On The Road Again

Michelle Driving

It’s happening again.  I’m teaching a kid to drive.  This is the last one.  Praise the lord!  This is just not my strength.

When I dropped her off for her first day of driving with the school instructor, I literally stopped, closed my eyes and prayed for that man.  He was a young father, the infant seat in his automobile clued me in.  It made me sad to think of his demise at the hands of my child.  I don’t know how much you get paid to teach someone to drive – I do know it is not enough.

After his instruction, the baton was passed to me.

If Michelle could just remember the difference between the gas pedal and the brake this experience would be so much more pleasant.

“Dad, doesn’t it makes sense that the gas pedal would be the bigger of the two?”

“Actually, I would prefer you stop more than you go.”

She asked to drive the family to my parents’ house in Fayetteville for Thanksgiving – down Interstate 95.  It was the week after she completed Drive’s Ed.  I said, “Absolutely not.”  She said, “But dad, I have three days experience.”

I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable with Michelle and I-95 after three years of experience.

I did let her drive to church the Sunday after the holiday.  Her sisters and I buckled in as she backed out of the driveway.  As we rolled toward the street, I gently said, “Brake.”  She accidentally pressed the gas pedal.  A chorus of shouts came at her from every direction.  I did not get angry at my older kids for the curse words that fell from their mouths.  I understood

“It isn’t helpful for all of you to yell at me!”

I explained that when someone was in grave danger, the response was automated, that we couldn’t help ourselves.

Maybe Acura should take her suggestion and make the gas pedal larger.  Or better yet, put the brake on the passenger side of the vehicle.  That would be helpful.

On her way home from the DMV, where she aced the written exam, we pretended to be in England – driving down Lake Boone Trail on the left side of the street.  To her credit, there were cars parked along the curb on the right side.  She was trying to give them a wide berth.  She did.  She gave them a VERY wide berth.  So wide.

She’s actually not all that bad.  I have a tendency to accentuate the rough spots.  And compared to her sisters, she’s not horribly behind.  Once DJ took a curb so tight after a major rain storm that she doused a jogger running by.  I sank into my seat from embarrassment.  He flipped her the bird.  She also got in a three car pileup on her second day of Driver’s Ed.  At least Michelle got through basic training without a moving violation!

Stephanie struggled with the whole gas/brake pedal conundrum as well majorly accelerating instead of braking while trying to park at the Harris Teeter one day.  I think they get that from my mother.  She’s not very good behind the wheel and can hardly see over the seat.  I haven’t ridden with her since I got my license.  I don’t think my dad has ever ridden with her behind the wheel.  He’s a very smart man.

I am so thankful I don’t have four children.  I simply don’t think I could do this again.  I’m anxious by nature – this parental responsibility is NOT a good fit for me.

SHE Change My Tire?

Flat Tire

I have had three flat tires this year.  THREE.  And all have been due to nails or screws.  What’s up with this?  Did someone working on the hardware aisle of the Home Depot move into my neighborhood?

Last time I tried to change the tire, I couldn’t find the spare.  I tore the back of my car up looking for the dang thing and finally, a child of mine took out the car manual and discovered where my Michelin was stored.  It was actually hidden under the car like on an airplane or something.  When I was a kid, the spare was just rolling around the back of the station wagon with a half can of cheese whiz and some Fiddle Faddle.  Not anymore.  In my car, you actually have to lower the tire from the bowels of the underneath with a socket.  Then it dangles between the hydraulic back disc brakes like one long rubber testicle.

So the last time I changed my tire, I decided it would be the last time that I would change a tire.  It’s a lot of work, and I risk getting grease on my bowtie.  It’s just not me.  That’s why I have Triple A.

When my battery went dead in February, I called them late at night.  I met the technician in the driveway.  SHE strolled up and hooked her positive on my positive and her negative on my negative and within a few seconds, I was all revved up.

