Wednesday March 21, 2007

Downtown adventure


This is what happened last Friday. To set it up, let me tell you that I’m usually a flake about things like returning phone calls, paying bills, and renewing my car registration. But this year I was determined to be better, so when I got the paperwork in the mail, I went right to the web site. I typed all my info in, and got some generic “we can’t process your request right now” type of message. I figured I was too early, so I let it go, and tried again a couple of times. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I realized there was some problem and I wouldn’t be able to renew my registration online. Somewhat irritated, I went to the courthouse on my lunch break Thursday to do it in person. They told my I had a parking ticket hold on my renewal! Now, I live on South Beach, so parking tickets are a part of life, but I’d paid all 3 outstanding tickets on the Clerk’s website over a month ago. Wtf?!

Well, it turns out that payment didn’t go through. Obviously I didn’t print the confirmation page, but I’ll just assure you that it sure looked like it went through. Whatever. But now I have exactly one day to fix the parking tickets and renew my registration before leaving the country until the next month, when I’m eligible for parking tickets even if I park legally on account of having expired tags. I wake up extra early on Friday and head downtown, armed with the address of Courthouse East, where the parking tickets can be sorted out: 22 NW 4th St: Easy!


Here’s where I parked, and if you understand Miami’s street name system, you’ll know that I was very close to my target address. Except that I wasn’t, and here’s where my own stupid mistake came to bear, because — duh — click the address above and you’ll see that I wrote it down wrong. I was a few blocks away from the real Courthouse East, but it’s a long few blocks when you’re wandering around and asking every 4th person for directions (including the parking attendant for the police station while unmarked cars are trying to get into the lot). I might also point out that “Courthouse East” doesn’t help with shit, because there are about four distinct court buildings in Downtown, most of them arranged in a North-South line!

Courthouse East

Courthouse East! (Which, in all fairness, is just east of the old, original, courhouse building.) Now we’re getting somewhere. I sure hope my parking meter doesn’t run out — it sure would suck to get a parking ticket while paying four overdue parking tickets. And don’t ask me where the 4th one came from; as far as I’m concerned they made it up.

Illegal photo!

I’m irritable, and snapping photos to relax myself. You see the security guard through the glass in this one? He came out and yelled at me that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I told him fine, but he seemed unsatisfied and asked me what I was doing there. I told him I was trying to pay a parking ticket. I also asked him if it was against the law to take photographs, but his English wasn’t so hot, because he exclaimed, “No! You’re not allowed to take photographs!” I dropped it. The people upstairs didn’t seem to have a problem with my photographing, but now the next thing — the parking department doesn’t take checks OR credit cards! That’s right — your government only takes cash!! I think the parking department, homeless bums, and my drug dealer are the only three institutions I deal with that I need cash for anymore.

Government Business!!

Now I’m wandering around Downtown looking for an ATM, and here’s the one I found (the lady at the parking dept gave me directions, but I’m not sure if this is the one she was talking about — they were sort of convoluted). So I pay up. Oh, can I renew my registration here while I’m at it? Of course not. Miami courthouses don’t renew vehicle registrations, but she’s happy to direct me to a nearby tag agency. No thanks. I’m heading back up to Broward, where the courthouse can help me. Blah, Miami.

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  1. I was there    Wed Mar 21, 04:50 PM #  

    Who needs Virtual reality games or the Sims?

    It sounds as if you were stuck in a very real and frustrating video game!

    Thankfully you didn’t have a gun!

    I just returned from Seattle, WA….where I happened to attend an Anti-War Pro-Peace rally with thousands of people.

    When I returned to Miami I heard on the radio that 25 people showed up for a protest rally in Doral….?! wtf.

  2. Michael Emilio + Miami Real Estate    Wed Mar 21, 04:53 PM #  

    Hence the title coming next?

  3. Star struck at Starbucks    Wed Mar 21, 05:28 PM #  

    Haven’t you heard? Taking photos in public is illegal in Miami.

  4. NicFitKid    Wed Mar 21, 09:03 PM #  

    Next time, do it like a downtown lawyer and hire a courier to pay your parking tickets. Seriously, in addition to their official crap like filings, I have scrambled across downtown and other areas running what were essentially personal errands. I wonder if their firms foot the bill, or if it gets converted into billable hours for an unsuspecting client.

  5. benji    Thu Mar 22, 08:57 AM #  

    That was fun to read! Do something like that again, so we can have another story. We’ll all chip in for the deep relaxation massage you’re going to need after exposing yourself to all these highly stressful events (aka, the everyday civics of South Florida). But hey, it’s for our pleasure right?

  6. Steve    Thu Mar 22, 09:19 AM #  

    Good idea, Benji. Encourage Alesh to keep “exposing himself.” That way he’ll have plenty more official agencies to deal with.

  7. Manola Blablablanik    Thu Mar 22, 11:25 AM #  

    Alesh needs a secretary!

    I need a butler … (sigh)

    NKF ... please I beg you revive your blog!

  8. Johnny R.    Thu Mar 22, 01:12 PM #  

    Yup..Sounds like Miami. I worked in the legal field for years there and it is horrible to deal with any courthouse in that damn county.

  9. Verticus    Thu Mar 22, 07:39 PM #  

    Cash only? What does the government know that we don’t know? It sounds like a horror movie. My sympathies.

  10. Jonathan    Thu Mar 22, 09:23 PM #  

    When I returned to Miami I heard on the radio that 25 people showed up for a protest rally in Doral….?! wtf.

    I wasn’t there.

  11. Neale    Sun Mar 25, 07:12 PM #  

    trust me its getting more difficult to pay your way ;)

  12. Gareth    Sat Mar 31, 07:53 PM #  

    Happened upon your site— is your friend for renewing vehicle registrations.

    later. :)