It's not fair to hate a city and really, it doesn't make much sense. What are you hating, anyway? The inhabitants, the buildings, the weather? It does no good to hate a place, because the place surely doesn't care. Even the inhabitants of the place won't care, telling you that you just don't get it and that they don't want you around nohow. In the end, you are just wasting your energy.

All that being said, I kind of hate Richmond. I have a good reason: they towed my car once.

Josh had a show in downtown Richmond. My car was parked on the street, along with the cars of the other bar patrons. There were many. We came out of the bar at 2 AM, or whenever bars close in Virginia, and the night was lit up with blue lights pulsing from the tops of cars labelled "RPD." But no civilian cars on the street. I went to talk to a policeman, because that's what you should do when you're in a strange city and you can't find your car.

He said it had been towed. I asked why. He said it had been parked in a No Parking zone.

That seemed very odd to me, since I had been parked with a lot of other cars. Also, after living in Boone for four years, I am very careful to check for signs about where it is acceptable to park. Boone will tow your butt in a heartbeat, and then you have to go down to Ashe Lake Garage in the middle of the night, pay $70 to get your car back and then listen to the guy complain about stupid college kids. Spend any amount of time in Boone, and you will quickly develop a lifelong dread of public parking.

Apparently, Richmond and Boone have something in common.

It turns out that there were signs posted about No Parking. In front of every other space, there is a blue sign that says "2 Hour Parking, Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM." Now, from that sign, you might interpret that you could park there as long as you wanted on weekends or overnight. However, that sign should include some more text that says "Please refer to other signs". Because for every five of those signs is an additional sign which says "No Parking, Monday - Sunday, 11 PM - 4 AM." This sign is red, and there is a helpful graphic of the city of Richmond gleefully towing your butt.

So that's what happened. I presume that all the residents of Richmond know about this little trick and that 10:59, they sneak out of the bars and go move their cars to some secret free parking area, laughing at the clueless tourists all the way. Me, I was one of the clueless tourists, so at 10:59, I was still enjoying my beer inside the bar, unaware that the Okay To Park zone was about to become a HAHAHA SUCKAS zone. The policeman told me that my car was now at the police impound, which did not open until the next morning. We spent the night in Richmond, and the next morning, we took a cab over to the impound and rescued my car. It cost a lot of money, none of which the city of Richmond will use to put up more of the red No Parking signs.

And that's fine, that's life. But I can still hate Richmond, just a little bit, for that.

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