I’ll have to admit, I was a little taken aback that a woman showed up at my house to fix my car while I drank hot cocoa and ironed my dress shirt for the next day.  I stood out there with her for a few minutes and after it was apparent she knew what she was doing, I retreated to my warm house scurrying after my children as if being a widower gave me an excuse to have a double xx chromsomer manhandle my alternator.

I was OK with the battery charge, anyone can do that.  I have jumper cables in my car and have used them quite often.  I just didn’t have another car in the driveway to help share the juice.

But I sort of had a slight panic attack when I realized that a woman might show up to change my tire.  How could I stand by while Sheera hoisted my car in the air, stripped off my lug nuts and lifted a 25 pound tire off the chassis?

I told Michelle my fear.

“That’s sexist!  Grow up dad!  Women can do anything men can do.  I’m disappointed in you.”

You’d think a father of three strong females wouldn’t have my concern.  I want equal rights for them, the same opportunities as men.  Although I’ll have to say I don’t have a dream of them changing tires for a living.

Fortunately for me, a woman did not show that night.  It was a man, with a mouth full of chewing tobacco.  A good fit for me.

As I worked to get the tire lowered from underneath my car, he glared over at me, “I got this.  You ain’t gotta do nothin’.”

I went back inside and did some push ups – a very manly thing to do.

Breeze and Coffee, mmmmmm…

annie in mini

I’m almost 50.  It’s about time for a mid-life crisis.  I mean, the likelihood that I’ll live to 100 is slim to none.  I’m actually behind.

I can’t have an affair, I’m not married.

I really can’t grow a goatee; work won’t allow me to come in scruffy.

I can’t quit my job.  I got kids to support.  Plus, I really like what I do.

Sometimes I don’t get a haircut for six or eight weeks.  That’s me rebelling.  Whoa.

But this week, I sort of got to sow some oats.

DJ traded cars with me on Sunday so she could bring all of her stuff home from summer camp, and she left me with her convertible mini cooper.  Whoop- whoop!

I whipped around town without regard to anyone who might be watching.  I sang, I grooved, the breeze was inspiring.

Michelle was less enthusiastic.  She  and I have differing opinions of the appropriate use of a convertible.  My philosophy is:  It’s a convertible, the top goes down.  Period.

The other day I was driving her to cross-country practice at 7:15 in the morning.  It was beee-u-ti-ful outside, 68 degrees, sunny, a slight breeze.  Naturally, the first thing I did when I got in the car after putting my large jug of coffee in the cup holder, was to press the button that starts the process of opening the roof.

“Dad, what are you doing?”

“I don’t understand your question.”

“Don’t open the roof.”

“But this is a convertible.”

“I just braided my hair, and I don’t want to get all smelly.”

“I thought I was taking you to cross-country, not the debutante ball.  The roof is coming off!”

“Dad!”

“You are about to run around a lake for an hour.  I think this is the least of your grooming concerns.”

If it was 95 or 32 degrees outside, I might have considered her request.  But it wasn’t.

Besides, when the roof is all shut up, I sort of feel like I’m riding around in a beer can, dark and cramped.

I’ll have to admit, after spinning around in the mini, I do smell a bit musty when I get to work.  And, my hair sort of resembles Phyllis Diller’s, but it is so worth it.

There is something about breeze that brings me to life.  It makes me want to sing loudly, to flail my arms in the wind, to laugh, to take deep breaths.  Add coffee on top of that… mmm, a slice of heaven right on the I-440 beltline.

Hand Cream?

glove compartment

Over the Fourth of July weekend, my mom and dad were riding with me in my car.  We were having a very nice conversation when my mother asked me a peculiar question:

“Do you have any hand cream in your car?”

“Hand cream?  Like lotion?”

“Yes.”

“No.  Surprisingly I don’t.”

“Well my car has hand cream.”

“I also don’t have shampoo, conditioner or baby powder in here.  Because this is the car, not the bathroom linen closet.”

“Do you have an umbrella?”

“Yes.  I have three.  And a bible – a kid’s bible, but it is there if you need inspiration.  We leave it here because Mrs. Shuman gets very mad if Michelle shows up for Sunday School without her bible, and although I believe us to be good people, it is not something I am prone to remembering on my way out the door on a Sunday morning.  So we just leave it in the car.”

