Saturday, September 5, 2009

Welcome Home, Pay Up

I just got back from a beautiful trip to the Pacific Northwest and started going through the pile of mail. I discovered a letter from the City of Orlando saying I had not paid a parking ticket and since payment was overdue, I owed a fine as well. What Parking ticket? I had never seen one. I discovered after some research that the ticket was issued on the opening night of "War of the Worlds". On that night I had gone to an opening night pre-party at the Savoy. Parking is near impossible in the antiques neighborhood where the bar was located and I drove around for quite some time to find the perfect spot. I parked in a residential neighborhood far from the congestion and enjoyed the long walk to the bar. I didn't get the ticket for parking in a no parking zone but instead it was for parking with the butt of the car facing west instead of east.

I had just experienced a surreal display of authority at Lake Eola and decided I needed to further my experience in the city by dropping off my $45 parking ticket check in person. I was shocked when I walked up to the City's Parking Division. The city placed this cash cow in the ground floor of a 5 story parking garage. This bureaucratic edifice resembles a movie ticket booth only a little bigger. It is playfully decorated by 32 colorful ceramic tiles decorated by school children to give the passer by a warm feeling that art is alive in the City Beautiful. I expected a long line at the pay out window but instead found I could just walk up to the window and deposit the check as if in a bank. I was curious to see my original ticket but knew that would cause a long and arduous wait. I just smiled and paid keeping my comments to myself. I don't think I could have reasoned with the woman behind the window anyway. I am sure she has seen it all, besides video cameras were located everywhere. Big brother was watching.

As I sketched homeless would wander by, some with bikes and some with loaded carts, heading back to Parrimore returning from their day downtown. A young couple shouted down to me from the parking garage 2 floors above "Hey, don't forget to sketch us!" Every 15 minutes or so another person would walk into the Parking Division to drop off a check or cold hard cash. The stream of people was steady and sure.

Post Script. I got a mutilated letter crushed into a plastic postal bag that says "We Care" in the mail today from the City for my Parking Violation Notice. A quarter of the letter had been ripped out by some sorting machine. I got to see the picture of my truck beautifully parked with no warning signs in sight. Sigh, I am so innocent.

6 comments:

Brian Feldman said...

Anytime you’d like to sketch an Orlando City Council meeting, please let me know!

Rick said...

Maybe they could fix the Lake Eola Fountain with the money from our parking violations...

Plinio Marcos Pinto said...

I just got a ridiculous $250 parking ticket last week at 9:44PM on Jefferson St. (Back of Howard Elementary, Thornton Park) The St. is very badly lit and I parked briefly to go get some food at one of the restaurants in the area. Because of the low light, I did not noticed the handicap access which I partially blocked. There was a sign, which was visible, saying that parking is ok in non-school hours. Now, I agree that I'm wrong. However, It was on an SAT night, no school hours - a $250 parking ticket is just too much!I read that I could request a hearing but I'd still have to pay $100 for that on top of the fine. And they have the courage to print on the ticket itself: "$7.00 of each fine supports School Crossing Guards"
I'm extremely frustrated with the city lately.

Thor said...

Hey Plinio,
Well at least the arts are helping to support our struggling city government.

Julia Kay said...

I've never been to Orlando but I'm really enjoying your tales and illustrations of life in that city. Great portrayals of daily life with good colors, complex compositions and interesting narrative.

Thor said...

Thanks Julia.