It’s hard not to be forgetful when running around after Pantagruel in betwixt and between various other professional and personal obligations. There’s a lot going on at the moment and keeping track of it all can overwhelm even my trusty post-its.
One second I’m parking in the loading zone outside of my building to quickly drop off le petit monstre, the next I’m upstairs changing diapers, then running down to grab the laundry, then popping over to the grocery store for smoked salmon and hummus,i then back home and onto the computer to catch up with the world, then, just before bed, slowly thumbing through a few pages of Spinoza’s Ethics until my eyelids are assuredly heavy and I drift off to sleep.
The next morning, some undefined number of hours later, my waking eyes reorient themselves to the light coming into my bedroom window from the gorgeous, sprawling pumpkin-coloured sky as sounds of a baby’s – my baby’s – gaws and gyoos playfully wax and wane from the living room. The day begins. In a blink of feeding and playing, morning rolls into afternoon, and I’m soon pulling my bicycle out of the parkade to head to the office for a few hours. As I roll past the front door of the building, I notice Saddam in all his resplendent glory, right where I’d left him just 16 hours before… in the loading zone… Aha.
By the way, don’t his glistening new fenders look marvelous ?ii
So “Investigating Officer” John Bull, or someone else with Edmonton Police Serviceiii stationary readily on hand but with a limited imagination for suitably witty noms de plume,iv took the time out of their busy(body) day to write me this little note. “How lucky I am,” I thought to myself, “that John Bull didn’t even write me a ticket ! I mean, hell, I absentmindedly left my car in the 5-minute zone in front of my building for 16 hours ! If he’d wanted to, he could’ve written me hundreds of citations at 50 bucks a pop ! Boy, I sure dodged a bullet there…”
Then I remembered that my car was parked on goddam PRIVATE PROPERTY.v And my gleeful little bubble of fortuitousness was popped in an instant. What. The. Living. Fuck.
So now, if you’re living in Edmonton and “own” property, you really have to wonder : what if a sign on the front lawn of my house says “Max. 5-Minute Loitering Zone: Punishable By Public Blowjob,” and John Bull’s 18-year-old daughter, Gully Bull,vi happens by the neighbourhood and, quite conveniently for the purposes of this story, directly onto the little patch of sidewalk outside my house. Now she wouldn’t have stopped at that exact spot normally, particularly if she’d noticed the very peculiar sign scribbled with a Sharpie onto a piece of cardboard and propped up on the front lawn, but she just so happened to not notice the sign while instead noticing that her shoelaces were untied. So she kneels down to tie them back up and is summarily greeted by my territorial if friendly outdoor cat, Benny, who decides to investigate the new arrival, whereupon Ms. Bull starts stroking the purring feline’s unbelievably soft fur. She soon loses herself in the moment and now 4, and now 5, and now 6, and now 7 minutes eclipse…
All the while, as fortune and fate would have it, her on-duty police officer father is parked across the street in his cruiser where he just so happens to be scoring free wi-fi from my technologically inept neighbour’s house. But as you’d expect from an ever-vigilant protector of the common good, Officer Bull always had his head on a swivel, even when “borrowing” electromagnetic waves. Naturally, then, he not only noticed the nearly illegible “no loitering sign” on my lawn, but also the young filly who was now in contravention of the said same sociopathic nonsense. So the moment the young girl – whom he couldn’t recognise because it had been some years since his wife left him, taking their only daughter along with – stopped to tie her shoelaces and pet the cat, Officer Bull had started the stopwatch function on his trusty Timex Indiglo. Five minutes turn into 6, then into 7, and now Officer Bull had no choice, as a sworn defender of the public’s interest, but to act. He had to enforce the writings on the sign, so help him God. So he stepped out of the car, weapon drawn, and…
And what ? Is Officer Bull seriously going tell his own daughter to get on her knees and publicly service me because that’s what the stupid fucking sign on my lawn said and it’s his divinated duty to take whatever I happen to write at face value and then make it his business to persuade, and if not persuade then enforce whatever it is he wholly imagines needs enforcing ? And all in the most lily-livered chicken-shit manner possible wherein he oh-so-conveniently omits his badge number, car number, station or division, or even a pittling reference number ?
Which only leaves more questions, such as : does this qualify as Judge Dredd-style instant field judiciary powers ?vii Does this qualify as harassment by the embarrassing assemblage of soi-dissant authorities ? Or is this just plain over-zealous stupidity ? And if John Bull were useful enough, meaningful enough, or even alive enough to qualify for a !rate, would I give him a -1, -5, or the deadly -10 ? And what note would I attach, “poof,” “windbag,” or “blowhard” ?viii
All of which is to say that I would’ve expected this sort of behaviour in “the land of the free” because the scale of their self-selected problems are positively gargantuan, but it’s disappointing to see the same flavour of braindamage crop up here. Maybe it’s the orange dummies coming to the fore, maybe it’s the red dummies sweeping the land,ix but the notion that you can have private property other than Bitcoin is visibly on the decline.
