J. Grant Swank, Jr.

I attended an evening synagogue worship in Old Orchard Beach Maine. Afterward, I walked to my van parked in a legitimate parking space alongside the synagogue. There was a parking violation ticket on my vehicle. Not logical.

I went back to the synagogue, explaining this unfair ticket. A Jewish lawyer said, “Give it to me. I’ll take care of it in the morning.” I believed him. But he did not do that. He took care of nothing.

Was it because at the close of our communication exchange following synagogue worship that I stated myself to be a Protestant minister that the lawyer stood me up? I don’t know. Maybe he just forgot his promise.

Anyhow, some weeks later I got a notice from the Police Chief stating that my fine was doubled because I had not paid it. I phoned his office. The receptionist was rude to me from the get-go. In fact, she hung up on me.

I called back and left a message on the Chief’s answering machine. Bottom line: he told me I had to pay the fine. I told him that the ticket officer unfairly ticketed me when my van was parked in a legitimate parking space. I told him I am an honest citizen, a minister and in my 70s, not about to trespass against OOB law. That did not matter.

Then I told the Chief that I was taking this injustice to the media for I have connections with newspapers throughout Maine, having written for the Portland Press Herald. That changed everything. The mention of the word “media” has a tendency to do that.

As long as the Chief could keep the dialogue between him and me he concluded he would win, no matter his unreasonableness. But when I told him the world was going to read about his meanness to me, then that changed the chemistry.

He said he would phone me back. In a short while I received his return call stating that he had checked the taped converse between his receptionist and myself, concluding she was rude to me and that therefore he would dismiss the parking ticket. How clever of his mindset. Anyhow, I was relieved to know that the situation was closed out and I did not have to pay a fine.

I have thought about the OOB mess-up since, not happy about the recollection.

The other evening I was parked near the Salvation Army territorial campgrounds and worship center. I was attending an evening gospel concert. When I returned to my van parked on a side street, there was a parking ticket.

I checked other cars parked nearby and they had no tickets.

I scanned the ticket to find out how much I owed and what was the reason for getting the ticket. Nothing was marked indicating any of that data. I was left puzzled.

The next morning I phoned the police station to explain my dilemma. Joe answered. He told me to look at the ticket to note that “Other” was circled. That meant I owed a $25 fine.

“But there is no ‘Other’ circled and there is no fine item circled,” I retorted. He disagreed. I was not looking closely enough. I looked again. I was right. But he persisted in telling me he was right.

“Bring the ticket down to the station and show me,” he said. I did not have time to drive to OOB nor did have the glee in doing so. However, I told him I would meet him at 5:30 that evening.

I walked into the station at 5:30. Joe stood there. I handed him the blank ticket. He looked at me and said, “I know it’s blank. I was looking at another ticket when we were talking together this morning.”

Like, duh! Like he was mistaken all along. But could he actually use those words? No.

Okay, OOB police. Once I got a ticket for parking in a legitimate parking space. And next I get a ticket not marked correctly. Furthermore, where I parked near to the
Salvation Army pavilion, there was no sign on a nearby pole stating I could not park there!

I said to Joe: “Tell the department to put a sign on that part of Washington Avenue stating clearly that one cannot park there for others will be unfairly ticketed as I was.”

He replied lamely: “You don’t know how many signs I ask for to be added here at there throughout the village that never get put up.”

So much for parking at Old Orchard Beach Maine. Beware when at OOB.


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