Property of the editors
by Katie Burns
The ticket flapped on the windshield unnoticed for three blocks, a vulture certain to feast upon its teenage victim sooner o later.
The driaver of the car pulled over and whipped the offending piece of paper from beneath the wiper. She canned it, then tossed it to me. The fine was $20 for violating a zone posted, "NO PARKING from 8:00 to 4:00, except for Saturday, Sunday, and holidays."
This was Martin Luther King Day, though, a legal federal holiday.
The stony-faced policeman at the police office told us, in sparse and final terms, that only city holidays applied to parking signs.
Upstairs, my friend forked over two tens to the clerk. I then politely (I hope) asked for a list of official city holidays, but the clerk could not supply me with one.
I went home to complain to my mother, the recipient of my frequent feelings of injsutice. She informed me, laughing, that everybody knew that parking signs referred only to city holidays. I informed her, growling, that teenagers didn't always know these things.
I reflected that, as a teenager, I feel I've been set in front of a giant chessboard with an adult on the other side. I don't even know the names of the pieces, much less the rules of the game...and as soon as I learn a legal move, a pawn attacks me from the diagonal and takes away any advantage I may have gained.
The day afater the parking fiasco, my friend's mother gave me a ride to school and a clipping from the paper. I read with interest the article about the new parking holidays.
From the rewriting of the city chater in 1974 until 8:00 PM M.L.King evening, Park Ridge had no legal parking holidays.
For years, adults have parked in "NO PARKING from 8:00 to 4:00, except for Saturday, Sunday, and holidays" areas on Christmas, New Year's, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving, the new legal holidays. They were unticketed by kindly officers who knew everyone assumed city holidays covered these dates.
The adults were unwittingly as clueless about parking on these holidays as two teenagers were about parking on M.L. King Day.
I rethought my position on teenagerhood.
Teens are indeed part of a game they don't understand. Yet, so are the adults, and the rules--whether they be laws or unspoken expectancies--constantly change.
The incident that cost my friend $20 and myself some indignity was only a small example of this, but a good one.
The game that is living remains uncertain to every generation.