My dad is a preacher.  He’s probably wondering why we aren’t using that well animated epistle on a Tuesday.

“I send her to get it when we have weekday bible emergencies.”

The next day, we took my dad’s minivan to the lake to see my brother.  I got curious, so I opened one of two large glove compartments on the passenger side of the car.

“That’s your mother’s,” my father explained.

And there before me was a mini Rite Aid.

Three pairs of reading glasses, Gas X, a baggie full of toilet seat covers (would she really come back to the car after going into a restroom and pulling down her pants to get one of those?), a miniature umbrella (in case she needed to sneak one into the White House on a rainy day tour perhaps), several packages of Lance Nabs (their half-life is decades), salt, pepper, creamer (with stirrer, because McDonald’s is cutting back), a hair pick (for maximum teasing), a rain jacket (that was my dad’s), a small, black clutch with rhinestones on it (you never know when you’re gonna get that unexpected call to attend a formal event), a fanny pack, pliers, M & Ms, pens, pencils, a typewriter (exaggerating!), and of course… hand cream.

That is not all, that’s just all I can remember.

I have never seen so much stuff crammed into one little 12” x 6” pocket.

She really ought to pack the next rocket going to the space station.  They would never want for anything.

They’re Gonna Find You

DSC_0104

It all seemed to be going so perfectly.  I figured I’d need to get DJ a new car when she graduated from high school, the old 1998 Subaru just wasn’t likely to make it much longer.  Besides, DJ had built enough character driving the most embarrassing car in Raleigh for two whole years.

Interestingly, it died, earlier this month, two weeks before graduation.

I wasn’t stressed because I had the inside scoop.  I knew her grandfather was going to give her his car, a 2007 Mini Cooper, for graduation.  It’s about the size of a bathroom stall, but it sure is fun to drive.

The plan went off without a hitch.  She was thrilled!

And then, I went down to the DMV to transfer the title.  As I was leaving work to snag DJ who was going to accompany me on this task, I asked a group of folks in my office if I had to have cash, not sure if this government agency would take my credit card.

My boss overheard us.  “I don’t think you do.”

“How much do you think it will cost?  I might take some just in case.”

“About $35.”

I ran by the bank and snagged two twenties just in case.  I like to be prepared.

When we got there, I unscrewed the license plate.  I wasn’t sure if we could keep it or if we had to get another.

When I gave Lisa’s old car to the junkyard, I kept the tag – told them I lost it.  In reality, I just needed it.

Amazingly, when we got inside the line was short, perhaps because we went on the Friday morning before Memorial Day weekend.  When it came our turn, the clerk began punching buttons on the computer.   I also noticed a card swiper in front of her station – VISA would have been OK.

Her keyboard was noisy, like the old ones you had to press down an inch or so to get a response.

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink. 

DJ and I were casually chatting while she worked.

She handed me the new tag in an opaque envelope.

“Thank you.”  It was clean, straight from the prison I imagined.  I was admiring the First in Flight when I heard the news…

“That’ll be $530.85 Mr. Tanner.”

“Excuse me?”

DJ later told me my facial expression was priceless.

“It’s $530,85.”

“Come again?”

She handed me the printout in Courier font, and she began to go through the seven charges listed.

“This is for DMV technical improvements.”

A worthy tax I guessed.  Besides, it was just a dollar.

“This is the Highway Use Tax.”

“What the heck is that?”  It was $279.60!

“It is 3% of the value of your car.”

“What if she promises to only drive on back roads?  DJ, you don’t need highways do you?”

“Sir.”

“But it’s just a little car.  It won’t take up much space!  And it doesn’t weigh much, and neither does she!  DJ, what do you weigh?”

My child began to look away.  She could see there were five more charges for me to dispute.

“What is this ‘Mercury Bill Payable’ charge?  We won’t be driving on other planets?”

“Dad, it’s only a dollar.  I can pay that for you.”  DJ reached in her pocket.

