Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your Turn

Thanks to all our readers for your help on my paper re: Native Land Allotments in Natick, Mass. Really appreciate your help, and your patience as I get through finals. Don't worry: everything is complete on Monday. I'm in an airport in Nate's future home, so I decided to write you. Here goes:

My sister is furious about a recent parking ticket.

She's especially mad because she returned to the empty parking meter within two minutes of dropping in a nearby store to get change, only to return to the car, and the meter maid writing the ticket. "No, no, no--I'm right here. I have change!"

"I'm only doing my job," the meter maid replied, handing the pink sheet to her.

My sister is five months pregnant and has a one-year old on her hip. I proclaim: her dedication to baby-making does not give her permission to break the law or avoid slotting loose change in the meter. But the meter maid did not show any compassion for my sister or her circumstance when writing out the ticket. And this pissed my sister off. She made a scene on the street and promised the meter maid, "I'm going downtown to report you!"

All that effort, and she's stuck with a $20 ticket. But my sister is one of her word: she followed-through on her promise to the meter maid and sought out the supervisor o' meter maids at the City-County Building. Instead of finding him/her, my sister got the next best thing: her court date is scheduled on June 4th to protest. Stay tuned to the blog for how this story ends. . .

We all have these "it's not fair" stories about traffic and/or parking tickets, right? A roommate told me a story about how he got a ticket (but shouldn't have) for turning left on a red light. Another friend got a speeding ticket for eluding a tailgater (but it was to avoid a larger traffic danger). Buy me a beer and I'll tell you a boring story about my own experience getting a ticket while delivering oranges at Christmastime.

I'm pretty sure that everyone (at least occasionally) exceeds the speed limit, rolls a stop sign or doesn't slow to 20 mph in a school zone. While these laws were designed to protect us all, sometimes we, as busy blog readers, don't have time to pay appropriate heed to them all. So when we get caught, why don't we just pay the fine and move on? Why the big deal?

You're going to say, "money." Yeah, I don't have $150 bucks (speeding) or even $20 bucks (parking) to throw out the window, either. But I don't think it's about money for most. Instead, it's about getting caught.

Here's my solution: I save myself some heartache and angst by assuming that once a year, I'm going to get caught. I am going to get caught, and pay a ridiculous fine for something that most everyone does every day. It's that simple. If I ever made a budget, I'd budget 'Tickets' line item into my annual operating costs. If you're getting more than one ticket a year, it's probably time to reevaluate some things.

What do you think about this 1 ticket/year as a threshold? Do you think it should be more/less often??


Nate Romance said...

Why does it feel so good to watch other people getting caught. Car passes you on the interstate and then you see him pulled over ten minutes later. He wasn't doing anything that you wouldn't do, but it still feels awesome. Like some kind of perverted justice.

Anonymous said...

I'm a quick driver and a spectacular illegal parker. I expect to get caught once in awhile. So, the one ticket threshold seems pretty good. I figure that sometimes you just have to pay more for convenience.
P.S. Thanks for my finals survival box, R.J.! All my friends were seriously jealous.

Anonymous said...

I feel like this whole ticket thing might be costing your sister more than it's worth. But, that's just my opinion. Doesn't she have diapers to buy? Dosen't she have stories to watch?

bojengle said...

you could budget for 2-3 and than if you get less buy yourself a present at the end of the year. maybe that will help motivate you to avoid tickets too.

Anonymous said...

I thought you'd integrate my all Broad Ripple boycott b/c of the experience in the bookstore. That woman was the 'funny' of the story.

As for the meter maid, my intention was to pay the meter. So, I think one could explore the concept of grace from others - the meter maid in this case. Isn't judgement based on intention? So if I had the change ready in hand, intending to pay the meter - doesn't that count for something?

However, in the bleak life of this metermaid - she didn't care. And she was unprofessional about the situation. Therein lie my fury.

Mark my word friends: A pregnant woman is always right.