PAYING A PHANTOM TICKET

Apropos of nothing political, only that I\’m mad as hell and there\’s nothing I can do about it…

….I just got a “failure to appear notice” for a parking violation – specifically for “overtime” as the notice calls it at a parking meter on Smith Street in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

The problem?  I have not been in Perth Amboy, New Jersey – this is a guess, but it\’s probably, if anything, an understated one – in 10 years. 

And the car involved is my wife\’s car, not the one I drive.

And she was in Florida the day of the ticket.

The notice said I could go to a web site and view the ticket. But when did, it didn\’t show the ticket at all, just a computer print-out with information drawn from it – so there was no way to see whether anything else written on the ticket proved a mistake had been made.

I then called the phone number on the notice.  It prompted me to press “3” for parking tickets.  That was prophetic in a way, because it took over 3 minutes for anyone to answer.

The guy who did answer spoke to me respectfully…and monotonally, in a way that suggested he hears things like this all the time.  I was told I could come in and plead not guilty (i.e. spend a day in court with no way to prove the ticket was wrong and have to pay anyway). 

The bottom line?  I will pay a $30 fine for a ticket that must have been miswritten – and a $10 penalty for failing to appear on a court date because, since my car wasn\’t there and never got the ticket, I had no way of knowing about it.

My congratulations to Perth Amboy — with a special shout-out to whoever miswrote the ticket.  It must be very reassuring to know that it does not matter whether you do or do not get things right.

And here\’s a suggestion for you:  why not write another one?  Heck, I\’m not in Perth Amboy today either.

Ok, now that I got that off of my chest, I feel a little better.  Now back to politics, where the tickets are Republican and Democrat and, more often than not, both of them are just as misbegotten as the ticket I just ranted about.

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