Comparing California to Baja Mexico through the lens of bullshit parking tickets

While Mexico has its shady dealings and “frightful mythical banditos praying on travellers” reputation, in the end its ‘law’ enforcers have the same goals as those in the good ole USA—take your money over bullshit violations. I was lucky enough to have two incidents in one year so I thought I’d share. Seeing as its 2022 and getting cancelled is at Omicron-contagious levels, I know there are worse ‘police incidents’ in this country. I can only try to help avoid you losing $75.

I was havin’ some fun until the squad rolled up over Santa Monica Boulevard

The pandemic allowed me to finally leave Gotham for greedier pastures. One afternoon I went to meet a friend in Santa Monica. I always parked on the same street (Ocean Ave) that’s close to the beach with metered parking. I almost never had to hunt for a spot, until this day. Fed up and seeing my friend waiting for me outside (this was pre-vaccine times so he couldn’t just ride shotgun), I parked in a red zone and put on my hazards. There was a bench about TEN FEET from my car. I figured we could just chat there, any issues I’d just get in my car and leave.

I figured wrong.

This is real. This is still in use today. This is NOT a movie prop.

I see the parking enforcement cart putter up Ocean Ave. I let my friend finish a thought then say I gotta move my car. Within seconds this cop had exited his, ahem, vehicle, run across the street and was behind my car. I say “hi” and get no response. Again I say “hi!” and he says “hi you’re parked in a red zone!” and takes a photo of my license plate. The next day I check the Santa Monica traffic violation site for my plate and there it is, a $75 ticket.

An actual government website user interface in 2022 A.D.

I really thought I could fight the ticket. I spent a good deal of time writing a letter to the administrative board, explaining I was tending to my sick friend (he wasn’t sick of course but geez have some compassion). And here’s where it gets even worse. They don’t email or call or fax you with their response. You have to go back to their shitty website every day, login and see if your bill is still $75, reduced or removed. And then you have a 7 day window to pay or I’d get a late fee. And of course they didn’t buy my brilliant excuse. Guilty.

Viva (but watch where you park in) Mexico!

In LA this view would cost… actually I don’t know and that’s why I’m here

I’m temporarily living in Ensenada, Mexico. Exclude this little mishap and this has been a great place to live. Found me a nice Airbnb with a yard and a deck that overlooks nightly Pacific Ocean sunsets. Locked down an amazing taco spot nearby, have my elote connect, and a gym membership for $25 a month! Take that, Equinox.

For context, the gym is on the second floor of a 2-floor building. The first floor is a pharmacy. Four parking spots in front. Around 8:45am one morning, I left the gym to see my car blocked by a cop car. Figured I’d say excuse me and be on my way. But it turns out I’m parked in the pharmacy’s spot. Even though there are no signs (this town is FILLED with parking signs). Even though the pharmacy was closed when I arrived. This is the pharmacy’s parking spot.

Cop tells me that the pharmacy called a tow truck, and that I have to wait for it. Now, this is some bullshit. I need to get home and set up for a 9am Secret Santa work Webex and be cheery and bright for my entire team. I argued with this cop, in Spanish which is my second language, as best as I could. But he certainly had nowhere else to go, and already had his coffee.

Dude who works at the pharmacy comes out, I ask ‘why didn’t you come upstairs and ask if this was anyone’s car. There were five people in the gym!’ Yeah, no. Turns out his aunt called the police after seeing my car on their surveillance cams. And now since the two truck was already on its way, it has to ‘complete the service’ aka demand a bribe whilst you’re blocked by a cop.

“The tow truck driver has to complete the service” is Spanish for “he’s driving here as part of a collusion scheme with Mexican police.”

Bullshit spread out over three acts

I owe, you guessed it, $75. Or, ‘mil quinientos Pesos.’ Three months of gym dues! I say I don’t have any cash, Cop says there’s an ATM in the supermarket nearby. Then, the hot girl who works at the gym comes down. I thought, this is it! Hot girls always get out of tickets, maybe she can help me! After way too much discussion, she says “why don’t I just loan you the cash?” At this point my Secret Santa meeting has begun. And I agree to it.

The tow truck arrives

My man showed up with a car ALREADY in tow. Meaning even if my car needed to get towed, he wouldn’t have been able to.

I gave the tow truck driver the cash, paid back gym girl that night and it was over with. Let me tell you, I walk by that pharmacy every day and wish ill upon it. I think about nasty things I could do to its inventory. Unspeakable acts. But I do none of it. And ya know what settled me? Seeing a Facebook ad for a job there that pays about $150 a week. And I also don’t want my car fucked up.

And at the taco place down the street? Guac is FREE. Suck on that, LA!

No but seriously I’m moving to LA this year. Please don’t cancel me.

About me: I’m a screenwriter who needs an outlet for writer’s block, hence I occasionally write things other than screenplays. This should go without saying but, I’m not currently managed or repped. Read more about my projects here.

Find me on Twitter where my average post gets 0.1 likes.

  • Joe Espo
It’s technically ‘salsa de aguacate’ but it’s tasty AF. And this is how much they give you.




Side hustlin' screenwriter, my cold query coming to an inbox near you. Content strategist @Apple; ex JPMC. Eng/Esp.

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Joe Esposito

Joe Esposito

Side hustlin' screenwriter, my cold query coming to an inbox near you. Content strategist @Apple; ex JPMC. Eng/Esp.

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