Wednesday, June 30, 2004

"Parking" Issues

Today was one of the most peaceful and relaxing days I've ever spent at the "liberry". It wasn't boring or slow, just very well-paced. We had enough staff on hand to take care of just about every issue that cropped up, all our computer problems were easily solved and I didn't have to throw anybody out.

I'd almost suspect that word has gotten out that the library is a place of chaos and confusion to be avoided until we get our sealegs back with the new computer system.

The only real strangeness that came up didn't even involve a patron. At around 4, a woman drove up in a red Chevy Cavalier-LS and parked--a word I'm using in the loosest sense of the definition--in one of the half hour parallel spaces in front of the library. Basically, she pulled the front part of her car sort of near the curb, leaving the back half of her car jutting into the road itself, partially blocking it. Of her four tires, only the driver's side front tire was actually IN the parking space. According to Mrs. C, the woman got out of her car and went running down the hill toward Town-A's down-town area. She wore a white button up shirt and black pants, which suggests she was staff at one of our fine local restaurants.

I didn't know about any of this until I came back from my break at 4:30 and found it difficult to find a parking space of my own due to the Cavalier blocking much of the road. I thought perhaps it was a patron who had just run in to drop a book off, but then I heard the above story.

We're beginning to suspect that the manager of at least one of these dining establishments must be a some kind of unholy-terror devil-boss because this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened with local restaurant employees.

A few winters ago, a woman (perhaps the same one) was driving down the hill toward main street when she slid on some ice, plowed into the corner of the building across the road from us, then got out and ran the rest of the way down the hill to her job. The police eventually found her and told her she'd left the scene of an accident. Her reported response: "Well, I had to get to work, didn't I?"

So today, Mrs. C called down to one of the restaurants and asked if any of their employees drove a red Cavalier. Nope.

By this time the car had been in the space for 45 minutes, so at the very least the woman deserved a parking ticket. Mrs. C next called her husband, a local volunteer fireman who knows how to get in touch with the local police department. Note that Mrs. C didn't call the police department itself, for around here that would be foolhardy after 4 p.m. Unless you dial 911, you're not getting the cops after 4.

Around 5 p.m., an officer rolled up, walked around the car a few times and issued it a ticket, telling us he'd check back later.

At 5:45 he returned accompanied by a wrecker which, after gouging a couple of small trenches in the asphalt, managed to winch the car onto its bed before hauling it off to the impound yard. The cop came in and told me where they were taking it, should the owner come back.

That's just great, I thought. Couldn't they have towed it closer to our closing time so I didn't have to be the messenger? I was just imagining the awkwardness of having the owner yell at me because her car got towed, then having to let her use our phone to call for a ride.

Fortunately, she didn't show.

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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.