Is this pre-meditated parking skulduggery?

The devil is in the details. It's an axiom that's called to mind by many Los Angelenos as they endeavor to interpret parking signs after receiving a ticket.

Fume as we may about parking officers who swoop and cite our vehicles within the minute the meter expires, most of us have always understood the bit about the details.

As burned as we may feel by the sting of a citation, few would suggest that they were duped by some sort of intentional visual trickery. The mere notion that a parking department would engage in skulduggery seems lunatic. Read the sign. Follow the rules. It's simple.

That's why I'm sure there's a good explanation for why a string of "9 hour parking" meters in the 1100 block of Colorado Ave in Santa Monica is blended with a couple "9 minute parking" meters (see photo inset). Surely "9 minute parking" meters exist other places, not just next to "9 hour parking" meters. Don't they?

The 9-minute duration is odd. Why not 10, or 15 minutes? How about 8 minutes? And, while we're at it, why does the "9 minute parking" meter allow the purchase of far more time than permitted by the nine-minute limit?

In the spirit of search-engine dominated Santa Monica (both Yahoo and Google have offices there), I tried to find some answers online.

I conducted a simple Google search of "15 minute parking" and it yielded more than 28,000 hits. There were 7,900 at Yahoo. The phrase "10 minute parking" returned about 850 on Google and nearly 13,000 on Yahoo. But, "9 minute parking" failed to return a single document from either Google, or Yahoo. Nothing.

Of course, such statistics are meaningless because the sign still says what it says. But I just can't figure any other way to make the point without sounding like, well, a yahoo.

More by TJ Sullivan:
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