Monday, June 01, 2009


My mom came to visit this weekend. It was a rather relaxing journey, since I can't do much without getting cranky or swollen these days. We decided to hit the Strip Saturday morning because I needed to stock up on meat and I knew the pig dude would be at the Firehouse farmers market.

Anyone who lives in Pittsburgh knows that Saturday is Strip day. Thus, if you are not interested in shopping or looking for parking, you do not drive down Penn Ave or Smallman Street. You just don't. If you do, you know it will take a long time because folks are looking for parking. This is HOW THINGS ARE.

Nance and I were, in fact, going to the Strip and looking for parking. We hopefully swung down Penn Ave, found nothing, and turned over to Smallman. We drove around leisurely, found nothing, turned around, and saw a car getting ready to leave! Hurrah! My mom put on her blinker to indicate she wanted that spot and there we sat, pulled slightly over, waiting to park.

Then we heard BEEP BEEP noises, like an emergency vehicle trying to come through. We thought there was an emergency, which is what such sirens and lights indicate, and lamented our having to pull too far forward to snatch the spot to get out of the way of progress. Glum.

The emergency siren kept beeping and we were confused. Suddenly, a cop pulled along my mom and yelled "STOP! PULL OVER!" out the open window. We were confused because we'd already done both those things, and where was the emergency? Upon us? Nearby? Oh dear!

Instead, the cop proceeded to scold my mother for at least 5 minutes. His beef:
  1. we looked like we were going to double park right there on the road! "Sure looked like it to me," he said.
  2. we were holding up traffic (he says this as a long bottle neck builds behind him as Strip shoppers pile up looking for parking, which is HOW THINGS ARE on Smallman on a Saturday)
  3. we were seeking street parking rather than pulling over to the lot on 23rd he mentioned again and again and again, where we could pay but $5 to park all day. What a good idea! Why pay 25 cents at the meter when we could pay $5? I made note of his idea. And again when he repeated it.
Meanwhile, a white station wagon did indeed double park right there in front of us while the owner got out, bought lettuce, and got back in, drove up 10 feet, then did it again with peaches. The cop kept scolding US. I saw, in the distance, a white minivan doing the same thing. Traffic continued to bottleneck behind us, he kept scolding, and I became irate. He was grilling my poor mother: where did we intend to shop on this visit? What were we going to do?

It's an outside market for crying out loud! We were going to wander up and down the street and spend money and give tax dollars to the vendors who would then pay his salary.

He eventually drove off (after forcefully saying BE CAREFUL!) to repeat this procedure with other would-be shoppers. We parked above Right By Nature and paid nothing. But neither of us is ready to let the incident go. This man's behavior was not appropriate. For starters, he was breaking all the laws he accused us of violating during his scolding. For seconds, to my knowledge it is not illegal to drive slowly or to put one's indicator on before pulling into a vacant parking spot, nor is it illegal to allow a car to exit a spot and safely enter the line of traffic. Not that I'm an expert.

I just cannot imagine the protocol that would advise this waste of tax dollars. He could have been walking the streets and getting the vagrants off the stoops of the coffee shops, where they were sleeping. He could have been checking to see if the damn one-armed, one-legged beggar guy had a permit. He could have been doing ANYTHING else other than holding up traffic on Smallman to scold people who "held up traffic."

I hate him. I want him to be demoted. I want him to be assigned the most awful beat that exists and I wish a wild animal would get into his squad car and pee inside it, so that the smell never leaves and he has to drive around with amonia fumes for the rest of his days.


ellen said...

I hope you report him to the proper authorities! I do not think you could possibly be breaking any laws because you "looked like you were going to double park." I would surely be as mad as you were.

ninny said...

maybe the homeless guy we saw sleeping on the grate could pee in his car...