When I called to question and complain, they informed me that I wasn’t even allowed to put up one myself. They couldn’t give anyone a ticket for parking in a no-parking zone because the sign was not legal. Fine, then give them a ticket for parking less than five feet from my blocked driveway.
Drip, Drip, Drip! Chinese water torture again! I have a card with the 24/7 telephone number of parking by-law enforcement, but I’ve never used it. I may start soon. I’m just never ready for some peoples’ inconsiderate arrogance. We were about to leave one day. I opened the inner door just in time to see some guy abandoning his car. I asked him nicely (maybe that was the problem) not to park there. “It’s OK. I’ll be leaving in 20 minutes.” My mouth just couldn’t catch up to my mind. Bu-Bu-Bu….No! It’s Not Okay! We have to leave now! Then he ran four double houses down the street to visit his friend. If that’s where you’re going, park in front of his house and block his driveway. He’s not going anywhere while you’re there, and if someone does want to get out, you’re right there to move your car.
Perhaps the paintball gun really is a good idea. I pulled a slashed-P, no-parking graphic off the internet, and printed a couple of copies, for the next time. The next time came yesterday. A house up the street was having a yard sale. The owner brought his full-sized van down and blocked me in, so that potential customers could get to his place. I slapped the sign on his windshield and managed to get out around him, not safely, with the extra traffic he was generating, and definitely not easily. We returned about four hours later to find the sign in the middle of the lawn. I marvelled at the uncaring ego and picked the sign up. I’m cheap. I’ll use it again. When I got it inside, I noticed that it had a couple of pencil holes pushed into it. I know they were pencil holes because, down at the bottom, he had scrawled, “Why Not?”
The next ones I print will include the message; It’s illegal, and include the by-law number. It’s unsafe, which is why it’s illegal. It’s inconsiderate, and, I have that 24/7 number. I think I’m going to start using it. Anti-asshole lessons being given. Park here to register.