Well, we all knew the day would come. We just didn’t think it would be quite so soon.
Last week, one of my friends rode his motorcycle to work and parked on the Sidewalk to Nowhere, as we always do. Our desks are right inside those windows, so we can keep an eye on anyone wandering by and looking askance at our little makeshift lot. It’s a good thing, too, because when one of the parking officers meandered up and whipped out his ticket pad, my friend was out the door and sweet-talking him in three seconds. He managed to get away without a ticket that time, but was told to warn all of us that they were onto our little scheme and would be watching the sidewalk from now on.
Knowing this, when I rode in the other day I parked on the regular parking lot. I took up a full space, just like I would with my car. Parking enforcement had been way up in recent weeks (seriously, we watch them write tickets from our windows like it’s a reality show, and these guys take a sadistic pleasure in smacking those little yellow envelopes on windshields for infractions like having an inch of tire on the white line), so I decided to bite the bullet and pay the stupid fee for the motorcycle sticker. After I parked I went to my desk and did a few things, then about an hour later walked down to the parking office to buy the sticker. I promptly took it out to the bike and was met with a ticket tucked neatly in my RAM mount.
Oh, for goodness’ sake.
I slapped the sticker on the bike and marched back down to the office. Brandishing the ticket, I pointed out the time it was written was the time I was in there purchasing the parking pass, and they reluctantly agreed to void it. Then as I was leaving, the woman at the desk called after me:
“You know, your motorcycle pass is only valid in motorcycle parking spaces, so you can’t park on the lot. Might wanna move your bike.”
Seriously? The scooter is a vehicle, it is legally entitled to a full parking space everywhere else in this freaking state except on the premises of my workplace? What power-tripping parking facist made that up?
“Okay, where is that?”
“The far north end of the lot,” In the broiling sun and a half-mile away! “Or just outside that door.” She gestured to where I knew there were bike racks and a fire lane.
“That’s not marked as motorcycle parking,” I said, pointing in the same direction.
“Yeah, but it is.”
“Why isn’t it marked?”
“Dunno. But people park there so we guess it’s okay.”
People park there so you guess it’s okay. YOU’RE THE PARKING OFFICE. We parked on the Sidewalk to Nowhere and you didn’t guess it was okay.
I wasn’t going to argue – this lady wasn’t a decision-maker anyway. I merely nodded silently and left to move the bike. There are enough battles to fight in this world, I suppose, without getting embroiled in little bureaucratic spats with the parking police and their kindly but clueless delegates. Still, I am going to write another strongly-worded letter about not being allowed to use a full space as per my rights under Missouri law. It’s not a huge issue here at my building where there is fairly convenient (albeit unmarked) moto parking, but at other locations on campus this seriously minimizes my parking options. Especially when I pay full price for a vehicle parking pass already, that’s really nonsensical. But what do I know? I just work here.