The clerk patiently went through the NC Certificate of Title, the plate calculation fee and the registration Transportation Authority fee.

Then I noticed the property tax.

“My father in law just paid property taxes on this car last month, he told me this week!  And now you’re telling me I have to pay them again?”

“Yes.  Sir, these are your taxes.  This is your property now.  Those were his taxes.”

“I don’t mind paying them next year, but why do we have to pay twice in one year?”

She repeated herself, “These are your property taxes.  This is your property now.”

“Damn Sam.”

Politicians say they want to simplify taxes.  I guess they think if they take it all, it is simpler than if they just take some of it.

When we got to the car, DJ reminded me that it was a gift, that we didn’t have to pay for it.

“Yea.  I know.  We got a deal.”

“Then why did you make such a scene?”

I didn’t really have an answer for that.  When it comes to taxes, something just comes over me.

Another Hot Rod Tanner

wheres-the-beef

I remember it being a bit traumatic when DJ got her license.  She drove so slow and so close to the right side of the road that I considered getting a second job as a mailman.  Sitting on the passenger side of the car, I could have easily delivered the mail on our route to school, church or the grocery store.  It would have given me something to focus on other than just how quickly I might die.

Now, it has come time for my second daughter to drive.  Yes, Stephanie, all 5’1” of her, is taking Driver’s Ed.  Whew!  Perhaps even scarier than the first.

Although I have yet to warn my coworkers, we have spent some time practicing in my office parking lot.  I can’t think of anyone I’d like to take out at the current moment, but I’d suggest any of you fellow Y employees reading this be kind to me.  We’ve only practiced on weekends when those dudes in the office down the hall are the only ones still at work.  The ones who invented steel kidneys, or some medical miracle, and who are making a bazillion dollars a year.  But if you miff me, I might put her behind the wheel at 5 PM on a Monday when you’re scurrying to your car.

Other than working to help her remember the difference between drive and reverse – she’s going to have to master that – my biggest concern is how close she has to pull the seat up to get to the steering wheel.

When Stephanie gets in the driver’s seat that I’ve been occupying, it looks like a three-year-old who puts on her 6-foot-four father’s business suit.  She can’t even reach the gas pedal.

She proceeds to use the automatic adjustments to raise the seat to maximum height and shift it forward until you can’t fit a baseball between her chest and the steering wheel.  Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, at 7’ 2”, would have plenty of leg room sitting behind her in the backseat of my 2007 Acura MDX.

She kinda reminds me of the Where’s the Beef lady from the 1980’s Wendy’s commercials, or my mother.  All petite.  All requiring me to contort myself when entering an automobile after they’ve driven.

Stephanie will whip around the parking lot and then jump out of the car leaving me to readjust the seat when I take back over.  I try to squeeze in, my head touching the sunroof and my knees tickling my ear lobes.  It’s kinda like leaving the toilet seat up.  Geeze.

Oh well, I guess it’s inevitable, we’re going to be on the road soon.  So be on the lookout for a silver SUV with Rhea Pearlman behind the wheel and a very anxious father on the passenger side.  Rest assured, I’ll make sure the car’s in drive before hitting the highway.

The Changing of the Tire

tire change 2tire change 1

It seems like I spend so much time dealing with girl issues, it’s kinda nice to occasionally have a manly task to tackle. My opportunity came last week.

I assumed it was nothing when my dashboard lit up with the “low air in tire” signal. I figured a little had seeped out over the past few months, sort of like my hair gel. I’ve had the same jar for the past two years and noticed recently that it might be time to reinvest in a bit more Surfer Hair. Nothing to be alarmed about – there was time before an emergency.

I was going to stop to check out my front passenger side Michelin, but I was tired, so I kept driving.

DJ, Stephanie and I pulled into the Zaxby’s to pick up a healthy feast of chicken strips and Texas toast. I promised to warm up some frozen peas to round out our meal. I could tell they were thrilled.

