The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
Shrimp 'n Grits
Obama’s Parking TicketLee Walton
Last Friday night my wife and I went downtown to East Bay Street for dinner. We were only there for about an hour and a half while parked in a 2-hour neighborhood-parking district over in the French Quarter. As we were walking back across State Street toward our car, there was a City “Meter Maid” writing out a parking ticket.
We went up to her and said, "Come on Officer, how about giving a couple of senior citizens a break? This car hasn’t been here two hours." She ignored our comment and continued writing the ticket. In frustration, I said, "Why are you acting like a Nazi Storm-Trooper? Don’t you have any compassion for people who want to drive downtown and dine at one of the ‘flower restaurants’ on East Bay? Your mayor could surely use the hospitality tax to prop up his Aquarium and all the other self-serving monuments he’s planning.” She just glared at me hissing through her teeth that City tax revenues were dropping like carriage horses on a hot day at the Market, and that she had a quota to meet if she expected to keep her job and health care benefits. Before I could utter another word she started writing a second ticket for being parked just inches into a yellow curb no-parking area.
About then my wife got in the spirit of the encounter, being emboldened by a few glasses of fine West Dry Creek chardonnay, and called her one of Little Joe’s "Heartless Jack-Booted Brown-Shirts". She finished writing the second ticket, put it on the windshield with the first, and immediately started writing a third for another trumped-up parking violation. This went on for about 20 minutes with equal exchanges of challenges to the Meter Maid’s credentials followed by more ticket writing. The more we questioned her motivations, the more tickets she scribbled and ripped off of her pad until there was at least a dozen under the windshield wiper blade.
Personally, we didn't care how many she wrote, because we were parked a block away over on Church Street, but the car we all were standing by had a big red and blue Obama sticker on the rear windshield. Finally, my wife and I just laughed and walked briskly down Queen toward the Dock Street.
Being a few of the remaining “been heres'” that still think its worthwhile to brave the “Golden Horde” of tourists to dine downtown, we also try to have a little fun each time now that we're near retirement. It's important to have emotional outlets at our age.