Dear City Citation Bureaucracy,

I broke the law.  I did.  I drove in a bus lane when I was coming home from work on Friday.  It was open. There were no buses in sight.  The traffic was bad and I tore into that wide open lane like an Olympic ice luger.  Then the blue lights came on, and the siren.  I pulled over and took my punishment.  I didn’t say a protesting word to the cop.  He seemed busy and stressed out—so busy and stressed out that he didn’t see seven cars pass us, also in the bus lane— and was nice enough to give me the lesser infraction.  I broke the law.  Now, I am going to pay my fine…hold on…just reading this faded type on the back of the ticket to see how…

[2:05] Huh.  There is no website listed, but I bet there is one.  They must have just forgotten to mention it here, on the ticket.  I’ll just Google it.  Umm, yes, here it is.  Fifth search result.  Clicking there…Perfect!  I can just enter my ticket number, like so, and now I’ll just pay my—

Hm.  The cop said the fine was $50.  But I read that you are charging me $170.  Those numbers are different enough that I don’t think I’m remembering incorrectly.  I’m not late and haven’t received any other violations so this seems to be some sort of mistake.

No matter.  These things happen so I’ll just call this number you left me on the ticket.  Okay, I pressed (1).  And yes, now (3) seems like the closest option to my situation.  Great, (1) again, of course I’ll have this call in English.  Oh, interesting music choice, not what anyone I know has ever put on in their entire life, but there is nothing wrong with a little cheap jazz every—oh, hi female automated voice.  Great, you appreciate my call and will get to me as soon as possible.  Thanks.  Back to the smooth jazz…

[2:32] Yup, automated voice, I know.  I’m really enjoying this music now because it’s the seventh time I’ve heard this song, so you don’t have to keep interrupting to tell me that you appreciate my call and—oh it’s ringing!  Great!

“Yes, I’d like to ask a…oh sorry, my ticket number is 010-63…You don’t process tickets that begin with 010?  But this is the phone number on my…okay, sure, give it to me…Thank—.”  Huh, hung up.  She must have been busy.

[2:40] Alright, now we have the number.  I’ll just dial, and it’s ringing.  Great.  Oh an answering machine for extension 3392.  That can’t be right, this is the number the Customer Service Rep gave me to pay for any traffic or moving violation…unless she gave me the first number on an outdated sheet of paper tapped to her cubicle that hasn’t been synched up to anything else in the city system since 2006.  That can’t be right.  I must have copied it down wrong.

I guess I’ll look online and see if there is something there.  Oh, fantastic!  I didn’t even see this number right where I tried to pay online the first time.  It’s—oh, wait—this is the first number I tried calling, from my ticket, that didn’t work.  Huh.  It seems to be out of date on their website too.  They must be so busy that they can’t update this stuff.

[2:55] I guess the best course of action is to just look the main number to the Traffic and Police Department and get the right number that way.  Those main number directories are always useful and have everything listed.  That’ll be the easiest since the number on the other pages of the website are out of date.  Here’s the mainline number on the .gov homepage.  Perfect!  Dialing, ready to navigate a phone tree and…

“Oh, excuse me, hi, um, Marion.  Um, I was just looking for a directory… what?…I’m just trying to clear up a discrepancy in my traffic…okay, well I tried calling that number and it…I know…but…I did that and it didn’t work…Sure, give me the other number you have.  Thank—” Huh, she hung up too.  Everyone is so busy over there these days.

Okay, dialing this number now.  Perfect.  (1) For Traffic violations.  And yes, (4) because my violation number does not end in a letter.  Great, (3) because I don’t have any other outstanding violations.  Okay, now I’ll enter my date of birth.  And my driver’s license number.  And the ticket number.  Huh, you’d think those would be tied to the ticket number.  No matter, this is the right path.  I can feel it.

[3:07] Great, there are five callers in line in front of me.  Different music this time, guess I should diversify my smooth jazz repertoire.  Oh, great, now there are only three people.  Dang, that’s too bad: they started the song over.  This is the right path, I can tell.  I’ll have this over and done—oh, perfect only one person in front of me.  Darn, they started the song over—but it’s ringing now!

[3:27] Oh.  It stopped ringing, guess it’s just transferring to someone so I can clear this little problem up.  Huh.  The dead air is a little disconcerting but no matter, the phone is still engaged with some number because it hasn’t turned off.  Hmmm.  More dead air.  I wonder if—‘call has been disconnected?’  Oh man.

That’s really too bad.  They must be having phone problems.  This is interesting though.  Looking at my watch, I’ve spent the last eighty-two minutes trying to sort this out.  I guess the best course of action for me is to just suck up the $120 difference and pay this ticket online.  They’ve been so nice as to provide this website so I should just use it.

Though, maybe it would be worth it to get in my car and drive down to city hall, where I am sure there is ample, cheap parking, and go to room 145, as indicated on my ticket and protest that way.  I doubt there is much of a line.

What do you think City Citation Bureaucracy?

Thanks.

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