Thank you to the Ocean Park Association for a tremendous Fourth of July Parade experience. This year the parade was extremely well attended, smoothly run and more fun than in years past.
It was great to see the amazing classic cars that have been rebuilt and brought back to almost factory-new condition. I have a love affair with classic cars and every year it makes me want to go find an old beater and begin the long, and expensive, process of rebuilding it. Mercifully I have enough other stupidly expensive hobbies to keep me busy so I have not picked up the addiction of being a junkyard archeologist, yet.
As I drove down Main Street with my dog seated next to me, we were greeted by thousands of people and it confirmed for me the small town generosity of spirit that exists. I was recognized a few times and readers of the Daily Press shouted out how much they enjoyed reading it. It was an exhilarating experience to have people I don¬ít know yell a greeting and some words of encouragement. There is an intoxication that comes with being the center of attention, if only for the three seconds that you are in front a crowded sidewalk. I can see why some celebrities seem to crave it so.
But if I needed a reminder that I am no celebrity and I wont be treated specially, it was when I returned to where I parked my car.
I did a bad thing. At 7:45 a.m, as I was making my way to the parade set up in front of the Civic Auditorium I couldn¬ít find parking on the street, so I parked in the Bayshore Lanes parking lot and was one of three cars. Now I was wrong to do it, because I was not then, a current customer of the bowling alley or the Oceanside Caf√©, although I did have dinner there the night before.
The parking lot is clearly marked with multiple bright signs that say ¬ìYour Car Will Be Towed¬î if you are not a current customer, but I was thinking that since they weren¬ít open yet and since I was going to be back in about three hours, and probably have lunch at the Oceanside Caf√©, it would be no big deal.
I was wrong.
Evidently the general manager at the AMF Bayshore Lanes, Afshin Sosiadr, takes his parking lot policing duties quite seriously. He had my car towed by the Tip-Top Tow guys. Now he was completely in the right to have my car towed. I was abusing the privilege of being a customer at the bowling alley by parking in their lot when I was not a customer at that particular moment.
I¬ím not sure why he is so protective of the empty parking lot when the business was not open, but it certainly feels very un-neighborly to tow cars that are there for a few hours at best. I could understand if I left my car there for a weekend, but seriously, it was three hours at most, and I had been a regular customer of the Oceanside caf√© for years.
When I returned from the parade to find my car missing, I very politely and without a bit of rancor just confirmed with Mr. Sosiadr that he had in fact towed my car, and with a sheepish smile and a touch of smugness, he said yes. I thanked him and confirmed his name and then went to leave. He became agitated and upset with me, telling me that I wanted to break the law without penalty, so I just walked away.
A phone to call to Tip-Top Tow and $205 later, and I had my car back. Not the end of the world, but a harsh reminder that even when I think I might be special, I¬ím not.
The point of all this is that on the one hand we are a wonderfully congenial small town in many ways and that the people like Lori Nafshun and her army of volunteers who demonstrate their generosity of spirit by putting on the Main Street parade need to be thanked publicly, and on the other hand, we have to remember that the rights of the businesses like AMF Bayshore Lanes need to be respected at all times, or suffer the consequences.
So a big thank you to the Ocean Park Association and the many hands who helped put on another great annual event.
David Pisarra is a Divorce lawyer specializing in Father¬ís and Men¬ís Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.