Thursday, April 03, 2008

More car talk.

First of all, in the inevitable NY vs. LA discussions, when hear that NY is so much more expensive because of the ridiculous rents, I gotta set the record straight. Not just because LA rents can be a bit crazy, and I always got lucky with apartments, but in California you need a car, and between payments, registration, insurance and gas, you’re tempted to pack up, move back East and kiss the conductor of the 1 train to the Upper West Side for the convenience a subway token provides.

And then there are the other car expenses.

Like repairs. I had held off on fixing the dents and dings on my old car ‘cause of the money involved. Fortunately, I came across a little cash and was ready to go up to the body shop for an estimate. Unfortunately, my car wouldn’t start. Dead battery. Thanks to Adelphia’s Triple-A membership, it was fixed in no time, but not with no money. Still, I should be grateful that was my only mechanical problems during my entire lease, right? The car ain’t vintage, but it least it’s brake-worthy, Seinfeld.

And let’s not forget about parking.

With my new car, I drove over to a nearby coffeeshop with my new laptop – lightweight and luggable unlike my last one. Getting work done, making job connections with the free wifi connection, possibly landing a lucrative gig… when I see the parking guy with his mini-meter-maid-mobile, writing me up. Actually, there was no meters there, but dammit, they were really serious about that one-hour rule, weren’t they? I’m usually so careful and this was gonna set me back fifty bucks.

Two days later, I was over at my gym – the site of my denting disaster. Traffic is crazy over there as you try to park on the street. There’s a garage, but they shortened the validation time, and it means either paying crazy overage rates, or rushing back with no time to shower, and sweatily stinking away that new car smell. So I went back to looking for spots on the street, but I got another parking ticket. I was pissed, because it wasn’t my fault – the meter was broken, and it was the only space available.

I was determined to fight this, although not so hopeful. Years ago in Hollywood I got a ticket for parking in the red… on a poorly painted curb at night with a broken street lamp overhead. My friend took a photo of the area, I wrote a letter pleading my case and included the evidence. The parking administration denied my claim, and just gave me bureaucracy bullshit, and I knew they were making it hard on me so I’d just pay, but they were right and it worked, those bastards.

Would I have any better luck this time? I called the broken meter hotline and reported the one that caused me problems. Then I tried to call the number on the ticket itself to contest it to the city, but it just put me in voicemail hell. You probably aren’t surprised. But I was. I expected to be directed to some guy in Mumbai.

So I wrote a letter. Pfft. Who reads anymore? This post has gone on long enough, right?

I was sure nothing would come of this but a collection notice telling me my parking violation fee has doubled. When I got something from the City of LA, I expected a warrant for my arrest, but it stated that they honored my claim and the ticket has been voided.

I know, it ain’t that big a deal, but I was thrilled. This town’s lousy public transportation system can really run you ragged, but it’s nice to know, once in a while, you can beat city hall.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by