Thursday, August 4, 2011

What the HELL, City of Denver???

Okay, here's where I have a serious beef with the City of Denver. Or at least with the idiotic copywriters that handle the signs and notices on their parking meters.

Although maybe they're NOT so idiotic. Maybe this is just a sneaky way of making money. Maybe these signs are written by people who use words like "collateral damage" and "ethnic cleansing" (see my earlier post on Words, Part Deux) as part of their everyday vocabulary in order to manipulate people and make money for cash-strapped cities. Just a thought.

Here's the sign on a downtown parking meter where my cousin and her boyfriend got a ticket last week. They were driving our car, had gone to a club, parked at 8:02, and paid for 2 hours of parking until 10:02.

They thought they'd be GOOD after that, right? After all, look at the sign. IN BIG LETTERS, it says 2 HOUR LIMIT 8 AM - 10 PM.


In addition, right NEXT to that, it says OVERNIGHT PARKING ALLOWED. 10 PM - 8 AM.

Also seems clear, right? Those nice City of Denver people--they'll let you park your car there OVERNIGHT. That seems really thoughtful of them.

Nope. Officer Patterson, Badge #230, with the Denver Police, slapped a ticket on the car at 10:47 for a meter violation.

Okay, I jumped to the obvious conclusion:

Officer Patterson CANNOT READ.

Either or both seem plausible, given some police officers I have dealt with in the past.

So I called into the Denver Parking Violations Bureau to contest the ticket and, after negotiating their extremely complicated voice mail maze, was told by an unsympathetic office drone that Denver had passed a new law ALLOWING overnight parking AT A REDUCED RATE.

Big fat hairy deal. As if I was supposed to be IMPRESSED by the city's largesse. When they used to NOT CHARGE AFTER 10 pm.

And when their meters are ABSOLUTELY UNCLEAR about this change.

So...if you look WAAAAY down there in the left-hand corner, underneath all that distracting small print with the yellow background, you'll see hourly rates for 8 AM - 2 AM and then OTHER HALVED rates for 2 AM - 8 AM. But if you stopped at the larger print like I'm sure 80% of the people do, then you'll get screwed by the city. Which is probably what the city is counting on to balance their finances.

I asked the office drone if she didn't think that this was kind of sneaky of the city and she refused to comment.


Kafka wrote a story called "The Penal Colony" in which prisoners are held for crimes, but they're not notified of what those crimes are. Instead, the crime itself is engraved onto their skin using some sort of diabolical tattoo-type of machine, with the idea that, by the time it reaches their bones, they'll have SOMEHOW figured it out. Of course, by then, well...they're not exactly IN their bodies any more.

Sure, we all missed that fine print on the meter. But it seems uncomfortably close to The Penal Colony to me. And probably intentional.

But I have noticed a trend in my blogs the past few weeks--in that they're rants.

Maybe I'm brooding. I have been cooped up in the house since Tuesday, and only intermittently able to work because I HAVE TO KEEP MY FOOT ELEVATED. Why? Because I foolishly tried to be an intermediary in a territorial dispute where Princess was attempting to annex the west side of my back yard (well beyond the previous agreed-upon boundary) and Smokey was trying to fire back. My diplomacy failed and Princess (who must have been watching Shark Week) chomped down on my foot like one of the Great Whites grabbing a seal on that Planet Earth documentary.

And it got infected (my foot, not the seal--he was WELL beyond that). So I have been limping around, taking enormous antibiotic pills and trying to figure out if the red, hot, swollen patch on my foot has expanded beyond the Magic Marker circle that the doctor drew on my foot last Tuesday. And trying to figure out how to paint while still keeping my foot elevated above my heart.

So I'm probably just grumpy.

Still, I'd encourage you to boycott Denver for awhile. At least until they get a little clearer about their meter signs! Or it might cost you!

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