May 5 - Lisa's Musings (on parking tickets) and Every Day Life
Today started out with such promise; planned as a multiple farm story day.
I met with three Lima Township farmers for a story.
And, I helped put out a fire.
Well, actually, I stood there and watched -- while one of the farmer's put out a fire in his tractor with a large jug of water I carry in my van for the dogs.
Ironically, it was after he'd explained to me that he paid a lot of taxes for his farmland in the township that didn't require fire or emergency services -- like people in houses do.
So I guess he was right. I provided the water to put out the fire.
He had a jug of coffee and tossed that on it first, but, it wasn't out, so my water did the trick.
I guess this means I get a fire extinguishing assist.
What had happened was a bird built a nest on the engine -- the tractor had been sitting around without being used for four days -- and when he drove it to the site where we were meeting, all those sticks and other nest-building stuff got hot and caught on fire.
I thought I smelled something while we were talking, but I thought it was diesel fuel.
You know, normal tractor stuff.
The smoke and flames proved otherwise.
But, the tractor was fine, except a little black soot on the side, and it started up later.
The nest, however, not so much. It's strewn on the ground.
So, that was pretty exciting.
After that, I headed to Ann Arbor to the Farmer's Market to interview more farmers.
Once there, I drove around and around and around -- trying to find a parking spot.
But there were none in my usual haunts, so I headed to the parking lot at Community High School.
Now, I saw the signs that said permit parking only during school hours, but I was hoping it was just on one side of the lot -- that on the other side, it was OK to park.
I saw other people parking there, heading to the market.
So like a lemming, I followed.
I fed the meter for two hours and took a chance.
At the end of my second interview and video, I mentioned to one of the vendors where my van was parked.
Then said jokingly, if you see them handing out tickets, let me know.
With that, I was on my way to my next interview.
But, before I headed to my third vendor, I couldn't help myself -- I stopped to buy two pretzels from Mill Pond Bread.
I LOVE those pretzels!
And while there, the vendor -- who coincidentally works as the mayor's administrative assistant -- tracked me down to tell me tickets were being written.
So, I zoomed to my van, hoping that I could get there before I got nabbed.
No such luck.
So, I acknowledged the nice 'metermen' and they nicely explained that those parking signs during school hours , eh, they apply to both sides of the parking lot.
So I asked if I could pay them the ticket, but they wouldn't take my money. But they nicely explained where I could pay it immediately.
Then the really, really bad part happened.
Despite already having my ticket, I had to move my van.
I pleaded my case -- saying, "Wait, I still have an hour on the meter and I've already gotten a ticket, why can't I just finish my interviews first?"
Nope. I had to move.
So, I did.
I drove around for another 20 minutes to all of my usual parking lots and still couldn't find a parking spot.
So, I called it a day, decided to come back next week, and left downtown Ann Arbor.
Truth be told, I was more pissed about the minutes still left on the meter than the $25 ticket.
So, I figure it's my contribution to the city's coffers, along with all the other ticketed vehicles I saw in that lot.
Maybe it will help a policeman keep his job during these lean budget times. The city is talking about laying off 20 men in blue.
But, I did have my pretzels, so, despite a slight glitch, it was a pretty good morning.
And I learned an important parking lesson, which I pondered, while munching on a pretzel on the way home.
I think this is the first parking ticket I've ever gotten.
Except maybe once when I was a student at U-M.
Every student with a car on campus gets at least one ticket in four years. I think it's a rite of passage.
But that was so long ago, I don't remember.