Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sue The Parking Authorities!!!

Yes, I got a parking ticket today, and no, I hadn’t forgetten to put money in the meter, and no, my time had not run out, so why did I get a ticket?

I pride myself on my parking skills, You see, I had a very exacting introduction to parking. As one of only three women in a class of about 100 Electronics Engineers, my parkings skills were heavily scrutinzed. Engineers take parking very seriously. There are correct and incorrect ways to park. This is a subject they’ve obsessed about long before their foot could even reach the gas pedal, and by the time they’re in college, they’ve laid both the theoretical and the practical framework for a lifetime of perfect parking. I’m referring to male engineers. Female engineers have no choice but to learn from their male counterparts, or else be dismissed as bumbling idiots.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but a fundamental rule is that when getting into a tight parking position between two cars, the best, safest and most accurate way to do it is in reverse. In fact, parking head in is messy and amateurish, and is something that any self-respecting engineer should avoid.

Why then, are parking structures in L.A. plastered with signs saying “Park Head In Only”? Well, my working assumption was that some smart guy, maybe the same one that invented the “Don’t Even Think of Parking Here” signs, printed up 100,000 of these abominations, and sold them in a fire sale to the Los Angeles County parking authorities. Why else would such clearly inane advice be posted?

So yes, I’ve always ignored these signs. After all, they’re just plain wrong. It’s true that occasionally, when there’s plenty of room and I’m feeling a bit lazy, I park head in, but otherwise, I always park in reverse.

Well, today in Santa Monica, in the parking lot behind Main St. near the World Café, I got a $35 ticket for that offense. The ticket had two remarks on it:

Rem1 – Vehicle backed in

Rem2 – Vehicle unattended

So two questions:

1. What in the world is wrong with backing into a parking spot? I know I should have asked this question a long time ago, and not waited to get a ticket. But better late than never.

2. Given that this was a three hour parking spot, what was the problem with leaving the car unattended? Or is backing into a parking spot ok if I stay in the car?

No need to answer the second question, it’s rhetorical. But if anyone has an answer to the first one, please please enlighten me.


At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I took my driving test in Ireland all went well I thought...on returning to the testing center the examiner just said park anywhere so I drove into a marked space feeling so glad that my parallel parking skills would not be taxied. "Parked like a woman" came the comment as the examiner finished filling out the test form as I turned off the ignition! I queried the remark (meekly I'll admit, it was 20+ years ago and I was very anxious to pass!) and was told that he would have been more impressed if I had reversed into the spot.

Anyway, I regularly reverse into spaces... deal with the maneuvering now so the exit will be a no-brainer. I have only ever heard two objections to reversing in... both relating to the exhaust. In one case it was apparently to save the plants behind the space from the noxious gases and in the other it was concerns that exhaust 'soot' over time would blackening the back wall. No idea if either concern is really valid.

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