As we pulled out of the drive through and onto Hillsborough Street, it was apparent my seeping was a little more serious than I had originally thought: a tire so flat I could barely turn the steering wheel.

I pulled into the service station conveniently positioned ten yards in front of us. This wasn’t a gas station, this was a real garage – like one that works on your carburetor and stuff.

How lucky am I? I thought.  Until I realized it was closed.

I briefly considered calling Triple A, but my pride wouldn’t let me. I just couldn’t stand there in suit and tie while some dude in a homemade tank top with his crack hanging out man handled my treads. I was gonna have to do this myself. Plus, I figured this was a great opportunity to teach the girls how to change a tire!

“Dad. What are you going to do?” my eldest asked.

“I’m going to change the tire,” not flinching in my decision.

“You?” Her eyebrows were up, her pupils fixed on my bow tie.

“Yes. Me.”

Stephanie had to toss her thoughts into the conversation, “This should be interesting.”

I went to the back of the vehicle and removed my suit coat and tie. I looked down at my favorite dress shirt covering my huge pecs and arms. That needs to go too.

There’s something so manly about standing in public with only your Hanes t-shirt on. White tee, suit pants and wing tips. Yeah – get at me.

DJ sent a text to the woman who was bring Michelle home from an afternoon playdate to let her know we’d be late.

I found her response extremely offensive.

“Mrs. Horton asked if you could change a tire.”

Well, I can…if I can find the spare.

This was the first time I’d had to do anything mechanical on this vehicle and I struggled to find the tools I needed to complete the task.

“The first step, girls, is to find the tire.”

We looked everywhere. Lifted every hatch and covey we could possibly find.

“I know it’s in here somewhere.”

Stephanie went to the glove compartment to get the directions.

“We don’t need directions to change a tire!”

She didn’t listen – instead she began to read.

“Apparently the tire is under the car. You have to use this thing,” she handed me a tool that I’d tossed on the sidewalk, “to lower down.”

She then stuck the metal device into a hole near the back bumper of my MDX and began to twist it. Within a few seconds, the tire appeared from beneath my vehicle.

“That was the next place I was going to look,” I informed Miss Smarty Pants.

I don’t know why they screw the lug nuts on as if the car is going to be thrust into outer space. I had to put the wrench on each one and jump up and down on it using the entire weight of my body to loosen the boogers.

As I bounced up and down, I glanced at the line of traffic at the nearby stoplight. There were three cars in a row, windows down, all packed with NC State students heading back to their dorms. All were looking at me. All were clearly amused.

What I didn’t know was that my two daughters were standing behind me with their phones at their faces, videotaping my every move. They were capturing the moment to broadcast to their friends on social media.

At first I was riled, “You are NOT being helpful! Put those things down!”

But then I warmed to the idea. This would be proof that I could indeed change a tire.

 

 

Driver’s License, here we come!

license

At the end of this month, DJ gets her license.  I’m feeling pretty good about her driving.  As I coach her, she often reminds me that she is not stupid.  I remind her that I have driven for thirty years and that it is my side of the car that is facing the mac truck she could potentially pull in front of.  It goes like this:

“Don’t pull out yet.”

“There is a huge orange truck coming our way!  Do you think I’m stupid?”

“I’m just reminding you.  Remember, you don’t know the inner beltline from your innie belly button.”

“That’s directions!  That’s different!”

She says she hates to drive, but that she can’t wait to get in a car without me.  I told her that hurt my feelings.  I don’t think she cared.

My concern has moved from unsafe driving to some basics that I think might hold her back.

She cannot, will not, just refuses to remember to turn the lights off when she stops the car at night.  The automatic bell rings as a reminder.  It does not help.

“DJ, don’t you hear the ringing?  It’s not a doorbell!  It is a reminder to either take your keys out of the ignition or turn off your lights.”

“When I was a kid, I learned to tune that ding out.  It means nothing to me.”

I called Acura, “Is there a way to switch the gentle bell ringing reminder to a nice, loud elephant call?”  Apparently there is not.