I’m not too busy to notice that.
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- Yes, I walked to the store, and yes, I took the back door and didn’t notice that my car was parked out front, etc etc. Oh, and yes, there’s nothing worse than running out of hummus. How else one is supposed to eat raw broccoli and cauliflower, I can scarcely conceive. ↩
- As you may not have realised, both of Saddam’s original front fenders were rusted, a victim of the saline environment on the West Coast where he grew up. Now here’s the little story of how my 560 SEL ended up with this shimmering new bodywork : while taking him into the nearby (and very reasonably-priced!) mechanics at Auto Imports for the usual wear-and-tear repairs you’d quite reasonably expect of a 25-year-old German sedan, one of the mechanics – which is to say, one of the brothers, as it’s a family-owned business – took the car around the block to assess the on-road feel of the repairs completed thus far. Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t latched the hood properly, so when he floored the gas, the surprising acceleration afforded by the 5.6 L, 16-valve engine lifted the car’s nose, which then caught the typically gusty prairie winds, which in turn flipped-up the unlatched hood into the windshield irreparably bending the delicate aluminum piece at the hinges. No one was hurt, thankfully, but this mechanic shop was now on the hook for some body work to boot.
While sourcing a new hood, and partially in an effort to compensate for the additional week that I’d have to be without my car (though I honestly didn’t notice as it was a beautiful week and I would’ve ridden my bicycle regardless), the shop offered to also source new front fenders and have them painted to match, with the cost of painting them to be on the house. Since most of the front of the vehicle was going to be painted anyways, the shop would cover the cost of that if I’d just pay for the
newused parts. Quoted at $250 per panel, compared to $1`000 just for shipping that I was quoted during my meagre attempts cross-shopping, I jumped at the opportunity. Frankly, I may never have replaced the fenders of my own accord, not for the $1`500 – 2`000 it would’ve cost me. But for $500 ? I could easily recoup this cost, if not more, if I were to re-sell the car, so I went for it. Hell, I’ll make +EV moves like that all day and twice on Sunday.
So after a journey of 3`700 km, as the crow flies, the new fender panels and aluminum hood (which cost $1`000) arrived from Nova Scotia (apparently the only source on such short notice), were installed, and were painted to match the factory burgundy (and the paint alone cost at an eye-watering $3`100!). While not all of that “investment” will be realised, I’m seeing at least 2:1 on my money and I now get to enjoy Saddam’s pristine form for all its worth. Win!
Yes, this whole escapade was unfortunate for Auto Imports, but despite the “calamity” of not having my car for a week, I couldn’t be happier with the service. I’ll be taking Saddam there for many years to come.↩
- This wasn’t even parking-meter maid, because their stationary says “City of Edmonton Parking Enforcement Agency” or some such, not “POLICE.” And even if it was just another resident in my building trying to give me a good scare, it’s an awful abuse of authority, even “authority,” to use your company stationary for personal matters, particularly when your company has a goddam monopoly on force.
The reader may also be interested to note that, last I checked maybe a year or so ago, the EPS budget was a whopping 18% of the entire municipal expenditure, or about $280 mn per year. And that’s just what’s on the books. Is it any wonder the EPS has an entire new fleet of marked and unmarked Ford trucks, that they’re constantly hiring, that they have time for shenanigans such as these, and that they still
can’t keep crime figures in checkcreate terrorists ?↩
- Seriously, what’s wrong with Kanyew Reed or Seymour Sines or something of the sort ?↩
- Therefore, it was for the on-site property manager to wag his finger at me, or, more likely than not, knock on my door and ever-so-politely remind me that the loading zone is for quick stops only, after which I’d grab my keys, go downstairs, and move my car. Because that’s how a fucking culture works !!!1↩
- John is a die-hard fan of the satirical classic Gulliver’s Travels. So, yea.↩
- Which signs should Officer Bull enforce ? Just parking signs ? Or how about no smoking signs ? And after what length of time should he intervene ? The moment the offender is in contravention or after a suitable “grace period” ? But what’s suitable ? You see how this exercise quickly becomes arbitrary, don’t you ?↩
- It’s no wonder that people eat cops. That’s just what you do with barnyard animals. And yes, this story may be apocryphal, but it may not be !
- Justin Trudeau and the Liberals were just handed a majority government in Canadian Parliament, which, yes, in case you were wondering, does mean that you should hide the silverware and the crystal. In Canadian federal politics, you can’t vote outside party lines without getting the boot from the party, so we have at least a few years of left-leaning hegemony ahead of us.
And ftr, Trudeau isn’t that young. He’s only 3 years younger than Stephen Harper was when he became Prime Minister in 2006. The apparent difference is merely that of a mature adult’s philosophy and an overgrown child’s philosophy. It’s actually sort of incredible how believing in dreams keeps one looking and acting so young and energetic, whereas believing in causes slows and ages the body. But perhaps I’m conflating cause and effect. Most of the history’s greatest philosophers, from Rousseau to Nietzsche, had poor health throughout their lives.↩