Yeah, it won’t be a song title.
Besides being therapeutic and cathartic, one of the driving purposes for me sitting down each week for the past couple of decades and sharing something that passed through my brain is to share an experience that might benefit you in the future.
So recently, I was invited to attend a meeting of the new Ballard FC soccer club at Skäl Beer Hall, to talk about an upcoming “Nordic Night” at one of their home games.
I arrived on Ballard Avenue in front of the restaurant, grabbed a spot and went to pay for an hour with the city’s wonderful Pay by Phone app. I’ve used it often and it really does make it really easy to pay for parking. And their rates aren’t that bad. 75-cents here, 50-cents there.
But when I tried to pay, I got this note of rejection.
And, of course, fearing I might need proof of this, I took a picture of it.
I tried again. Again. And again. Same message.
Well, by this time, the meeting was about to begin, so since they weren’t willing to take my money, i went into Skäl.
When I emerged 45 minutes later, there it was. Tucked under my windshield wiper, a parking ticket.
Yes, you read right. $44 worth of parking ticket. Pretty much $1 a minute while I was in there.
On the back side of the ticket, was a place to let them know you wanted to contest it and where to mail it. Oh, absolutely. I put together an explanation letter, said I wanted to fight it in court and off in the mail it went.
Several days later, I received a note back from them that I could set up a court date or write up a one-page letter contesting the citation which would mean I’d accept whatever the magistrate decided.
I chose option B and popped that in the mail and awaited my fate.
Here’s what the magistrate sent back to me:
As you can see, I am “responsible for the above committed charge.” Even though their app wasn’t working, I was supposed to “move the vehicle to another spot.” It wasn’t the spot that was the problem, it was the app.
So, guilty…but no fine and it doesn’t appear on my driving record. Still, it was the cost of about an hour of my time and two stamps to get to the zero fine. However, to me, it was well worth it.
To summarize the life lessons here:
- If you’re paying by app, and the app won’t accept your payment, move to another spot. Maybe it will work there.
- Or, you can go my route and hope to get that first-time pass. If you’ve got the time and ambition.
- Or, just stay at home. Stop being involved in so many things and open a beer.
I think from now on, I’m going with option C.