I told her today as she drove by the second missed turn on our way back to our beach house, “One day I’m gonna send you to the grocery store and you’re going to end up in Ft. Lauderdale.”

“About Georgia I would realized I had missed a turn,” she snipped.

But the end all – be all occurred Monday night when the two of us were driving back from the grocery store at Ocean Isle Beach.

“Can we stop for ice cream dad?”

“Yeah, but don’t tell your sisters.”

As we pulled into the parking place, she quickly opened the door and headed into the parlor.  I sat in disbelief.  Not only had she forgotten to turn the lights out, not only had she left the keys in the car, she had left them in the ignition.  And, the car was still running!”

“Hey DJ,” I yelled.  “You forgot something.”

“I didn’t hear the bell.”

“There wasn’t one.  The MDX thought you were still driving – because you hadn’t turned him off!!”

I can see it now.  I’m at home, comfy in my chair watching the evening news.   Brrrring, Brrrring –

“Hello?   DJ.  You’re out of gas?  Where did you drive?  Just to the mall?  It’s only five minutes from the house.

What?  You’ve been there three hours and you never turned off the car?”

Is it stealing if the keys are still in it and the car is left on?  I can hear the thief now.

“Your Honor.  I thought she was giving it to me.  The key was in the ignition and the car was running.  She even left the seat warmer on.  Looked like a gift to me.”

Good lord above, please help me.

 

Curb Side Driving

misc-man-getting-splashed-by-car

One day recently I wrote the letters SU on a post it note and stuck it to the glove compartment door in the car.  When DJ climbed into the driver’s seat, she looked over and asked me what it stood for..

“It’s to remind me to shut up when you’re driving,” I explained.

I’m really not a good driver’s ed teacher.  I am impatient with the process.  When we’re in a hurry, I want her to speed up.

At the roundabout at the corner of Oberlin and Hillsborough Streets I might chide, “Go! This is your chance.  You’ve got to be aggressive!”

When she’s seemingly flying down Clark Avenue, 3.7″ from the parallel parked cars on my side of the street, I begin to pray out loud, “Dear Lord God above, for I know we have sinned but please do not punish us this day with death.  Please Lord let us make it this beautiful morning that you have created to the St. Mary’s school driveway.”

I’ve found that neither approach is effective in changing her driving behavior or helpful in calming my nerves.  I actually find that when I keep my mouth mostly shut, she’s does fairly well.  In fact, seven months into this process, I think she’s gaining more confidence on the road, and I’m gaining more confidence in her.

There were some points early on, well let’s just say a cable network would have bleeped me.

“Dad!  Why do you scream like that?”

“I do the same thing when a cobra lurches toward me!  It’s just instinct.  I can’t help it!”

There was the time it had been pouring down rain.  Although just sprinkling at this point, there were still huge puddles of water on the sides of the road from the unexpected downpour a few minutes earlier.

I’m not sure why new drivers cling so hard to the curb, but I recall one of the scariest moments of my life was when I was 15 and riding in the back of my driver’s education car while my classmate Carolanne Rahal moseyed up Roberson Street in Fayetteville, NC.  I leaned in to the third student in the car hopeful to avoid the telephone poles that were dangerously close to my forehead.

On this damp day, I thought DJ was doing pretty good considering the driving conditions.  The roads were wet but she was moving cautiously and had even mastered the delayed windshield wiper setting.  All was good, until we approached an oncoming puddle nearly the size of Lake Michigan.  With cars approaching in the other direction, DJ kept her commitment to a football field’s length between her car door and the double yellow line.

I tried to explain that the white concrete curbing that meets the black asphalt was not a ten inch tire lane and in fact was not really meant for cars at all.  She didn’t listen, she didn’t stop and she didn’t even slow down.

As we powered through the puddle, I noticed two joggers headed our way on the sidewalk.  We all, well all but DJ, saw what was coming.  As the wall of water, more than five feet tall, rose up toward the runners, they crouched to cover their heads from the impending tsunami.  I think crouching just made it worse.  They were doused.  Michelle and Stephanie were in awe.  I was embarrassed, working to wave my hands as a sign of apology.

