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No Jail Time For Grandma!

Dec 14, 2007
My diminutive, white haired, 88 year old mother-in-law drives a red sports car and is now being threatened with prison time. Well, maybe not prison, because no one in their right mind wants to envision a little old lady pushing a walker and being led to the hoosegow by burly armed sheriff's deputies.

The whole thing started a few weeks ago when she got a ticket because she parked her car in a handicapped zone just as she does every time she drives to the mall. This time though, her parking permit had expired and the decal stuck on her back window was out of date.

Sounds simple doesn't it? Take a few minutes to write a check and send it to the address on the ticket that was under her windshield wipers and the problem is solved. Wrong! Governmental bureaucracy rears its ugly head!

Buying a new sticker for her car would have been no problem if she'd remembered that the old one was expiring. Her memory was jogged last week however, when she received a summons demanding that she pay up or the local constabulary would throw her in jail.

As soon as she received the summons, without reading any farther than the first paragraph where it threatened her with incarceration if she didn't pay the ticket immediately, she drove downtown to the courthouse where she had gotten her parking permit, to pay the fine.

It was the wrong place, but they did tell her that after paying the ticket she would have to return to the license bureau to get her new decals. They were even helpful enough to give her the exact amount she would have to pay for the new permit; even telling her she could just put it in the mail.

It's important to know that my mother-in-law is as deaf as a post unless her hearing aids are working properly. If they are working, as often as not they emit a ultra high frequency feed back, that drive all the dogs in the neighborhood nuts. Most of the time if she hears every 10th word, she's having a good day.

One of the clerks was patient enough to write down the address of the municipal building complex and the department she needed, along with the amount she needed for the new permit. She was now armed and ready to pay her fine!

After finding the municipal building, which handles traffic violations, including handicapped parking sins, she located the municipal court clerk's office. Unfortunately there was a sign on the door that said the department was closed from 11:00am to 3:00 p.m. for a Thanksgiving party. It doesn't take much to exhaust an 88 year old lady, no matter in how good a shape she's kept herself, so she went home to fight the battle another day.

The day after Thanksgiving the situation didn't improve much for the municipal clerk's office was closed for the holiday. She did get advice from an office employee who was working over time. He looked at her summons and told her she could just mail the amount of the fine into the office, thus saving her a lot of aggravation.

That's just what she did! The next day she sent the money for the fines and court costs, including an additional amount for the fee to renew her handicap permit. Any governmental agency, when faced with more money than they expected, does what comes naturally; they keep it! They didn't apply it to the fines or to the new decal. No one seems to know where the money is!

Unfortunately now, fees for her new handicapped permit had been sucked up into governmental never, never land. Once again she had to pay again the fines for not having a decal, even though the clerk acknowledged that they had received her money. They just don't know where it is!

After this was done, when she went back to the courthouse to get her new decal, she was told that she would now have to have a another doctor's physical before she could be issue a new handicap parking permit!

Evidently the 88 year old, white haired, mostly deaf taxpayer had finally come to the last straw. She reached across the counter, grabbed her application for handicap parking and told the clerk, "I just won't get another permit. It'll be easier to find another parking place at Wal Mart than to have to go through all the red tape again!"
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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