Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Parking in South Perth? You gotta read all the signs

The Boss,
Parking Enforcement Services,
PO Box 7753,
Cloisters Square,
Perth 6850

Cc: CEO, City of South Perth,
Civic Centre
Cnr Sandgate St and South Tce
South Perth WA 6151.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find enclosed copies of my parking ticket of 24/5/2013, with accompanying parking fine received on the same day, while my Subaru B 451 was parked behind the Windsor Hotel, South Perth.

It is, of course, of little interest to you in Parking Enforcement that I often visit this South Perth precinct when in the city. It is one of my favourite spots and on this occasion I did as I have always done, walked along the foreshore with a friend, chatting, going over our business relationship, discussing the odd dilemma, then we drank coffee, ate small morsels and finished off with a sorbet at the ice-cream shop. All in all, a solid and constructive meeting in a delightful setting.

In all my years of business meetings in this part of glorious South Perth, I have never once received a parking ticket. Until now. And you can imagine my irritation, because I was just around the corner at the time the ticket was slapped on my windscreen and as soon as I discovered the slim slip of incrimination and ridicule, my first thought was: Where the hell is that guy? He can’t be far. He’s made a mistake. It can’t be true. Not me, a parking fine, never. But, he was nowhere to be seen. (I assumed he was a man and I apologise for any perceived sexism in my response.) 

Then I looked closely at the ticket and the notice. Oh, yes, Dear Parking Enforcement Servicer, those two tiny pieces of paper told me a story that made a tiny part of my brain sing a small song.

Just take a look at this:

Not sure if you can tell from the big picture, so let’s take a closer look:

Note the expiry time.
Now note the breach time.

Indeed, the breach time is some time before the expiry time. Now this could be explained by the failing eyesight of the parking enforcement officer, or his inability to see beyond the immediate. My guess: His eyes brush the dashboard and fail to pick up the ticket lying just off the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. Let me explain with a photograph, which I took with the two slips in position on the car’s dash.

There you have it. Let’s not be too hard on the officer. I’m sure his heart and iPad are in the right place.

Given I have sent a copy of this letter to the City, I would now like to wish you both an excellent winter.

And, South Perth, may you and your City continue to shine,

Jon Doust
A regular visitor
With a promise never to leave his car unticketed
And to ensure a more central placement in the future.

A response from the aforementioned Parking Enforcement Services was received. This fearsome body sent me a letter saying my appeal had been rejected, no reason given, but then it generously supplied me with a list of unacceptable reasons.
Here they are. 

I, of course, sent it all to Inside cover.


Sunday, September 01, 2013


Questions: Georgie Juszczyk, Cathedral School, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

Answers: Jon Doust

 List 3 interesting facts about yourself…
1 – My mother and father were step brother and sister.
2 – When I was 6 my older brother hit me on the head with a hammer.
3 - In Madison, Wisconsin, in 1984, I entered the Funniest Person in America Competition and came last.

 What is your pet hate?

 What is your favourite book? And why?
The book I am writing now. Always the one I am writing now. They consume me, take over my life. I live in them. Almost. Every so often I have to leave the house to buy food. Or did you mean written by another? Too many favourites, but there is one I have read more often than any other - Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. It is the tale of a journey to self discovery, full of explorations from imposed religion, through hedonism to a personal sense of spirituality.

 What do you consider your greatest achievement? (It can be professional or personal, or both!)
Personal? Staying alive long enough to help create a family that produced a sober, healthy, funny, decent and moral young man.
Professional? Writing books that are not cathartic, that hurt me, but continuing to write them because the stories are more important than any personal grief.

 What do you value in an effective piece of writing?
Courage and originality.

 What do you do when you have writer’s block?
Keep writing. Never stop. Write about the lawn, the sun, the boy sitting next to you, never stop. (As a consequence, I never get it.)

  What advice would you give to any aspiring young writers battling to get published within the wider world?
Seek other planets. Okay, sorry, seriously, never give up. If you get a rejection, re-work the work. If you get an acceptance, re-work the work. Everything can be better.  Never take a compliment sitting down. In fact, don’t take anything sitting down. Sitting is bad for your posture.

  What do you think are the main influences on your writing style?
My life in a small town farming family, where men spoke hard and sharp and most of the women too. My grandfather, who was a farmer, story teller and journalist. My early reading: adventure tales – Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer. And later: Ernest Hemmingway, Hermann Hesse, JD Salinger.

 Is there an over-arching message or theme that you try to project through your different works?
Still working on it. Life is mad, but it doesn’t have to make you crazy? Be aware of the dangers of obsessiveness, of over-indulgence, of dgoma. Look after those who are not as fortunate as you. Revenge can be sweet, although nasty.

 Was there a definitive turning point in your career that led you to pursue writing?
I always wanted to write, from about thirteen. But I hid all my writing. Then I met a man over coffee. His name was Ken Spillman. He asked me to help him write a children’s book. I said yes. Everything changed.

 What is your favourite part of being a writer? (Usually people tell me that it’s great to be paid for staying at home in their PJs!)
I don’t have pjs. But it is good not having a job. It’s for the best, for everyone. That’s one more job available for someone who needs one and, besides, I’m not good in a workplace. I’m disruptive. I tend to want to make work fun. Not encouraged.  Then there’s talking. I am a natural talker. The writing I love more than anything, I am driven to do it, but the talking comes natural.

  Some authors say they turned to writing because they needed to escape into another world within their mind, some do it for the pleasure of publishing to the masses and some say that writing is inspired purely because they have a story to tell. What is your personal motivation for writing? (Such a small question for such a big answer!)
I have to tell stories. It’s all I can do. I can’t fix a car, or mend a fence, or cure ingrown toenails. But I can pretend I can. Then there’s my head. My wife says I have a memory like an elephant, without the body, for which she is thankful. My head is full, and in order to ease its strain, I have to get stuff out, or, I’m sure, it will explode. And I am an idealist. The world upsets me, daily - I see things and have things to say about those things.

 And for the benefit of all the English teachers out there, why is a love of books so crucial for students?
You cannot do everything, be everything, understand everything, know everything, but you can read everything. No, you can’t, but you can nurture your imagination, stimulate your senses, foster your understanding.

 If there was one thing you could change about the way society operates today, what would it be? Why?
I would make it mandatory for everyone to have their DNA analysed to determine their ethnic origins, then they would realise we all came out of Africa and there is no such thing as purity in race. Indeed, race is a myth. Why? Just for fun.

 Do you feel that the use of technology within the younger generation is having a negative or positive impact upon literacy? (Please elaborate on your opinions as to why and what we can do about it if applicable)
I thnk ther is 2 much txting.2 many people don’t complt words or sentces any ... 
In school I would create a class dedicated to the long drawn out sentence and let students go on and on and on and on and ...

 Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or one hundred duck sized horses?
I would prefer 100 horse sized ducks. As they ran at me I’d climb a tree and do my geese calls. Ducks hate geese. There would be chaos. They’d run into each other, fall over, and there’d be duck for dinner for a year.