Immediately after saying goodbye to La at the airport, I got into an argument with a traffic cop. I'd turned around from curbside check-in, to walk back to the car, and I saw a parking ticket stuck under the wiper. Just a minute before, I'd talked with a guard and reassured him that I wasn't going inside the terminal. But I got a ticket anyway. I picked it off the windshield and looked at it. It read: "Airport code violation: 25$". I walked over to the cop standing nearby - the one I'd talked to - and asked him, "What's this about?"
"I didn't write it," he said.
"So who did?"
"Musta been one of the other guys." He pointed back down the length of the busy, traffic-choked sidewalk.
I turned around to look, and there was another cop, writing out a second ticket for my car.
"Oh, so now you're writing a second one, huh?" I yelled, holding up the ticket in my hand.
The second officer looked up from his notepad, saw the ticket, and said, "I didn't write that one."
"But you're going to give me another?"
"An officer can write as many tickets as he wants, until you move your car."
I was livid, and already yelling. "So you can just stand there and write them out as fast as you can, huh?"
"Every five minutes."
"It hasn't been five minutes since this." I held up the first ticket.
At this point he made a great show of studying his watch, squinting at the ticket, and looking at his clipboard. He replied, "my watch says it has been." Then he finished scribbling on his clipboard and handed the second ticket to me.
We yelled back and forth for a little longer, but finally I got in my car. As I was preparing to drive away, the three traffic cops converged at the sidewalk outside my car and began talking. I rolled down my window just in time to hear: "I think that guy's gonna complain." "Yeah, well fuck him."
While I was driving away I decided that I was going to fight both tickets in court, especially since the second one was issued so quickly. Fuming, I parked by the side of the road and called The La, to ask if there was anything she could do inside the airport. Get the names of those guys perhaps. She talked to a few people and left a complaint via voicemail to an office, but then she had to get on her plane. "I guess I'll be seeing them in court," I said. La said some reassuring words to me and we hung up. That's when I finally took a good look at the second ticket.
The officer had falsified the time. According to the ticket he wrote, my car had been parked at the check-in curb for over an hour.
Foaming at the mouth, I drove straight back to the airport and parked in the regular lot. I composed myself, and got the old Recordo Box out the trunk of the car and stuffed it in my sweater. Whoever I talked to, I wanted it to be on tape.
I ended up having a long conversation with one of the security managers in the upper office. He was sympathetic to my story. It also helped that I'd been able to show him a photo of the second ticket - which read "12:00 noon" - that I'd had the brains to take with my celphone in the car. The timestamp created by the celphone was "11:27" - proving, more or less, that the ticket had been falsified, even though by now it was well after noon.
"I'm not unreasonable," I said. "I'll accept the first ticket, even though I never went into the terminal and had verbal interaction with the first traffic cop. But this second ticket is just crazy. And to have the time falsified, so I can't get it dismissed in court ... that's just too much for me. That's just plain malice. Abuse even. If anything comes of this, I want it to be some kind of system of coordination amongst the officers so they're not issuing multiple tickets for one infraction. Perhaps they could define zones. Because if they're relying on the timestamps of tickets to determine when they write another, there's a big problem - because the times on the tickets..." (Here I pointed at the second ticket) "...could obviously be wrong."
(Later this day, the manager called me on the phone, and told me that he had verified my story with the airport security cameras, and that the second ticket had been voided.)
- So after that fiasco at the airport, I went shopping.
- I spent most of the night trying to get the damn video card I bought to work in my PC - Tin Loaf XP. No luck. Gonna have to return it.
- I also bought an external USB 2 DVD burner, so La and I can burn dual-layer DVDs from any of our systems.
- ... And a USB 2 device for watching TV on the computer and digitizing video, which after a lot of trial-and-error, I managed to get ""working"".
- ... And an iPod Nano! (Nanoo nanoo!) I tossed a handful of miniature playlists on it and it has been dangling around my neck almost constantly ever since.
- I tried to enjoy a nice quiet shower - even put in earplugs - but the cat started yowling just outside the shower door like she always does. Perhaps she thinks I'm drowning and wants to save me. Perhaps being separated from her "parents" by a wall, even a transparent one, is too traumatic. Actually I think it's the sound of the water going down the drain. If you listen closely you can hear high pitched overtones that bend upwards, making a sound remarkably like several dozen wee kittens crying for attention all at once - like the highlights from Penderecki's "De Natura Sonoris" performed on a log ride. Or something.