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.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Ignorance Opposition (or, "More Crazy Fun with Robert Ludlum Titles")


I was having a perfectly nice conversation with Mrs. C and Mrs. H today when I happened to glance out the window and see Chester the (potential) Molester getting out of his car and looking for all the world like the stupid sack of crap he is. As usual, he had parked in the half-hour parking. If history was any teacher, though, the car would be there for at least two hours.

Chester locked his vehicle, checked the door, walked away a few paces then came back and checked the door again before slinking off into the daylight. No doubt he was on his way over to the community college in search of FAFSA forms.

Mrs. C, who had not seen him, instead saw the snarl of disgust on my face and said, "Let me guess."

“Yup.”

“Thought so.”

I glanced up at the clock, then announced, "All right, it's 1:30. At 2 p.m., I'm calling the cops."

Two o’clock rolled around soon enough and I still hadn’t called the cops, though. During the intervening half hour the staff had discussed the probability that even if we did call the police and they actually did send the meter maid up the hill, our word would likely not be proof enough. She would probably have to mark the parking space with a chalk time notation then come back a half hour later to issue the ticket. Sure, Chester's car would probably still be there, but it seemed like a whole lot of effort.

Mrs. C suggested we call the police and offer to mark the parking space with our own chalk so they would be saved the grueling walk up the hill--which is the core reason why no one ever gets a ticket for parking beyond their limit in our half hour parking. I then suggested that we should abandon that idea in favor of just going down and cramming a hundred FAFSA forms under Chester's windshield wipers. We didn't do that either, though, and in the end I didn’t call the cops at 2 p.m.

At 2:30, however, Chester’s car was still taking up a valuable space, so I changed my mind. With Mrs. A, C, H and J as my audience, I called the cops on Chester for the second time ever.

THE COPS: Hello, TRI METRO police department.

ME: Hi, this is JUICE at the TRI-METRO county library. We have a guy parked in the half hour parking out front here who’s been there for an hour now. He does this nearly every day and he’s not one of our patrons. We’ve left notes for him on his car asking him not to do this, but he does it anyway. And I don’t think he’s ever been issued a ticket.

(All of this was completely true.)

THE COPS: (Sighing at having her time wasted, as well she probably should) What kind of car?

ME: A Ford FUGLY.

THE COPS: (Sighing yet again) Okay. I’ll let one of the officers know.

Nine minutes later, one of TRI METRO’s finest rolled up in an SUV cop-wagon and parked in front of Chester’s car.

“Cheese it, the fuzz,” I said.

The officer got out, walked around Chester’s Fugly, then came in the library.

“That blue FUGLY him?” the officer asked.

“Yup.”

“How long’s he been there?”

“One hour, ten minutes.”

The officer brandished a bright yellow ticket. “I’m going to leave him something.”

“Very good.”

Mrs. C and I gathered around the window to watch the officer deposit Chester’s ticket under the driver’s side wiper. It gleamed yellowy in the sun. I wanted to clap.

“Damn, I wish I’d brought my camera today,” I said. Why? Why hadn’t I? I’d even thought about it before I left the house. I should have! ARGH!
 
Forty minutes passed during which I was never far from the window. I was intent on being there to see Chester return and discover his ticket. I wanted to personally witness the emotional cocktail of confusion, realization and anger spread across his meaty puss. Then I was going to dance.

“Do you want to go on break?” Mrs. A asked.

"Yeah, I’d like to, but I can’t risk it. As soon as I'm gone, he'll show up and I'll miss it."

Instead of leaving for break, I just played on Mrs. C's computer, checking out my auctions while Mrs. A stood guard at the circ desk. A mere five minutes into my break, Mrs. A said, "Yep, there he is." She had seen him through the glass front door as he was walking along the sidewalk out front headed down the hill to his car. We quickly gathered at the window where we had a nice view of Chester just as he arrived at his car.

What I expected was for Chester to reach to unlock his car then do a double take at the ticket, gleaming there in plain sight. He unlocked his door, all right, but he failed to notice the ticket. He climbed in and started the engine. And from within the car he still couldn't see the ticket because this bloated goiter of a human had blocked his own view of it by piling loads and loads of paper and crap and probably FAFSA forms across his dashboard!

"Nooooo!!!!" Mrs. A and I raged as he pulled out of the space and drove away, completely unaware of the bright yellow justice we'd laid on him. And now that we thought about it, this was probably the same thing he did back when Mrs. A put that note on his car warning him about parking in our half hour spaces, two months ago. Our victory was crushed.

"Well, at least if he loses it the cops will have an outstanding ticket to get him on," Mrs. A offered. I somehow couldn't celebrate.

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