It’s on now.

I just got *another* ticket from Stanford for parking in a perfectly sensible, but unmarked, space after all the equally sensible but marked spaces were taken. This makes three since Halloween (yes, the first was on Halloween night at about 3 am — blood-suckers really do stalk the streets that night) for precisely the same practically unavoidable “offense,” which everyone who lives on campus routinely commits (there are cars in that spot 365 days a year). I already pay $200 a year for a parking pass, how much more are they going to steal from me?

I think they also deliberately wait until the cold and rainy nights when nobody wants to park halfway across campus. What kind of a person becomes a meter maid, anyway? At least regular cops can tell themselves that they’re catching murderers and rapists and people who like to smoke a joint and people whose skin color is a little too dark for the neighbors. Hell, even *traffic cops* can claim some kind of colorable public safety justification for some of their behavior. The only job of meter maids is to piss on their ordinary fellow citizens in small but obnoxious and repeated ways. They are the bedbugs of law enforcement.

Memo to Plato: you forgot the petty malice part of the soul, call it the insectile part. Not gold, silver, or iron but rusty tin and grease and plastic. Perhaps the just state would simply execute those ruled by that part of the soul, and Plato thought that would be so obvious that he didn’t bother to mention it. I mean, really. Can you imagine the ancient Greeks countenancing meter maids even for a second? The guardians would have their heads right off before you could say “no, that section of curb is actually off-white!”.* They’re a disease of modernity, of a land of busybodies and wimps who need rules specifying what may be done in every centimeter of space lest the freedom become too terrifying. If it (parking, whatever) isn’t explicitly permitted, it is forbidden. How come Foucault never wrote about meter maids?

I am going to take advantage of the fact that the Stanford p.d. is also a part of the sheriff’s dpt and file a foia tomorrow. Let’s see how much of their budget is wasted writing parking tickets and harassing people who ride bikes without lights, which is as far as I can tell their only other activity. I’m also curious how many months it’s been since they’ve actually responded to, you know, a *crime*.


* I can see the scene now, clear as if I were there:

Auxiliary: “Sire! We’re being invaded!”

Philosopher: “This is a difficult problem. I will have to contemplate the form of the good to determine the right course of action. Who is it? Persians? Spartans?”

Auxiliary: “Meter maids!”

Philosopher: “You bothered me with meter maids? Kill them, of course. Duh. Couldn’t you figure that out for yourself? Haven’t you studied any geometry at all?”

Auxiliary: “Yes sire. Sorry sire.”

Philosopher: “Wait. Open wide and say aaah.”

Auxiliary: “Aaah.”

Philosopher: “Ah. There’s the problem. Base metals in the soul. Give me that sword. Good, thanks. Ok, here’s your loom.”

Ex-auxiliary: “I’ll just go knit something then, shall I?”

Philosopher: “That’s right. Oh, and be a dear, would you, and tell the next auxiliary you see to decapitate those locusts … I mean, meter maids?”

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9 Responses to “It’s on now.”

  1. ben wolfson Says:

    how much more are they going to steal from me?

    $444.

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    Ouch. (Though my tickets might well add up to that by the time the year is up.)

    See added footnote. I think I should become a playwright.

  3. ben wolfson Says:

    Though it occurs to me that you might have a ten-month, not a twelve-month, permit.

  4. Paul Gowder Says:

    I have a twelve month permit.

    I may sell my car by December so I can stiff these fuckers before having to renew my registration.

  5. ben wolfson Says:

    You know, excoriating the poor meter maids is interesting stuff and all, but what everyone out there really longs for is another cooking update.

  6. Paul Gowder Says:

    Cooking update: I have the ingredients for lentil soup (so that I may stop paying six dollars for a bowl of it) but every dish I own is dirty and I have little motivation to cook. Perhaps I should satisfy all parties by frying up a meter maid.

  7. Daniel Goldberg Says:

    Just make sure you have some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  8. Paul Gowder Says:

    I want to go to the store right now. But I dare not. Because I know that when I come back my parking space will be gone, and I’ll have to choose between risking another bullshit ticket and parking halfway across campus and trudging around in the cold and wet. FUCK YOU, STANFORD, for basically imprisoning me.

  9. Paul Gowder Says:

    This is another reason I need to leave Palo Alto as soon as humanly possible: all transportation is impossible here. In the winter it’s too icky to go anywhere where one might want to go on foot or on bike, especially at night, where anywhere one might want to go that is still open is too far. And automotive transportation locally is constrained by the shitty on-campus parking with fascist meter maids, as well as horrible traffic to decent places like SF. Christ, I’ve gotta get out of the bloody suburbs before I shoot myself.

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