The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I Fought the Law, and I Won

Yesterday, I went to traffic court...and I won. Yippee-yi-yay! And we're not talking about a little parking ticket either; we're talking about a $323 ticket for an "abandoned vehicle." The ticket confused me, mostly because the vehicle, a 1975 Honda CB360 motorcycle, was not abandoned. Yes, I had let the registration lapse, and it was sitting like a piece of junk in front of my row home, but it wasn't abandoned. It was right out front, being loved in a I-know-I've-been-saying-this-for-three-years-now-but-really-one-day-I'm-going-to-fix-you-and-make-you-fabulous kind of way. It used to be parked behind the house we rented across the street, but when the Bread Winner and I bought this house, there was no where for the bike to be except out front (where, mind you, lots of other people park their bikes). Then one of my back-stabbing, petty neighbors called the cops on me. Bastards.

I know what you're thinking. The registration was lapsed. It did look like a piece of junk. And Philadelphia's Mayor Street has that whole neighborhood clean-up thing going on where he's already dragged something ridiculous like 100,000 abandoned cars off the street. But hear me out on this.

It all started on 10/10/03. I looked out my window, and I saw a cop taking a polaroid of my bike. Hmm, thinks I, this isn't good. Then I see him go back to his police car and sit there. I was waiting for him to drive away, but he didn't. He just sat there. So I went out there, and I started wheeling the bike away. The cop says, "What are you doing?" I say, casually, "Oh, I'm just going to put this in a garage." He says, "Fine. But if I see that bike on the street again, it's going to get towed." I say, "Right-o." And I put the bike in my neighbor's garage. The end. Or was it?

A couple of weeks later, I get an letter in the mail from a towing company. They said that they'd towed my bike on 10/10, and now I have to pay them $X00 for towing plus $XX per day for a storage fee. I said, "Really?" I actually considered that I was remembering an alternate reality for the day of 10/10. So I got up from in front of the TV and walked across the street to the garage. I went in, and there was the bike, just as I remembered. I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn't have to check myself into the local psyche ward.

In late November, I got a ticket in the mail from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. It had "Abandoned Vehicle" checked off, and in the comments section, it said, "Vehicle towed on 10/10/03." If it was a $15 parking ticket, I might have just paid it, but $300? (plus a $23 late fee). Sorry, can't do it. I appealed it, and yesterday, I went to court.

I told my story. I said the bike was never towed, like the ticket stated. I said that I talked to the cop, and he let me move it, then I get this in the mail a month and a half later. I said, "This is bizarre." Amazingly, the traffic judge lady agreed with me. She dismissed the ticket. "I could have held you liable because the bike was on the street and the registration was lapsed, but I'm going to just dismiss it," she said. "Thank you," I said.

You know, it's not often that a city employee is reasonable, i.e. makes things go my way. I have a warm, fuzzy feeling about the Philadelphia Parking Authority. I'm enjoying it now. I know it won't last long.


  • Hey Oz, Like your site. Congrats on fighting the law!

    By Blogger Vadergrrrl, at 6:32 PM, June 10, 2004  

  • Vadergrrrl, thanks. I'm still basking in the glow of my success, and simultaneously feeling like I should now be able to spend that $300 on something else. Didn't I earn it? ....maybe? LOL

    Working my way through your blog--good stuff. I like your combination of angst and outrage. I await inspiration to leave you a worthy comment....

    By Blogger Oz, at 11:42 PM, June 10, 2004  

  • Thanks for your comment on Caliblog, Oz. I don't know if you remember exactly, but it was pretty inspired. You seem to be thinking what no one else is. It's appreciated. P.S. I like your site. You have one more regular. :)

    By Blogger Chuck, at 12:50 PM, June 11, 2004  

  • Aw, Chuck, thanks. BTW, you're the cutest one. Okay, okay, I'd have sex with Amanda before you, but you can understand that. And hey, buddy, if you're looking for a blog to validate your slacker urges, you've found it, and we're glad to have you!

    By Blogger Oz, at 1:58 PM, June 11, 2004  

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