Zany city rules cause for frustration
January 31, 2005 —
I have lived in the City of Saginaw for about a year now and must confess that the first 12 months have been reminiscent of The Beverly Hillbillies. Now, it wasn't as if I was eating raccoon and swimming in my "cement pond," but certainly there were a few changes I needed to get accustomed to.
One of the obvious differences is the proximity of the houses around you. I can look out my bedroom window and see my neighbor doing his dishes (often with his shirt off, unfortunately.) He's so close I can tell if he's blown his nose lately. If that's not bad enough, this gentleman likes to cut his lawn at ridiculously early hours. As a late sleeper, I've often been furiously awoken by the roaring noise of landscaping at 9 am. It sounds as though he's inside my house mowing the carpet. On the flip side, I can't go outside at night and play basketball, because the bouncing is too loud and it disturbs "quiet time." What is this, a nursery? Back where I come from, we could play basketball at any hour we wanted and shoot skeet while doing it if we were so inclined.
Once you get adjusted to the neighbors (if you ever do), then you have to learn the rules of the street. I'm not talking about some ghetto gang initiation or bare-knuckle underground boxing club. I'm referring to the ridiculous rules that the city places on the streets themselves. For starters, I'm not a big fan of the "you can't park your car on the street between 3 and 6 am" rule. At our house, we have three cars and one of those long and narrow typical driveways. A view from above would make it look like I was parking my Grand Prix on an overgrown cement chopstick. With everyone's varying schedules, moving cars around is like playing musical chairs and every once in a while I just get fed up with it and leave my car in the road. Well, right on cue, my friendly neighborhood parking police comes by and drops a shiny new parking ticket on my window. It's quite similar to the tooth fairy. I leave my car on the street and go to sleep, only when I wake up in the morning, that silly little fairy has reached into my wallet and robbed me blind.
If the parking tickets won't get you, then the mailman or the trash man will. At my mom and dad's house where I grew up, we had to be careful on Friday mornings because the garbage men were so good. If we accidentally left our cars by the curb, those guys would be apt to toss it into the back of the truck. Out here, the rules are annoyingly specific as to what you can and cannot throw away. Things can only be so big or so heavy. You can throw away yard waste but it has to be in its own separate, marked container. Have something big like a refrigerator? Well, you're going to have to wait until Sunday night to take that out, because you're not supposed to leave trash on the curb if it's not trash day. What happened to the days when you could set junk out five days early and expect hooligans and trash pickers to snatch it before waste management even sees it? Now there seems to be this exact moment when you can look down the sidewalk and see all of your fellow citizens dragging there tiny amounts of labeled garbage to the curb.
Now we switch from those taking your trash to those delivering it. I get a kick out of mail carriers. The rural mail carriers of the world have to drive through the whole "rain, sleet and hail" thing to deliver mail to homes on unplowed roads. Meanwhile, these mail carriers that walk around delivering mail in the city are complaining about every little thing. These people want shoveled walks, salted steps, clear paths and hot cups of coffee and peanut butter sandwiches waiting at every house. I've heard of mail carriers leaving notes in mailboxes insisting their demands are met or they'll refuse to deliver your mail. How pathetic, holding my mail hostage.
On the topic of snow, I recently found out that it is illegal to shovel the snow into the road. Where did I learn this, you ask? Well, I learned it on that wonderful TV channel that loops all of the crazy city laws while melodramatic elevator music plays in the background. This is how I found out that shoveling snow into the street can lead to a $100 fine, 90 days in jail, or both.
Let's get serious. Jail time for shoveling snow? I wonder what second offenders get? Oh, and I can imagine what those prisons are like.
"What ya in for mac?"
"One night, I snuck out of the house with a shovel..."
"I tossed a bunch of snow into the street."
Oh yes, I'm quite fed up with this city living. I want to be able to fine the snowplow drivers $100 every time they come down my street at 50 miles an hour and fling thousands of pounds of snow back into my driveway. Usually, this happens about three days after a big snow storm (yes, that's right, they have three days to plow a secondary street) and causes all sorts of issues. Usually, I'll have to move my car back into the street so I can shovel my driveway. This causes a big problem because I get all stressed out because I don't want to forget, leave it out there and end up paying a fine. Then, my crazy mailman comes by and complains to me that there is too much snow on the sidewalk and he won't deliver my mail until it's cleaned off.
Frustrated, I'll start smacking him around and finish by kicking him to the curb. Then I'll wind up with a ticket because you're not supposed to set the trash out until Sunday.