On the third floor of a glass-eyed building, the Tow Hearing Officer listens to stories he's heard before.

A man from out of town contends that as park-1.JPG (6647 bytes) doesn't spell out "No Parking" it's not a legal sign. "Nice try," I whisper as he walks past me.

A young man with a laptop computer shows digital pictures of where he had been parked. Not trusting virtual reality, the Officer says, "I'll go have a look for myself. 

Through a thick Russian accent, a woman pleads for her son, who's not there. "His license was expired," the Officer explains. "But he lives with me," she insists, her non-sequitur hopelessly lost in translation. Finally, she turns to the audience and shrugs.

A 75-year-old woman—she repeats her age several times—argues that the person who called the police hates her, and the car was towed with her walker and spare cane inside.

When it's my turn, the Officer reads my letter, then I say."It was dark. There was no sign, and the driveway was covered with big yellow leaves." When is a driveway a driveway? I think. I'll go have a look," he says.

sign-1.GIF (5502 bytes)