Folks, Cincinnati cops are running plates (ed. note: turns out they are).
That’s the only explanation I have for what happened tonight.
What I’m about to share with you is a bit revealing, and perhaps a bit of insight into my personality. And I’m okay with that – because I pride myself on being self deprecating, if not genuine and real.
Shit happens, and I do my best to take my lumps in stride. Life is one big learning experience, and also perhaps a test of wits and will, and with every moment I am trying to learn something, discover gratitude and move on to greener pastures.
Tonight is one of those moments.
I enjoyed a lovely evening with a friend of mine – cocktails, opera, wine – when my friend pulled on to my street and we discovered flashing lights worthy of a triple homicide.
We approached the red and blue flickering glow when my stomach sunk a little bit.
Surely not – right? Surely they weren’t after me?
Folks, it doesn’t matter how much volunteer work you do, and you get no brownie points for choosing a career with more noble intentions and less lucrative awards.
We all have to play by the rules – and that means paying your parking tickets.
Yes, I said parking tickets.
I racked up a few parking tickets and made the unfortunate decision to take someone’s advice. This individual explained that I could wait to pay the individual tickets (each ticket amount doubles after seven days), and instead pay a collective fee on the City’s amnesty day. On this day, the City allows residents to pay fines reduced to the collective face value, instead of the doubled amount due for each late ticket.
You’ve heard of Amnesty Day at the library – this person insisted the City of Cincinnati offered amnesty day for tickets, too. This individual generally knows what he or she is talking about, so I decided to take the advice and wait for the day when the city offered it’s citizens a break.
In this rough economic time (Have you heard? The City of Cincinnati is operating on a $20 million deficit for 2009, and is expecting a $40 million deficit next year), I imagine the City is striving to boost it’s revenue any way it can. That means encouraging people to spend more money downtown – and it also means collecting as much money as it’s owed.
The city ain’t got no money – so it’s scrounging through the cushions to find what jingle it can.
Enter Kate the (not so?) Great.
I approached the cruiser with the flashing lights with a, “Hello! I think you might be towing my car.” It was a polite greeting – I didn’t think they were towing my car – I knew they were towing my car because the tow truck already had it’s chains on the tires of my 9-3.
The police were polite – and for that I’m grateful. There’s no reason to treat anyone with less than courtesy, unless you face a disgruntled attitude – and despite the unpleasantness of the situation, I offered manners and even a smile or two. I am impressed the police did the same – it not only goes against the stereotype, but contradicts other experiences I’ve had with men who carry guns.
There I was, watching the only asset to my name (you should see my 403-B and my IRA… the car is likely depreciating more slowly than they are) get wheeled away on a flat bed truck to a fenced-in parking lot on Spring Grove Avenue.
For some reason – I don’t know why – I am okay with this. I will chalk it up to my Pollyanna attitude.
The police officer ran down my expected charges. Once I pay out the parking tickets, the towing fee and an $8-a-day impound charge, I’ll be able to retrieve my car. The police officer said this would likely be in the neighborhood of 600 bucks.
Because there’s nothing more I’d rather spend $600 on than our fine City of Cincinnati.
That tidy sum is about half of the take-home pay for a decent City job, and I guess it’s my fair share of what’s needed to keep Cincinnati afloat.
I guess I’m just a little disappointed that I got nabbed.
Some people only say they’re sorry when they get caught doing something wrong. I’m not necessarily sorry, I’m just surprised they picked *me*. In my former life as a news producer, I used to run stories about people who ran into trouble with the law because they had something like 45 outstanding tickets.
I’ve done the math and have figured out when I can get my car out of “hawk.”
It looks like I’ll be riding the bus for about a week or so, and that’s fine with me. The ride will be a great time to reflect on life and all the gifts I’ve been given.
Besides, I have a great book I’m reading, and I never have time to indulge in a page or two.
See you on the bus!