We have a SLEW of sayings to get through days when nothing seems to go right. Life isn’t fair… Tomorrow is another day… When life gives you lemons, make lemonade… and when someone’s “done you wrong” – remember: pick your battles…
Then there’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Parking ticket trauma
Yesterday I experienced parking ticket trauma, a metal mechanism meltdown, a meter-over-matter moment. There was a big, fat yelling YELLOW VIOLATION on my windshield, waiting when I returned to my car well before the time limit had expired.
I’m a roll with the punches kind of gal – or at least, I’ve had to become one due to life’s not fair, pick your battles, etc., etc., etc.
But in a sleepy (albeit charming) town some 80 miles from home, that yellow paper was like red to the bull!
Did I mention that it costs $25 in gas, twice a week, to visit that little burg? Did I mention that I’m Motrin popping for the day, due to the four hours of driving? Did I mention that I always abide by parking rules, fill the meter’s hungry belly, and move my vehicle as required by law to a new spot, even if it takes a half hour of circling?
I know, I know. Life’s not fair.
But did I mention the ticket was written 15 minutes into my allotted 2-hour time frame?
I repeat: the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Tourist ticket or meter mistake?
One glance at my license plate, and it’s crystal clear that I’m an out-of-county driver. Anywhere from a 90 minute to 3-hour drive away. The ticket said – pay up (within 6 days) or show up (same timeframe) to dispute, at the municipal courthouse.
Can you say Meter, Meter, Tourist Eater?
Was it a trap, a trick, or just a malfunctioning meter pitifully past its prime?
The price of principle
What is the price tag on a principle these days?
Was I really going to spend $25 on gas, drive 4 hours, then who knows how long in court to dispute a $10 ticket? Pick your battles, you’re thinking. Send the damn ten bucks.
WRONG. Some of us have “rolled” too often – and to devastating consequences. Not this time.
Thus began the scavenger hunt
Thus began the hunt for the courthouse, or a police station – somewhere – anywhere – in aforementioned 6-square block downtown. I was sent from building to building (re-parking my car and feeding meters each time), I was late to pick up my son, my bad knee was throbbing, but I was determined to go down fighting!
At a certain point – often over something seemingly small – we snap. We say “no more” to the life’s not fair approach that chips away at our sense of justice.
Ultimately, my destination was a nondescript municipal building, all the while in each previous location I’d passed through security checkpoints dragging computer, cables, heating pad, purse, etc., and rushing against the ticking clock of the latest meter…
In the process, I lost the power cord to my laptop.
I told my tale to a very sympathetic woman by the name of Suzanne. She took my phone number – and the ticket – and said “Oh, some of these meters malfunction; they’re very old. I’ll see what I can do.”
Suzanne – where ever you are – you are a public servant who believes in public service! I thank you.
Assuming, of course, that I don’t receive another ticket in the mail, with the amount doubled, according to more of the fine print on the yellow flag of fury!
Total cost, to not “just take it?”
More Motrin (McNeil Pharmaceuticals is happy), I need a new power cord (Dell is happy) – and thus my “fighting back” – regardless of outcome – certainly exceeds $10.
Would I do it again?
Would I do it again? In a New York minute. Fighting for principle isn’t about the cost. It’s about standing up and saying no, dammit. Not this time.
© D A Wolf