Backstory: Most Justifiable Parking Violation | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Backstory: Most Justifiable Parking Violation 

Published December 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge Health Commissioner Mark Levine (left) and Gov. Phil Scott - FILE: COLIN FLANDERS ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Colin Flanders ©️ Seven Days
  • Health Commissioner Mark Levine (left) and Gov. Phil Scott

This "backstory" is a part of a collection of articles that describes some of the obstacles that Seven Days reporters faced while pursuing Vermont news, events and people in 2020.

I hurried out of Gov. Phil Scott's March 13 press conference with many questions, but none so pressing as: Where the hell am I going to write this?

The governor had announced moments earlier that he was declaring a state of emergency in Vermont in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus, which had just begun to spread across the United States. Now, after lockdowns and restrictions, that day stands out in my mind as the official start of the pandemic, a specific moment that differentiated before and after. At the time, though, it was just a busy Friday that I needed to get through.

I had spent the day prowling the Statehouse, where I could normally find a spot to complete a late-night writing assignment. But the building was shuttering that evening due to the pandemic. The few coffee shops within walking distance were also closed, and my third option — driving back to my Winooski apartment while every other media outlet published their stories — was out of the question.

I trudged up a hill to retrieve my car and drove to a nearby Dunkin', where I ordered an iced tea, loosened my tie and made painfully slow progress on one of the most consequential stories I had ever written.

An employee eventually walked over and, looking at my untouched drink, announced that the place was closing. I headed out to work in my car, and the same young woman rapped on my window 20 minutes later to say I couldn't stay in the parking lot, either. The reason America runs on Dunkin', I realized, is because they keep you moving.

I sped back to the Statehouse and pulled into a spot as close to the Golden Dome as I could find, one that just so happened to be reserved for Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman. I spent the next hour on the State of Vermont's internet until I finally filed the first of many COVID-19 stories.

Exhausted and ready for a beer, I flicked off my car's overhead light and turned the key, only to hear a click-click-click-click-click-click.

Yes, dear readers. My battery was dead.

I was unsure of the punishment for appropriating the parking spot of a top-ranking state government official, but I didn't want to find out. As I cursed myself for not renewing my AAA membership, I sent up some digital flares. My girlfriend's mother, who lives nearby, agreed to give me a jump. Thirty minutes and one righteously bruised ego later, I was on my way.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Colin Flanders

Colin Flanders

Colin Flanders is a political reporter at Seven Days, covering the Statehouse. He previously worked as a reporter at a group of Chittenden County weekly newspapers covering Essex, Milton and Colchester.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation