Thursday, July 1, 2010

Parking Tickets & Democracy

I had to go into town this morning to help a friend of mine with his asylum application to stay in Ireland. You see, he comes from Nigeria, and where he was living, life has become totally destroyed by corruption.
Luckily, Ireland is not corrupt. I called a few influential friends who I know and asked them to push his name up the list, and I got an old lover to help set him up with a false I.D. so that he can at least do a bit of work while he’s waiting for his case to be heard.
When I returned to my parked car I found that I’d been given a parking ticket: forty quid. I took it off the windscreen and looked at it with the same disbelief that I look at rejection letters from publishers.  Just then a community warden came along.
“Is this from you”, I asked, because if I was to get a ticket I at least wanted to look into the eyes of my persecutor before selling my children’s shoes to pay the fine.
It wasn’t from him, but without much of a conversation he began to tell me what I now needed to do. What I don’t need to do, apparently, is to go to City Hall and pay the fine. No. First of all he suggested that I hang around a while and wait for someone who actually had bought a parking ticket and to ask them for it and then go to City Hall with the ticket, claiming that it had been mine but that it had blown onto the floor of my car or something. Given that the street was pretty deserted he then suggested plan B: go to my car mechanic and get a note saying that the car had broken down and that theoretically it was not parked, but immobile. He assured me that this would work. He also tried to cheer me up by saying that it could have been worse, the warden could have done me for not having tax and that would have been another €60.
I informed him that I was aware of not having tax and he reminded me that seeing as I’m almost four months overdue with the tax disc that the best bet is to go to the police station and get a form signed to say that my car has been off the road. This will mean I’ll get away with paying for the months that are in arrears.
I told him that I was delighted to find such an informative public servant, as usually all they do is to put you on hold when you ring some office and he apologised again that he couldn’t rip up the ticket as he hadn’t issued it.
“I aim to please”, he said.
 “And you do please”, I said.
 And I went off home feeling happy with the world and glad that I live in a civilised country like Ireland and not in a really corrupt one like Nigeria.

No comments: