parking in berkeley

i am extremely irate right now, although i have kept my temper throughout the last few hours’ experience. hopefully blogging this entry and having something to eat will help sooth my currently chafed nerves. the whole story starts this morning, early, when i am awakened by the sound of a close-by woodchipper being fed a steady diet of local tree-branches. i toss and turn a few hours before finally getting up, readying myself, and heading out to meet with the building inspector at minna. i am immediately impressed with the fact that power/cable/phone lines are being tugged around by some chainsaw weilding “tree surgeon” trying to yank a big branch off them. now i am on the ground floor of the apartment building, headed towards bart, when i notice that i am going to have to cross the street to navigate around the bosquey abattoir that the aforementioned tree surgeons have created. the supervisor is walking towards me, and apologizes for the inconvenience. not a problem. somewhere in the middle of crossing the street, i look over at this mountain of tree branches and think to myself…WHERE THE FUCK IS THE TRUCK???
then i notice the temporary no parking signs that have gone up sometime in the middle of the night while i was sleeping. the only possible explanation that i have for missing the signs (if in fact they were there) is that every single sign without exception was facing away from me on the way back from bart last night. i call the number on the signs, which is out of service but refers me to another number, which turns out to be some kind of berkeley police tow-tracker database operator, who gives me the number of an independent tow service that has my truck.
“oh you better get down here, it’s already a hundred bucks,” says a woman who has obviously put several billion marlboro miles under her belt. it’s already a hundred bucks, and the day is still young. i meet with the building inspector, whose accent is so thick that i understand only about 20 words that he says. i judge from body language, however that we have passed.
i call the berkeley police. i am curious as to who authorized the tow, and when those signs went up. this, i am told, is an issue for public works. public works informs me that this tow falls under the parks and forestry department’s jurisdiction.
“oh, i’m terribly sorry about that,” says the kindly, but slightly retarded sounding woman at the department of forestry, “the signs are supposed to go up 24 hours in advance”. ummmm, so did they? i was left with the impression that she really had no clue. paul bunyan and his ox blue are supposed to give me a call back to assure me that the signs, in fact, did not go up 15 minutes prior to the tow.
so now i’m over at the tow place. i notice that the prices on the wall say that a berkeley police tow is $75. the two tow women are none too friendly. the t.v. is on, and they both look like they live on mcdonald’s cigarettes, and diet soda.
“so, on the wall it says that a tow is seventy five bucks….” i say tentatively. “storage is twenty five bucks. driver’s license.” is the verging on hostility reply. these women probably hear the phrase “you fucking ripoff pieces of fat cunts” or some other equally unintelligible and insulting string of words, several times a day. i remind myself that, although these women look like they are profiting slightly from my pain, they are not the parking scamlords here. and if i hurl any insults their way, it is probably going to cost me. plenty.
they tell smoky, or whatever his name is, to release the truck. this guy is in his late fifties, and his greasy mechanics shirt and severely wasted eyes give him the appearance of being a semi-employed crack addict. my guess is, around payday, this guy takes a day or two sick leave.
i see the truck. i also see the tickets piled in the windshield of the truck. inside. hmmm that’s interesting. they have pushed the drivers side window open using, by the looks of it, the dirtiest oil soaked rag they could dig out of the bag of the towtruck. probably the work of old cracky.
ahhh….registration expired. well that explains the mystery of the multiple tickets. so that’s the end of this story. $132. and now i do feel much calmer. for i realize that there is not a single fucking thing i can do about this but pay for it and smile. unless the tree trimming supervisor calls me and admits that his boys forgot to post the signage in advance. guess what…i doubt i’m going to get that call.






One response to “parking in berkeley”

  1. bret Avatar

    sell the vw and stick the truck inside. i didn’t notice the registration for the truck in my bill pile, but sometimes things go missing.

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