By David Menzies for MSN Autos
Before any aspiring legal eagles heap scorn upon your ever-sensitive correspondent, I will admit unreservedly that according to the nitty-gritty fine-print regarding parking enforcement, YES, the police officer (whom I am about to heap scorn upon in the paragraphs ahead) was indeed correct and I was indeed wrong.
Allow me to cut to the chase: I thought checking out the Beaches Jazz Festival in Toronto last weekend would be a blast. But before Queen Street East was closed to traffic and before the first musicians took to their makeshift sidewalk stages, I discovered that one of the festival’s biggest financial beneficiaries would surely be the legion of parking enforcement officers writing tickets on sections of streets suddenly labelled: “Emergency: No Parking On This Side of Road.”
Indeed, amber-hued tickets were being dispensed like so many supersized pieces of confetti at a tickertape parade. Idling nearby: a platoon of tow trucks, ready to clear the decks.
I scare easy when it comes to tow-away zones, so I decided to play it safe and go to a Green P parking lot located at nearby Ashbridges Bay. Alas, the lot was jammed tighter than Oprah Winfrey’s thighs in a pair of Lululemons.
However, the Parking Gods smiled upon me: a woman had returned to her Honda Odyssey and indicated she was leaving. Hallelujah. Better yet, she offered me her Pay & Display dashboard ticket which was valid until midnight. She said she’d let me have it for $4; a sweet deal indeed given the cost of the ticket was $7.
I gave her two Twonies; she pulled out of the space; I backed in, eager to enjoy an afternoon at the beach and some groovy jazz tunes in the evening. Not so fast. A police officer approached me and said, “I saw what you did” in a fashion that reminded me of the film, I Know What You Did Last Summer.
I looked at him quizzically.
“You can’t buy someone else’s ticket,” he declared, urging me to read the slip.
Sure enough, a small line noted: “Ticket not transferrable.”
“What difference does it make if her Honda Odyssey or my Ford Adrenaline occupies the spot?” I pleaded. “The city has been paid in full for the space, right?”
“Sir, those are the rules, and if you put that slip on your dash, I’m going to give you a $105 [one-hundred-and five!?] parking ticket.”
I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had heard of this non-transferrable jazz before, but always reckoned it to be the stuff of urban legends.
“Officer, with all due respect” – yes, you’re correct: this is indeed the phrase uttered when one person is about to disrespect someone else – “I just can’t believe you’d be that petty.”
“Not being petty, sir, just doing my job,” he responded (although if he had done his “job” when the transaction was going down, there would be no issue.) “You’ve been warned” and he drove off.
And I said (to myself): “To hell with that! If he comes back and tickets me, I’ll take this case to the Supreme Court!” And I defiantly slammed the ticket on my dash.
He didn’t come back so I was spared the $105 ticket. But in the back of my mind, I kept envisioning Robocop would return to that lot and write me up that three-figure fine.
Bottom line: I didn’t get dinged with a ticket. But in terms of psychological torture, this cop did far more damage than $105. And truth be told, I’m still seething over the cosmic inanity of it all.