My boot.

The latest in Denver boots

Take a look at something I got last week. It's eye-catching thanks to its hideous color, which I call "seizure yellow," but it's neither appealing nor comfortable -- and it isn't exclusive to a fab designer or a particular season.

I'm talking about the Denver boot, which was affixed to my dear Buck -- a 1999 Rodeo Isuzu. And if you have three unpaid tickets that are more than thirty-days old, you can get one, too.

I silently cursed when I saw my latest ticket, which I received while running an errand downtown. Something new to add to my refrigerator collection, I thought. Being single and cheerfully childless, my refrigerator art consists of reminders to take my cat in for a check-up, various coupons for my neighborhood video and liquor stores, and parking tickets in little yellow jackets. Then I got in my car, turned on the radio and began to pull out as a car waited for my rock-star space.

That’s when a Denver Parking van blocked me in. "Hi! Um, you’re blocking me," I said -- but before all the words got out of my mouth, one of the two men in the van told me, "We're here to boot this car." The other guy was already heading toward my front tire.

"A boot? Wait!" I shouted.

He did -- but only long enough for me to reposition my tire so the other guy could attach the wretched thing.

After 72 hours, they tow the car, he explained.

When I paid my fine, the kind lady with the parking-enforcement agency gave me a code that would release the boot, along with a recorded agreement I can lift sixteen pounds -- the weight of a boot. That was followed by a strict warning that I had to return the boot to 2000 W. 3rd Avenue within 24 hours of payment or I'd be fined.

I have to return this?! I didn't put this thing on. Why do I have to take it off? It reminded me of when my Granny, in Texas, would make me go out to the tree and get my own switch for a spanking.

I walked back to my beloved Buck, and after three tries, I removed the boot and dumped it in my backseat. Once I got in and turned on the radio, I saw it… A ticket for an expired meter.

I didn’t have time to contest it. After all, I had less than a day to return the boot. -- Elena Brown

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