Sunday, November 07, 2010

Parking Issues

So it's Sunday and as I think I've said before, that means that people attending the Chinese Language School nearby come and park everywhere since there's no convenient lot. About every other weekend I'll find someone has parked a few feet into my driveway making it very difficult to get in and out (there are low stone walls on either side so there isn't a lot of room to maneuver. Apparently my town doesn't ticket on Sundays so all I can do is call to have cars towed, which does seem excessive to me and I haven't done so. I have posted a sign that says the town law is to leave five feet around a driveway but it hasn't helped. I now leave notes on windshields or confront people as they get back to their car. I've also start photographing the offending cars and their license plates so I can make a case and complain to the town.

So today when a car was a few feet into my driveway I went outside and took two photos. While doing so a woman returned and said she was very sorry. I explained she wasn't the first but it happens every weekend to me and the law is to leave 5 feet around a driveway and I'd be happy with you merely not being actually into my driveway. She drove a way.

IMG_0141 1.jpgA few hours later my doorbell rang and it was the woman who said she was very sorry and she handed me this plant she bought to make up for it. She said she felt really badly about it and had spoken to her husband. I explained that this happens most weekends and she's not the only one to have done it but she is the only one who's ever gotten me a gift to make up for it and I thanked her for it. It doesn't bother me when people park a few minutes just to drop people off as she had done but it's much worse when they come and park for 3 hours at a time. As I was saying this, while standing at my front door, another car had parked a few feet into my driveway and a woman got out and was walking away. I yelled "Excuse me, could you not park in my driveway!" She asked if she could just pull up and I said it's fine as long as you're not in my driveway.

I would have thought this would have made the point to the first woman who was still there. I thanked her again but she wasn't merely doing the "I'm sorry, here's a gift, let me not take anymore of your time" thing. She spoke with a strong accent and I wasn't sure if I was missing a cultural cue. We kept talking and I said that the town doesn't ticket on Sundays and the only option I have is to call to have cars towed but I don't really want to do that. I said I've been taking pictures to build a case just to demonstrate the problem and it occurred to me that she was concerned about the photo. She asked if I could send it to her and I said I would delete the one I took of her car and ended the conversation, thanking her again.

The woman was obviously concerned about possible repercussions of the photo though I don't know what she thinks they might have been. All I could possibly think of would be a later parking ticket (about $20) but that seems unlikely. Maybe she stole the car or had unregistered plates? Whatever. I've been fairly resigned to being annoyed on Sunday afternoons and today I had a pleasant surprise.


DKB said...

The fact that you're too nice to have people towed for blocking your driveway reminds me that you once said I was more like a New Yorker than you are.

Irina said...

She could be illegal and worry that now she may be deported. She could be legal but her husband could illegal. Or they might all be perfectly fine but, being a foreigner, she was simply paranoid about things that could go wrong in this mysterious country of ours. My parents were terrified of simplest, innocent things like a call to a jury duty. Mother, with her limited English, interpreted it as an order to surrender to authorities and await your fate. Immigrants are frightened, fragile and unsure of their rights. Your flowers were just a bribe.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like where I live in the UK.

I went to the stores and got fined £50 for being three minuets over my ticket!

The Septic Tank Man

Anonymous said...

She and her husband may be here perfectly legally - but if they're recent immigrants from the PRC, they most likely have deep-seated fears of even the most innocent sort of interaction with the police.

I used to work for a research lab that had several scientists/engineers who were originally from China. Even though most had lived here in the US for many many years (several had worked hard to become (proud) American citizens), they all would get *extremely* uneasy when in the presence of uniformed officers. Gave me a real visceral appreciation of just how screwed up the PRC is (and just how lucky we are to live in our democracy - contentiousness and all).

The Dad said...

I wonder how long a construction cone would last if you placed one on either side of your driveway early Sunday morning. Might be an easy way to solve the problem. Or a sign in your yard saying, "don't block the driveway". Unfortunately you could get abusive with the car, but you don't really have an issue with repeat offenders so that wouldn't help any.