Saturday, March 18, 2017


Workday mornings are regimented affairs. There's the making of the breakfast, eating of the breakfast, the brushing, the cleaning, the clothing, the socking and shoeing and the exiting of the home. Workdays mornings are designed to be done with your eyes closed because they're controlled situations. Everything should be in its right place (except my glasses which have always wandered).

One morning in the past week things weren't quite in their right place. We'd gone through the routine above when we opened the car door to find all the compartments open and the contents all over the floor of the car. Clearly I'd accidentally left the doors unlocked the day before and someone had wandered up the driveway to look for soft opportunities at theft. Our car was right outside our bedroom window so they must have been quiet. That morning I'd woken before 5am for a run too, and had popped out the door at about 5:15am but hadn't noticed anything astray then, although it's possible it'd already happened. Heaven forbid I came out while they were cowering behind the car. 

It was all a sobering shock and a sharp reminder. I knew I'd become lazy about locking the car doors and some mornings when I noticed them unlocked I'd had momentary fantasies about opening the back door (where I put my backpack) to find someone sleeping there. Fortunately that fantasy didn't become real but the ransacking of your car is definitely akin. 

They didn't get anything as far as we know. I'm not sure what people commonly leave in their car overnight. Emergency cash? GPS devices to fence? Snacks? In our car, they turned down the Dolce & Gabanna sunglasses I never wear (given by my old manager in GZ; I hate sunglasses though; this pair are widely thought to be fake). They fortunately turned down my swipe card. Who knows why they'd pinch a swipe card but that'd have really messed up my morning. And the only mess they left was the upturning of travel brochures. Besides requiring us to put things away again, the only other bother was the sense of violation of our private space. Roughly 10 years ago I had the "classic" small rear passenger window smashed by someone similarly minded. I'm glad I haven't had that which is a terrible hassle. 

Last year aside from negligence with the left side and corners of the car, I'd had reasonable automotive luck. This year it has deserted me a little. Just after New Year, I was caught doing 54km/hr on Dominion Rd, which I can scarcely believe - Dominion Road is very difficult to speed on. I'm not saying I don't ever exceed 50, but in my current habits it's rare. There were options for challenge but I thought just like when a friend or family comments on a past you can't remember,  just let it slide and paid the fine. Fortunately it was by a stationary camera and not by a police car or else our trip to Northland would have really got off to a bad start.

Then a few weeks back we went to Newmarket for a massage for my injury and parked on Khyber Pass. I walked up the road and looking for a meter but there wasn't one. It was in a bus lane but well outside the hours for use. Other cars were there so I wasn't too worried. My massage finished first and I went to get a snack when I glanced up the road a saw flashing lights. Injured or not, I ran up the road. Cars were getting towed away from the area and being ticketed. Fortunately the towie hadn't gotten to mine yet but there was already a ticket. I asked the warden who said that it was Lantern festival night and that there was signage, which he pointed out (in picture). It was about 50m away from the front of our vehicle and another one 50m back up the road and facing the other direction (to the flow of traffic). It irked me as unfair - if they didn't want people to park there, two signs 100m apart are always going to catch people out. I could quickly think of four points that made their method seem unfair. And I was annoyed because I had made a reasonable effort to check that the space was OK.

I put my case to the council via their website but they maintained their claim. If I wanted to fight the fine I'd have to go to court. And if the court still found in favour of the fine, I'd have to pay the fine and court costs. In better times, I would have probably still fought. But with work the way it was I was not in the mood. I rolled over and paid the fine.

Whether it is criminal invasion of my car's space or bureaucratic, it feels just as bad. Yet the police and the council made off with $70 and the criminal made off with nothing. 

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