Just when I thought I'd heard every variety of traffic-ticket complaint, along came a letter last week from Glenn Logan Reitze.
Glenn got himself sawhorsed the other day.
That's right. He got a ticket because a sawhorse moved.
Impossible? Incredible? Not by Glenn's account. He's an attorney, and in lawyerly fashion, he sent along a two-page, single-spaced summary of his case, as well as a photocopy of the ticket he received. Let's listen:
"Late last night, I parked my car directly across the street from my house (in the Adams-Morgan section of town). I noted dutifully that there were several "Emergency No Parking' signs posted on the other side of the street. . . On my side of the street, some 40 feet from the back of my parked car, there was another 'Emergency No Parking' sign, this one . . . tied onto a sawhorse.
". . . That was how things stood at 10:30 p.m. By 9 a.m., the city had reaped piles of money from tickets on cas parked near the 'Emergency No Parking' signs on the other side of the street. . . (Meanwhile, on Glenn's side of the street) the sawhorse was now directly at my car door, my car ticketed and marked for towing."
Glenn could not find anybody who could explain how the sawhorse had been moved 40 feet. He did rustle up a Department of Transportation ticket-giver in the neighborhood, who "agreed firmly that galloping sawhorses were not suitable sites for signs inflicting monetary damage on law-abiding folks."
But undo the ticket? Hey, said the DOT ticket-giver, I'm not the one who wrote it.
A policeman at the 3rd District evidently was, although it was hard to tell from the scrawled signature on the ticket.
"So I called the 3rd District police," Glenn writes. "The sergeant was polite. I was polite. Everyone was polite. But of courrse no one could do anything. . ."
So there went 10 bucks. And more would go in the same way, according to Glenn Reitze, if he tried to fight the system.
"Whenever I try to deal with city officials . . . I find only one-hour meters (requiring 60 cents an hour) . . . and I can never get anything accomplished with a city employee so rapidly," he writes.
Look at it this way, Glenn. If they put the "Emergency No Parking" signs on structures that didn't move -- like lampposts or traffic signs -- and a policeman or construction worker forgot to take them down, many more people would be fined many more unfair dollars.
Still More Parking: I've gotten a lot of "Amens" since I wrote last week about the selfish people who deliberately park one car (theirs) in two curbside spaces (one of which could be ours). But I forgot to mention the equally terrific folks who do the same thing in underground garages by straddling a white line between two spaces so no one can get close enough to them to leave a dent.
Mike Lipson of Silver Spring has corrected my oversight. He also emphatically and cleverly corrected a Line Straddler at his office.
Mike works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and has been a Volkswagen driver for many years. He and another VW owner, Renworth Floyd, had noticed a Line Straddler plying his trade in their garage for months. A couple of times, Mike and Renworth had been late for work because they couldn't find another space.
So the two men nosed their respective VWs into the two-thirds of a space that the Line-Straddler had left on either side of him. They each pulled so close to the Space Hog that he couldn't open either door.
"And then," says Mike, "we made sure we stayed late at the office.
"Worked like a charm. Guy hasn't done it in years."
And similarly . . . thanks to Bill Herman of Falls Church for this slice of life from the Culmore Shopping Center on Leesburg Pike:
"Through some creative stupidity," Bill writes, "four cars were parked so close that the middle two could not be entered through either door.
"The owner of one middle car was making quite a scene when the owner of the other came up. He sized up the problem almost without breaking stride, spread his newspaper on his hood, stepped up on it, disappeared down his open sun-roof and drove off."