Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Case of the (Illegal) Noisy Truck

The offending truck outside my office (above)
and the view from my desk

Parked outside my office window, 30 feet from my head, at this moment is a large truck from Shred-it, a company that shreds business paper. It has a motor that sounds roughly like an industrial vacuum cleaner and that motor will run at various decible levels--mostly loud--for the next hour. I asked the driver if he would mind parking on the other side of the street, down the street, in the alley, anywhere else and what I got, in effect, was "go to hell, jerk!"

The noise from this truck makes it difficult to do my job and leaves me angry every Tuesday. It is a distinct interference. So I called the Roanoke city attorney, a smart and decent guy named Bill Hackworth, to ask if anything could be done. The truck parks for about an hour and fifteen minutes in a 20-minute loading zone and the noise level is certainly equal to that of a loud muffler. That would be two violations. Bill says the noise ordinance is mostly for loud parties and is mostly applicable after 10 p.m. Besides, he tells me, the Virginia Supreme Court has just ruled that one locality's law in Virginia is vague so there's a moritorium on enforcing noise ordinances until after Roanoke's is re-written.

I mention the overtime parking, grasping at straws. Bill says that's a possibility and he'll let the cops know about it. A guy from the Roanoke police department named Stan Smith calls and tells me that, practically speaking, trucks that park in loading zones can stay there until the Rapture without fear of fine because, well, the police have been told not to enforce the law when a business truck is involved. Stan came by a while ago and said he would talk to the driver. I said, "What if he tells you he's not moving, not giving an inch?" and Stan admitted there wasn't much he could do in that case.

So I'm sitting here listening to this truck, watching the jerk driving it throw a cigarette on the street in front of my office and seething. Some years ago, when I was still drinking, I came in to work one morning, head aching, nauseous, hung over and pissed off. And there, in my parking place for the forth day in a row, was a Toyota truck. I reached under the seat of my pickup and pulled out my K-bar Marine Corps Survival Knife, walked over to the truck and slashed all four tires. I went into the office and called the police to report an abandoned vehicle. It was towed and I never saw that Toyota again.

Drinking, for me, was a bad thing. Except for that once.

(Update: The cop Stan Smith called this a.m. and related that he and the jerk driver had reached a compromise on the parking problem. Stan told the guy he could pull away from the window and into a "No Parking" spot with immunity. I told Stan I appreciated the effort. And I do.)

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