I Left My Heart in San Francisco

21 Dec

Well, more like I left my car in San Francisco and the SF PD/DPT reached through my ribcage and tore out my still-beating heart, held it firmly in front of me, and then asked me politely to pay them $600 to have it back.

"Hello sir, welcome to the San Francisco Department of Parking Fuck Ups, how can I be of service to you today?"

I’m not quite sure what happened here.  I am pretty confident that I parked in a legitimate space, right beneath a sizable tree and a sign that unambiguously permitted parking.  I’m also 100% sure that when I later returned to where my car used to be, there was another car parked in the same spot, unbothered.  The best I can figure is that PART of my car may have been encroaching on some red-painted curb indicating that a driveway may be nearby (although this is never clear in San Francisco, which has an abundance of weird inch-high curbs, hidden driveways, 4-foot long parking spaces, and other such confounding set-ups).  It was dark and almost historically rainy at the time, and I haven’t had a chance to go back and investigate, so this remains an open question.  The following day I tried to inspect the crime scene on Google Street View and the only conclusion I really came to was, again, that cars DO park in that spot.  Rightfully or wrongfully I can’t say, but still, at this point the evidence seems to favour that this is a permissible place to park when one is craving affordable French food and wine (< $10/plate, $7/glass).

In any event, the frugality of my dinner choice would prove to be painfully ironic.  Apparently some touchy asshole concerned citizen took issue with the placement of my car within about an hour of me placing it there and narc’ed to the SFPD, who then saw fit to issue me two parking tickets totaling $140, and ordered what must have been the SICKEST most LUXURIOUS auto tow in the history of the world for (and I even had to negotiate this down by $50) a mind-boggling $430.

The first offence.

The epic, full-service tow. This was clearly a pleasure for both car and tow'er alike, featuring a flatbed or dolly ride, premium storage, and a hefty "administration" fee. Note the time at completion.

Observe the second offence, "wheels the wrong way," issued a good 7 minutes after my car was already done being towed! Awe-some.

Moral: don’t park your car in San Francisco unless you hate your bank account.


2 Responses to “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”

  1. Mike January 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM #

    A de facto carbon tax …if it weren’t for the ungodly fumes from the tow?

    It’s part of an increasing trend toward total zero tolerance! Fascism. The slightest infraction—be it parking, overdrafting, data roaming, drug possession—is punished way out of proportion. Remain sternly in line and you stand a fighting chance in a power structure desperate for control, but make the slightest misstep and prepare to have a new asshole handed to you. By the man.

    Where are the updates by the way?

    • jay January 26, 2011 at 10:13 AM #

      I’ve noticed this as well, and in parallel to the conservative/tea party fantasygasm of a beautiful, tax-free, services-free country. Regardless of whether or not that’s moral, it’s not going to happen! Gov’t costs substantial money and it’s not going away, on the national, state, local, or municipal level. When their budgets are tight, this is where they turn; it’s not a “tax,” but it really is. It’s taxation reframed to be punitive and justified; a tax on being a normal person, statistically prone to occasional error. But it slips under the radar because “it’s within your control, if you don’t want to get charged, just behave properly.” Don’t ever fuck up a parking job, or go over the speed limit, or roll through a stop sign, or pay a bill late (or more realistically, don’t ever get caught in a situation where someone tells you that you paid a bill late, even if you didn’t). It generates revenue and impugns people who “make mistakes,” to allow them to hide behind the idea that they gave you a choice. If you’ve ever spent any time in small-time criminal court, this is a familiar game. It’s doesn’t matter the circumstances, you fucked up, and therefore you “deserve” whatever you have coming. Enjoy watching your house burn down because the billing administrator at the fire department forgot to credit your payment to your account? I hope so!

      No updates because I’m drowning in work, trying to find a new apartment, trying to remain sternly in line in a power structure desperate for control…

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