tat for ticket

… lovely Rita … meter maid … where would I be without you? …

Have you ever got a parking ticket? Have you ever begged a parking inspector to not ticket your car, only to have them give it to you anyway?

I’ve been the lucky winner of three parking tickets in my life. I don’t remember why I got the first one, but it was back in Melbourne — think it might have been an expired meter. I got the second one for parking on a street that turns to permit-only after 7pm — there are far too many permit-only streets in L.A. The third one was a beauty. I parked in a spot with a meter four minutes before the meters turned off for the evening. I didn’t have any change in my pocket and thought to myself, “Four minutes? No-one will give me a ticket for that.” Sure enough, the ticket was time-stamped 5:59pm, one measly minute before 6!! The judge agreed it was silly and I didn’t have to pay that one. But, I can still hear the evil laughter spewing from the parking inspector as he slid the ticket under my wiper, thinking what a funny guy he was and how much he loved his job.

Today, I got a little sweet revenge.

A couple of months ago, I was driving on a street in my neighborhood when I saw one of those cars with “parking enforcement” emblazoned on it. It was parked on the side of the road, under a tree, nicely shaded. As I got closer, I realized there was someone in the driver’s seat, laid back, taking a nap. It was 9:30am, so I don’t think he was on his lunch break. I decided that even though it was my tax dollars he was snoring away, I would show a little mercy, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him sleep off whatever he’d gotten up to the night before. I figured that showing him the courtesy that he has probably denied so many others was a friendly gesture.

When I drove past the same spot late this afternoon and the same guy was in the same spot catching another forty winks, I decided it was time for a little action. The nice lady at the City Department of Transportation happily took down the license plate and said she would investigate. She even understood why I might not want to give her my name — apparently, there is no “blue wall” as far as parking inspectors go.

It might have been petty, and I might have felt like a snitch for a moment or two, but that passed quick. I figure that karma balanced itself out just that little bit more, and I’m glad I could help.


… no matter how bad things get … life will be better when you’re not in it …

I like to think that I’m a reasonably positive person. I mean, I know that I can bitch about things that I don’t like with the best of them, but overall, I think I keep a pretty positive (albeit realistic) outlook on life.

I try to be friendly, to be generous, to be kind and giving. I try to make people feel good about themselves, to consider their feelings when I’m interacting with them. I say, “please” and “thanks” because it’s the right thing to do. People don’t owe you anything so when I ask something of them, I do it the right way, and show my appreciation of their efforts.

Last week, I had a visitor from Australia — a girl that I last saw about 8 years ago, but someone that I have spoken to over the phone in the meantime. I broke up with her when I was 21 because we weren’t happy together — she never seemed to be happy and my friends became alienated. She had since told me that she had grown up a lot since then and that she didn’t know why she was so childish in those days.

Anyway, she came to visit and I took her to Yosemite National Park — a place that I find amazing. We had decided to go there before she arrived, so when we got there and started visiting some of the most beautiful places in the country, I was shocked to find that she was never happy. She complained, she whined, she abused, she belittled, she reduced everything around her to her level. She got angry with everyone, insulting waitresses, shopkeepers and in turn, me, along the way.

I put up with her ways for a few days, but in the end I couldn’t deal with having to apologize to people once she had left. I was sick of shutting her up so that I could help innocent people from feeling like they had done ghastly wrongs because she made them feel that way. I tried telling her how she was acting, but she blew up on me, and so I took a stand.

Three days before she was due to go home, I put her in a cab and sent her home. OK, I gave her the option of staying somewhere other than my home for those three days, but she didn’t take me up on that offer — I suppose I could have given her more of a chance to decide, but I didn’t think she deserved it.

There are people in our lives who are extremely negative, they are bitter, angry and abusive. They don’t care about anyone but themselves — and don’t you dare to question them on it.

I observed, I questioned and then I gave her backside one hell of a kick. I hope she finally does grow up and realize that the world owes her nothing if she doesn’t give something to it first.

I’m proud of who I’ve become in the last 8 years, but I can’t say the same about my one-time friend.