12.27.2006

common sense...


it is clear to me that much of the world exists without common sense

what boggles my mind is that so many people are assigned various tasks at work
but they fail to understand the objectives

the other day I was getting donuts at Heller's bakery and watching the morning activity outside the window
there was a classic situation
a car was double parked while there were multiple legal spaces just steps ahead
the car that was double parked was the official meter maid car

I watched the short little soap opera unfold
the meter maid went to issue the ticket to the driver who had neglected to put money in the meter
the owner of the car stood a few feet to my left adding sugar and cream to his coffee
while just to my right outside the window the meter maid researched the registration information on the windshield

it was classic
the owner of the car walked outside then rushed the meter maid in a huff
not sure what his ticket was for
not sure if his registration had lapsed
but it was an amusing silent film to witness as I sipped my coffee and ate my donut

the back and forth continued
the meter maid went on her way
then the car owner got into his car with his elevated heart rate and went on his
had he just put twenty five cents in the meter.... there would have been no attention to his registration

with my coffee and donut no longer on the table
but sitting comfortably in my belly I headed for home
it was time for my house guest to head to philly for his holiday fun
a few blocks off the main strip I saw the meter maid's vehicle parked blocking an alley way
another illegal action by the same vehicle
the city employee exited a hair weave store within the Argyle building and moved towards her car
I mentioned in jest that if I could give tickets I would issue that car a ticket
to that she got smarmy in a playful sort of way.... well... I am the one issueing tickets around here... where are you parked?
parked? I said take it easy cowgirl... I am walking
we all had a laugh
it was playful
but I know better to mess with the meter maid ninjas
make enemies with them
and they could make your life miserable

but...
the humor is that this woman may be good at her job in respect to the diligent issuance of tickets
but... she fails to see that her purpose is for a greater objective
to create flow
to issue tickets to prevent people from parking in such a way to cause blockage to the motion of traffic
not so much as to ruin someone's day or to collect revenue
but to keep traffic moving
all the while she is blocking traffic in an effort to ease the flow of traffic
maybe someone needs to explain to her the objectives of the job

but...
I guess that is irrational
as in my efforts to calm traffic on my street I was amazed to see that the DDOT folks and the DC Metropolitan Police failed to understand that tickets do not change behavior
issuing a ticket does not change behavior
it is the threat of issuing a ticket that changes behavior
the ticket is punishment
that does not curb the behavior
it is the threat that changes behavior

people will park in front of a hydrant if they do not fear getting a ticket
if they get a ticket
they will cuss and scream then play the odds again
but... if tickets were issued each and every time someone parked in front of a hydrant
behavior would change
there are places where people do not speed or people do not park illegally
because YOU WILL GET A TICKET
that threat prevents the behavior.... those who do not understand that this is a definite will learn this the first or second time that they act outside of the law

if we want to change behavior the law needs to be consistent
the intermittent issuing of penalties is not enough to alter behavior
that is why Red Light Cameras work
the car traffic knows where the cameras are
so they behave appropriately when within view of the camera
then speed away and run the next light

issuing a ticket is like hitting a child
it does not change the behavior
it is punishment
but not always the most productive method of guiding future behavior

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You might enjoy this, though it hasn't been updated in a while.

Sent 'em some of my own evidentiary pix a few days ago, but no post so far...

gwadzilla said...

gears-
that is an amazing link
what a fantastic project
-zilla