A quick trip on the wrong side of the law
I read this week in our esteemed publication that folks living in/visiting Breckenridge have racked up roughly $134,000 in unpaid parking tickets in the past three years. That equates to an estimate of 6,700 $20 tickets, not including the doings of the scum-of-the-earth no-goodniks who have parked illegally in spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Those tickets, as I understand, go for a well-deserved $100.The town plans to engage on April 15 a decade-old ordinance that allows cars to be towed if they have three or more unpaid tickets. To the town of Breckenridge, I say godspeed. Go after those violators and bring them to justice. Engage in the chase, if you will.
I say this not so much because parking violations are on my short list of Things That Are Wrong With The Universe. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that Breckenridge needs to be vigilant about where and how long people park their cars. But from an entertainment standpoint, I’d rather the town just booted the biggest violators. (It’s infinitely more fun to watch a car owner discover the metal boot on his car than to see him scratch his head and stare at the empty parking space that was occupied by his towed car. Have you ever seen someone try to drive away with a boot?)What I’m getting at is this: Parking violations allow law-abiding citizens a small piece of the action, a couple strides on the wild side, if you will. All of us need to be bad – it’s just a matter of how much we decide to take on. My son, for example, fessed up yesterday that he’d been booted out of homeroom for a few minutes (not the same as a car boot, but I’m guessing a similar device for 13-year-old boys would be good). My reaction to the offense was not so much the substance of the violation, but rather if he had gotten enough out of it that he would go on to be a relatively good citizen and not rob convenience stores or that bank in Vail that gets held up by morons all the time.
I digress. Most of us pay for that occasional parking ticket we may come upon, but there’s always the little voice that says, “Come on, mess with The Man, What’s the worst that can happen?” If you’re 2,000 miles from home and the offending vehicle was rented (or stolen), that voice is loud and clear: “Pass Go and collect $200. Try as he will, Johnny Law doesn’t have a chance.”The truth of the matter, of course, is that diligence and technology will find you/abduct your car, and for some of us, that brief thrill is all we need for our little visit to Badness. For example, my spouse and I incurred a parking violation several years ago in New Orleans. Even then, it was apparent that felons of all kinds were running rampant in the Crescent City, and it was our feeling that New Orleans had way too much depravity on its hands to worry about a couple of idiots from the North who had parked a half-hour too long during Mardi Gras.When New Orleans found us several weeks later, we sent the city’s top officials a solvent check and a cheery note congratulating them for tracking us down in the bowels of Brooklyn.
We felt good about being a couple rebels, and New Orleans no doubt felt good about bringing a major crime to a close. It may be the only violation the city has solved in 50 years, so Duane and I feel especially good about our role therein.So to all the rebels hunkering down in Breckenridge (or elsewhere, upon having visited our fine town), I say relish your time on the wrong side of the law. That, or just get it over with and pay the fine.Tara Flanagan writes a Wednesday column. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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