Hi, honey, I’m ho-ome.

Guys, I have a couple of problems — parking tickets and library fines.  (I am not going to mention jury duty at the moment, because I don’t currently have a summons.)

I do realize that these are first-world problems and that I could have it much worse, but perhaps I need an intervention.

I have paid so many library fines and parking tickets in my life that I no longer get upset by them.  Sure, I feed the meter like everyone else.  Yes, I observe the due dates stamped inside my library books (which, by the way, the Ann Arbor District Library does not supply). But, you know, stuff happens.

Like yesterday.  I was meeting some friends for lunch and a cooking class (which were both fabulous by the way).  I asked in advance (I have witnesses) what the parking options were and if I could avoid feeding a meter.  Turns out we were in the very popular Kerrytown area, on a Wednesday, which happens to be market day, which happens to be extra crowded.  The only parking lot was crammed full.  I drove around figuring out the one-way streets for close to ten minutes before I found the perfect spot just steps from our lunch destination.  Woo-hoo!  I had combed the bottom of my purse earlier in the morning, collecting all the loose change I had — a few dollars’ worth, so I fed ALL of it into the meter.  That bought me enough time for lunch.  I told myself that I would get change for the few ones inside my wallet before we headed to our class.

Well, you know, we had such a nice time talking over our delicious lunches that I forgot to get change.  Once outside, I glanced at my dear, Suze Cruze sitting in her perfect spot next to an empty meter and thought to myself, “Oh well, probably going to get a ticket today.”  But, one of the other, more responsible, ladies said, “Oh, I better feed the meter,” so I said, “does anyone have any change?”  Of course one of them did.  I asked if she had one dollar’s worth, or two.  She only had one.  So, I said, “That’s ok, I like living on the edge.”  Yes, I seriously said that out loud.

I may never learn.

I fed the four quarters into the slot, and headed to the class.  I was gone just over one hour and returned to find the lovely white envelope along with the curled up citation pinched ever so daintily under my windshield wiper.  Ah, yes, I thought.   The world is as it should be.  I was past the time, I got a ticket.  I have finally arrived at home in Ann Arbor.

But I am telling you, St. Louis misses me.  Right in front of our home in St. Louis was a sign that read “No parking, first Tuesday (or was it Monday) of every month. Noon to 4pm (or was it 8am to noon).”  We lived there six year, folks.  And I couldn’t tell you which day or time we weren’t supposed to park there.  Even after paying who knows how many  $10 parking tickets.  But here’s the thing.  In my heart of hearts I believe that those fines are serving some noble purpose.  (Don’t burst my bubble.) You know, all of that money I ‘invested’ in St. Louis parking probably financed a couple of handicapped parking spots.  Right? Or re-surfaced a road downtown.  It’s possible.

And as for those library fines?  They are purchasing much needed books for all the children in the world.  Yes, I currently owe $3 to the Ann Arbor District Library.  I borrowed a DVD, and you can only keep those for one week.  Of course,  I forgot about it.  And every day you are late costs $1.  But while other people might be upset by this, I feel welcomed by the Ann Arbor District Library.  It’s like they were notified by the St. Louis Public Library who said, “Hey, Rathje’s moving to town, and she’s good for lots of fines.  Keep your eye on her.”

This morning I went online to pay my parking ticket.  Tomorrow I’ll stop by and pay my library fine.  (I’m still waiting for the jury summons to show up.)  Hi, honey, I’m ho-ome!

Ecclesiastes 3:4

“…a time to laugh…”

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