And DJ?  Although slightly remorseful, she got so tickled I thought she was going to pee her pants.

If her driving is any indication, she should have no trouble parallel parking.  She is very, very familiar with the curbs.

Here come the judge…

I have an Adjudication Hearing coming up at the court-house in a couple of weeks.  I don’t even know what that is – it sounds horrible.  Apparently it is where a judge hears the evidence for my court case.

Yeah, I’m headed to court.  And I’ll go all the way if necessary – Roberts, Scalia, Ginsberg – get ready.  I may be on my way.

Two Saturdays ago, I drove to downtown Raleigh.  It was Winterfest, a street fair, and DJ’s accapella group was singing on the main stage.  I drove up Hargett Street and took a left onto Fayetteville Street.  Amazingly, I saw an empty parallel spot on my side of the road – prime real estate I thought.

I have a friend who recently informed me that she is a “lucky parker” – as if it was an innate talent, part genetic and part hard work on her part.  I, on the other hand, am not.

I am the one cramming a medium-sized SUV into the “compact only” spot because there are no other options.  I am the one following the old lady to her parking spot – where I wait, my signal turned on, my heart racing for fear someone is going to nab the space before I can pull in after waiting for her to methodically load each of her 13 bags into her trunk.   I am the one sitting there when she closes the trunk and heads back into the mall.  Her visit merely a way to lighten her load and torque my rear.

I’ll admit, I have occasionally, later in the evening, parked in the parent with young children spot at the Harris Teeter.  They don’t define “young” anywhere on the sign.  Michelle is “young” … compared to my mother’s children.

And I used to park in the “visitor” spaces at work – because there are six of them, and we don’t have six guests at one time.  But I don’t do that anymore because they sent an email out and said they were going to tow anyone parked in those spots if they weren’t a visitor.  How would they know?  Would they really sit out there an watch?

So I’m not gonna win the Parking Integrity Award, but I did NOT intentionally park in the “For Electric Cars Only Plugin” parking space!  I did not see it, honest.  Why?  I’ll tell you why.

ev space

This is NOT the space where I got a ticket – cause you can see this one!!

1) The plug station is six feet (I went back and measured) from the curb.  On one side of downtown, the plug stations are right at the space, less than a foot from the curb and there are two bright green barriers on either side to designated the spot.  But not on Fayetteville Street!  I could lay down and nap between this plug station and my car.  Furthermore, if someone did plug their car in there, the cord would dangle across six feet of sidewalk!  That is dangerous.  I can just see the old lady with 13 packages tripping over it and breaking a hip – and it’s all down hill from there.

2) It is about 3 1/2 feet tall and gray.  That is the same color and size of the credit card swipe machine that you use to pay for parking.  I didn’t use one that day because it was on the weekend and parking is FREE – unless they hide a plug-in space and charge you $50 for parking in it.

3)  It was surrounded by the following things:  A gray planter, a grayish tree, gray bricked sidewalks and gray bricked borders – a black light post and the actual parking credit card swipe machine (also gray).  In addition, it was surrounded by the 3,000 people who attended Winterfest – an inordinate number of them wearing gray I noticed.  For crying out loud, it’s in front of a gray building!

I backed in and got out of the car on the driver’s side walking directly down the street for a block or so before cutting across to the sidewalk.  When I returned to my car and pulled off, I noticed the white ticket on my windshield.  When I returned downtown to find the space I was in because I could not believe I actually had missed a plug-in station, I had to get out of my car because I couldn’t see the damn thing while driving by – even though I was aggressively looking for it – BECAUSE IT IS NOT VISIBLE FROM THE STREET!

Those Horses Behinds have declined my written appeal even with an extremely detailed explanation including height, width and distance measurements.  So now, I guess I adjuncticate.  And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to the City Manager, and then the Mayor and then the Governor and to Barack Obama if necessary!

Did I mention that there is nothing painted on the asphalt to designate a special space?

I gonna end up in jail.

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