was he on a hydrant?


Senior Member
‘Maybe he thought you were busting him.’
‘Why would I? Was he on a hydrant?’
‘Maybe he’s got weed in the car. <…>
Source: Past Tense by Lee Child
Context: Conversation between Jack Reacher and Detective Amos Brenda. Amos is giving Reacher a car lift in the squad car, which startled the old guy in Subaru amd drove off. The old guy was waiting for Reacher to take him to see Mr Mortimer in an old age home.

What does “Was he on a hydrant?”mean?

Thank you.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Fire hydrants are located on the curb. It is illegal to park next to one (because when a fire happens, the emergency workers need to be able to access the fire hydrant, with no cars near it).

    So "Was he on a hydrant?" is a poor way to say "Was he parked next to a hydrant?"
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