Thursday, December 30, 2004



Note: The following is (another) entry from my long defunct "TIX3" weblog. It was originally posted almost exactly five years ago, on Dec. 29, 1999. - Ed.

The Christmas holiday is over and I've returned from my Christmas trip back to Ohio. The trip itself was not a smooth one - it's smoothness was in fact comparable to Austin Powers' smile or the United States' conversion to metric. There was snow, slippery roads, accidents, traffic jams, slow airport employees, delayed planes, reassigned seats scattered across the plane, more slow airport employees, an eternal wait at the baggage claim and yet more slow airport employees. But the crown on the evil king's head, the cherry on the mudpie if you will, was the parking ticket.

Outside the brand-new Austin airport, there are two lanes for people picking up and dropping off passengers. It was already very late when we landed, so to save time I went to retrieve the auto from long-term parking while the wifey stayed at the baggage claim to claim our baggages. I return in remarkably record-breaking time, jamming, in fact, to find her baggage-less. So I join her in her task of standing around watching the carousel, figuring the job will go twice as fast with two of us. I mention to her that the two picking-up-and-dropping-off lanes have a five minute time limit, but at the same time assure her that it's such a zoo that no one will know if we leave our car there for (gasp!) six or seven minutes.

After waiting, waiting and waiting some more, I decide to take some of our carry-on bags out to the car. There's a yellow slip on the windshield that I spy from afar. 'A warning' I think optimistically, 'no way was I even gone long enough for anyone to see the car, watch it for five minutes and still write a ticket!' You already know, dear reader, that I was wrong, don't you? Well, mostly wrong, and only on the important parts. For indeed the ticket wasn't for exceeding the time limit, but for leaving the car "unattented" [sic].

Okay - two big problems I've got at this point. The first is, who the hell cares if it's unattended? It was in the curb lane, not the second lane, so it's sure not blocking anyone in. It's been there for maybe ten minutes, so it's not like an abandoned vehicle. Okay, it's taking up a space that other people are coming along wanting, but that's not what the ticket is for, is it?! It would have taken up just as much space and for just as long if I'd been sitting in, leaning on or loitering around it!

But the thing that really gets me is this. We have to pay $25 (early payment - $50 if we wait too long) because of some overzealous parking stormtrooper on a power trip who can't even spell "unattended"! I mean, it's the guy's job title! Or, hey, who knows? Maybe it's wrong there too, maybe at parties he replies to "And what do you do?" by saying "Oh, I'm a parking attentant at the new airport. In fact I'm so zealous in performing my duties that I've received several commentations. I intent to go far in this field, you know!"

So anyway, our bags finally came, and we finally got home, and we finally got to collapse in our very own bed.

The End.


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