Sunday, April 24, 2016

No Parking On The Dance Floor

Zero tolerance for parking violations. It's an easy enough stand to take, especially when the parking ticket isn't under sticking out from under your windshield wiper. Then you have to consider the way some of those signs are unclear: No parking the first and third Wednesdays of every month. This requires a working knowledge of a calendar and the date, which for many who have spent hours circling the block until desperation has set in and the only spot on a curb within a mile of your intended destination. All of that frustration wells up and becomes the cloud in front of your reason. It becomes that little voice that tells you that even numbered months allow you to park on the sidewalk on top of a fire hydrant.
Then there's that whole "speed limit" thing. What exactly are the parameters? If I can drive a stretch of road doing one hundred twenty miles an hour on two wheels, that would seem to be the limit. That's the Autobahn way. Fiery crashes tend to set their own limits. Here in America, we prefer to keep ourselves in check with that more mild reserve: posted miles per hour, signs with the suggested safe speed. Not that there are plenty of drivers and vehicles which are unsafe at any speed, but it creates another version of that reckoning we have with parking. How fast can I go before someone recognizes that I am going fast? How fast can I go before I reach that magic number that sets off all the alarms and dispatches a dozen patrol cars to bring me to justice? There's a whole branch of mathematics devoted to calculating how many miles above the speed limit one can travel before the bubble lights show up in your rear view mirror. I had been told that four miles above the legal limit would be safe. Later I was informed that radar was only accurate withing nine. This was around the time when I was told that the idea of speed being checked by aircraft was a silly thing. The bottom line is this: The posted speed is the law. Give or take, depending on the weather and the prevailing conditions. And excuses: "I was trying to get away from the cops."
Some laws aren't as easily enforced. Like the no-refills statute at your favorite fast food restaurant. Be careful in Arkansas. As suspect ordered water at the drive-thru window at a Springdale McDonald's. He then went inside and poured soda into the alleged water cup. His accomplices followed suit. The manager ordered them to drop the purloined pop, the two passengers complied. The driver of the car took his soda and ran, hopping into his car with his buddies and racing off into the night. Police later apprehended the youth at a nearby bowling alley where eighteen-year-old Cody Morris will face felony charges.
My guess is that he was probably parked on the wrong side of the street, too.

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