I got a parking ticket today.

It was tucked into the driver door of the 4Runner when I came out of the coffee shop, having spent a fruitful hour and a half sipping at a truly lovely iced cold-pressed-coffee with cream and sugar and all sorts of loveliness while I worked on organizing some of the genealogical research I’ve been perpetrating recently. But more on the genealogy later.

At any rate, I found the envelope containing my parking ticket (Anything that comes in a yellow envelope is never good, just like nothing written on a pink slip of paper is ever good) and I frowned, because I had checked thoroughly to be sure that my chosen parking spot was not included in any of the nearby signage indicating time limits for legal parking or handicapped requirements and suchlike.

So I pulled the little slip of paper from its ominous yellow envelope to see that I’d been cited for an expired license plate. Le sigh.

You see, the car’s registration is not, in fact, expired. It’s good all the way through December of this year. The trouble is that when we got the new stickers to put on the car, it was in the middle of a snowstorm, so we decided to wait until the entire world wasn’t covered in wet to try to stick something to our car. The stickers went INTO the car so that we would a) not forget to apply them and b) know where they were.

And now, four months later, the stickers are still not on the plates. Rather alarmingly, a cursory search of the car’s interior did not produce the stickers, although it did lead to the discovery that the little bottle of lotion we keep in the car has sprung a leak. I managed to hold it over the cup holders as it squirted orange-ginger goodness in distressing volume from its overheated (or over-pressurized? or simply faulty?) bottle. I also discovered that the napkins we usually keep in the center console have mysteriously disappeared, leaving me to try to mop up the lotion with a paper pastry bag that’s been in the passenger footwell for at least two months. It did not go well.

Giving up the Search for the Stickers, I returned my attention to the ticket. The municipality’s headquarters was located about two blocks from my parking spot (note to self: don’t park near a city building with expired tags, even if they’re not really expired) so I decided to go tell them that my vehicle is, in fact, legal to drive–or park!–and that I’d appreciate not having to pay the $50 ticket.

I tried to go in the wrong door to reach the Violations Bureau (Could they name it something that sounds worse? I don’t think so…), but it’s not my fault that they printed the office hours on the “Exit Only” door. And then my shoes kept setting off the metal detector from three feet away. This caused the lone security guard to wand me to be sure I wasn’t packing heat, even though I took my shoe off and waved it at the detector in proof that it was my shoes. But at least he was nice about it.

Upon reaching the appropriate window, I was informed that I would have to present a copy of my current registration to be photocopied and sent to Someone Or Other with my request that the ticket be discarded. Silly me had thought they would be able to pull up my DMV records on their little computers, but no. That would have made sense. So I trekked out past Mr. Security Guard, down two flights of stairs, two blocks back to my car, and wrestled the registration out of the glove box, which decided that its contents were suddenly so confidential that even I with my key could not be allowed access to the owners’ manuals and random pair of eyeglasses we found in the car about a year ago and have never gotten rid of.

Having vanquished the glove box, I reminded myself that it was a lovely day and I needed a bit of exercise, so I should not be disgruntled about the extra walking as I returned to the Violations Bureau.

Mr. Security Guard let me pass the second time without a wanding, which was lovely of him, and I presented my registration to be copied, took my duplicates of the petition to discard the ticket from the rather sour-faced Violations Bureau Lady (and wouldn’t you be sour-faced if you had to tell people you worked at the Violations Bureau?) and told Mr. Security Guard that with any luck I would NOT be seeing him again soon.

Now we just need to find the stickers, and probably I should clean the lotion out of the cup holders before tomorrow, or it will turn into a greasy mess that no one will ever want to deal with.

Not that I want to deal with it now, but there’s no sense in letting things escalate. On the other hand, it looks like it’s about to rain, and I don’t want to get wet. Probably the lotion clean-up can wait.

Share