What Is Tomorrow?
November 17, 2009 10:56 AM
What do you suppose is the topic of the longest and most passionate letters to my office? Taxes? Crime? Snow plowing? Nope. Parking tickets.
With the advent of the winter parking rule season, the volume is likely to pick up these days. Happily, I do not have the power to forgive parking tickets. I usually write a brief and polite reply and send the complaint off to the police captain who actually does have the authority to do something about it if it's warranted.
Actually, the more common ticket complaint comes after somebody, often from out of town, gets one for an expired meter downtown. A typical letter goes something like this:
Dear Mr. Mayor:
I am just writing to inform you of the world's worst injustice which took place in your gulag of a city not too long ago. As a result of this travesty, I have plans to bring Madison to its knees. Let me explain. (Here there are typically three pages of single spaced detail on the person's every move for the two hours preceding and following the moment of ticketing.)
As you can clearly see from my brief recounting of events, I was wrongly fined by your overzealous officers. If my ticket is not dismissed immediately along with an apology copied to the media, my employer and my mother, I will destroy Madison's economy by never returning to your city to spend so much as a dime. Moreover, I will tell all my friends here in Toledo and in the greater Toledo area never to set foot in your fascist city.
Mr. Mayor, while I don't live in Madison myself, my cousin Larry lives in Sun Prairie, and I've asked him to move he and his family to Madison specifically to vote against you in the next election. For my part, I will vote against the mayor of Toledo, just because he's one of your ilk.
Just once I'd like to write the following reply.
Dear Mistreated Citizen of Toledo:
Thank you for your recent letter regarding the parking ticket you received here in Madison.
I occasionally get a parking ticket myself. I advise you to do what I do. Admit your mistake. Accept your comeuppance. Pay your debt to society. And move on with your life. Or, you can tell it to the judge. Either way, it's not my problem.
Back to the overnight parking rules, which tend to weigh much more heavily on Madisonians than visitors. Here's the basic rule: Ask yourself, what is tomorrow? If tomorrow is an even numbered day, park on the even numbered side of the street. If tomorrow is an odd numbered day, park on the odd side. If you live between the Yahara River and Camp Randall, don't worry about it unless it snows a lot. Then follow this rule.