Yoga Won't Pay My Parking Tickets

Meter maids in major cities are the devil and a new initiative in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has those of us who feel this way steaming mad:

The city's parking tickets will now include instructions on the reverse on how to bend into some simple yoga positions.

The Boston-area city known for its elite universities, Harvard and MIT, printed 40,000 of the tickets as part of a public art project by artist-in-residence Daniel Peltz. Cambridge parking enforcement officers hand out about 340,000 tickets per year.

Just typing these words was enough to make my blood pressure rise. My husband and I live in the city and we pay about $1,000 in parking tickets a year, mostly for unfair and unjust "offenses." But it isn't a "hostile act"? Seriously?


There is no amount of yoga that will make me think a parking ticket is anything other than a hostile act.

The other night, my husband and I drove to pick up take-out because it was raining and our usual place we walk to is close to a mile away. He double parked to run in to get our order and I stayed in the car with the children.

Within five seconds, a meter maid was upon us, banging on the window.

"You can't pahk here!" she shouted through the window. "I will ticket you, move yah cah now!"

So, I drove around the block, which took five minutes, while my poor husband stood in the rain for about four waiting for me.

And that story is mild. When I was nine months pregnant with my son, I parked by an expired meter in Cambridge. I pulled my 18-month-old out of her seat and while I was struggling to get her in her stroller, keep her dry (it was pouring), and not bend over my giant tummy, a meter maid started to ticket me.

"What are you doing?" I shouted, quarter in hand.

"Oh I did not see you there," he said (he did). "I have already started the ticket, though. Too late."

I was so angry, I went to the Cambridge City Hall five minutes later. I wrote a long and detailed letter contesting the ticket. A letter they lost. Five weeks later, I got a late notice with an offer to appeal. I called and said I already had. They said I needed a hearing. I had just given birth and could not schedule a hearing. I wrote a long letter, which they lost again. By the time I ended up paying the ticket, I had accrued about $30 in fees, so the whole escapade cost $60 in cash and untold amounts in sanity.

There is nothing zen or yoga-like about a parking ticket. I often dream about instituting National Trip a Meter Maid Day. It may not solve the problem, but seeing a meter maid sitting in a puddle would make me far less hostile.

Do you think this will make you feel better about parking tickets?


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