Parking tickets, bus lane fines, speeding fines, you name it I’ve paid it, albeit grudgingly. You’ve probably gathered by now I like to complain about many things, but paying ridiculous, unnecessary fines is sky high on my list of complaints. Why? I think fines are a complete waste of money. And who likes wasting money? Who has money to waste? Handing over obscene amounts of money to an authority which claims the fee goes towards ‘security and repair’ of the borough/area is the last thing I want to do, especially when in reality it goes towards paying for the set up of yet another speed camera or parking meter to catch you out. And what perplexes me is the inconsistency of the punishment. You get a ticket on one side of the road and it costs you £60, you get a ticket on the other and it’s £120. In some cases you get clamped and in extreme cases you walk back to find your car’s not even there- it’s been towed away. And while I’m on the topic, can someone please explain to me why parking/bus lane fines (within the UK) are more expensive than speeding fines? Why is it that you have to part with £120 for going in a bus lane and it’s £60 and 3 points if you get caught speeding? Surely speeding is worse than parking. At least your parked car isn’t likely to go and mow down an innocent citizen; highly unlikely to cause any deaths is it?
I don’t know what disheartens me more, seeing the double flash of a speed camera or finding a ticket slapped on my windscreen like it was a flyer for some poxy nightclub. In those cases, I often wish it was. I was once driving through Camden, London, when my heavily pregnant friend had the sudden urge to relieve herself (not unusual). The trouble was I had to escort her to the nearest toilet and so had to park up. With only 20p change between us we had precisely 6 minutes. 7 minutes later she hobbled back to my car, myself alongside her, and what do I see? A parking attendant hovering next to my vehicle with a ticket dispenser in one hand, camera in the other, conducting a photoshoot. Astonishing. She must have been hiding behind a tree, ready and waiting to pounce as soon as the meter ticked over to 0 minutes. Bitch. I ran up to her and started shouting, my temper rocketing instantly. I hastily explained about my pregnant friend needing the toilet and she turned, looked at me with a blank and vacant expression and said in a heavy Nigerian accent “Well. What do you want me to do about it?”
What better way to describe her than this:
The parking warden' in Little Miss Jocelyn
I replied: “Err...show some compassion? Do you have children? Have you ever been pregnant? Don’t you know what it’s like to have to piss every 10 minutes accommodating a 2 stone barrel on your stomach?”
Miraculously, she seemed humoured, and without any prior warning began taking pictures my heavily pregnant friend and her bulging stomach. She finished writing my ticket, wrote her name and attendant code at the top and told me to get in touch with Camden council to have my ticket voided and that she would provide the photographic evidence of my pregnant friend. I have used many excuses to get out of parking fines, but this seemed to work wonders. Regardless of this instance, I always write a letter of protestation anyway. Did you know 65% of London parking fines were dropped last year after appeals? You do the maths. It’s always good to contest, because more often than not your ticket is unwarranted anyway.
And another thing I hate about parking attendants (specifically male ones), is that they’re sleazy. I once parked up by Leicester Square in central London, only to find a scary parking warden with beady eyes looming over my car and peering through my window. Thinking he was going to ticket me, I instinctively turned on my ignition and started to drive away when he ran up, knocked on the glass and told me he wasn’t going to give me a ticket, but that he wanted my phone number so he could take me out on a date. Ha! I looked at him and cackled in his face like a witch. As if I’d ever date someone who made their money hiding behind bushes, catching out innocent drivers and giving undue fines. I wound up my window, sped off, and as I looked through my rear-view I saw him standing sheepishly in the middle of the road. Bastard.
Talking of sleaze, I once got pulled over by an undercover police car (something which I also have a deep-rooted hatred for) for apparently doing 110mph in a 50mph zone, although I beg to differ. I was on my way to see my now ex-boyfriend and so fortunately was dolled up in a very low cut top and skin-tight trousers complete with saucy red lipstick. When I was asked to step out of the car by one of the three officers involved, his eyes lit up. Jackpot. I ‘accidentally’ gave my boobies a little squeeze and fluttered my eyelashes. His astringent expression melted and softened into a look of fleeting infatuation, call it puppy dog eyes. Now I know this all sounds very big headed of me, I don’t think of myself as highly attractive, but in this instance I was using all the ammunition I had. And that meant cleavage. He asked patronisingly if I had had an argument with my boyfriend, and when I started *ahem* crying he readily began to give me advice on my predicament and said my boyfriend was lucky to have me. I should’ve have been banned on the spot for going over 100mph. I drove away with no points and no fine. I’d proudly pimped myself out of a driving ban. Just goes to show men think with their dicks, and in that particular instance I wasn’t complaining.
Of course other than these two examples there have been occasions where I haven’t been able to argue or pimp my way out of a fine and have had to pay up. It’s not a situation I like to find myself in. Ever. Forcing myself to hand over absurd amounts of money for a minor offence riles me beyond belief, but I have to accept the inevitable that the fines and tickets will keep on coming. With unmarked cameras cropping up everywhere and parking attendants hiding behind every corner, no matter how hard you try, how responsible you are, at one stage you will always get caught. So my only word of advice is contest, contest, contest!