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.