“Did you go to <fill in any place where parking is a pain> by any chance on Thursday afternoon – the day before the long weekend?” the husband asks.
I was astounded. How did he know? I admitted I had, all the time marveling at the Sherlock Holmes in him.
“How did you know?” I ask
He grins and waves a parking ticket at my face. I don’t know how I manage it. I look around for all the signs that say it is okay to park in a particular spot. I pay for it. Display on windshield. I hassle innocent bystanders and ask for reassurance that my parking is not going to get me in trouble and two weeks later, I land a parking ticket. I grin sheepishly and gulp at the amount. I could have gone ten times with that money.
So, you can imagine my trepidation when I had to spend three days on the University grounds to drop off my nephew. To make matters worse, the first thing folks told me when I landed at my nephew’s university was that parking was a pain and if I was not careful, I would have a windshield full of parking tickets for my collection. I was not pleased.
The day dawned bright and early and there I was entering the University grounds, my eyes peeled for parking signs. I promptly circled the main area six times in a clockwise direction (And once in the anti-clockwise direction before realizing halfway that it was a one way street and hastily turning around. ). Moving on, I figured that at this rate, none of us would get anywhere and I dropped the nephew and his father in the general vicinity of a map and headed to the parking garage.
I parked in a spot marked ‘V’. ‘V’ for Visitor. I paid for the parking slot and strode out of the Garage. Ten steps on, doubt crept in. What if ‘V’ stood for ‘Van’ or ‘Viscosity’ or ‘Valedictorian’? The stride faltered, the pace slowed, and I found myself looking doubtfully at the garage. Luckily for me, I also saw signs for a ‘Parking Office’ and I headed there.
When in doubt, ask. So, I stood in line and headed to a desk clerk.
He was drinking in, his morning cup of creamer and coffee and fixed me with a stern glare. Folks who work at Universities have a way of doing this to you even if they work at the Parking Office I tell you.
As is my wont when fixed with the stern glare, I gulped and asked .”Err..is it okay to park in a spot marked ‘V’?”
“What do you mean marked ‘V’? Were there ‘V’s on either side of the spot?”
“NO, there was a ‘V’ in the middle.”
“In all my years of service here, I have never seen a spot with a ‘V’ drawn in the middle. You had better head out and see that there are ‘V’s on either side.Otherwise, you WILL get a parking ticket.”
I nodded, and understanding that my allocated time was up, headed back up to the garage. I ran up the stairs and huffed and puffed up to my spot. I had seen wrong. There was no ‘V’ in the middle of the spot, but on either side. So, I headed back to the Coffee & Creamer desk clerk to show him a ‘Thumbs up’ sign. He grinned and said, “Then fine!”
Luckily I did not have to stand in the pesky line again, but the man talking to him was startled for a moment. Clearly whatever he had going just then was not falling under the category of ‘Then fine!” and he looked at me with a facial green that was pure jealousy.
I turned my back to exit. But you know how they say that when you exit the royalty, you must never show your back, or you shall pay? I paid.
“Just make sure, it is a green ‘V’ and not a red ‘V'” he said to my retreating back.
There are 26 different alphabets in the English language to choose from. Twenty-six. Why not pick an ‘A’ or a ‘Z’. No. They have to go for a red and a green ‘V’. Damn all parking signs. So, back to the garage and up the stairs and past the cars I went to make sure it was a green ‘V’. I emerged from the stairs and what do I see? A cop standing near my car. Not this time young man, not this time. Please. So, I ran hard with my backpack flapping against my back and breathing like a charging rhino.
“Please *puff* officer. I just *pant* went to verify whether *pant* I had parked in the right spot. *puff puff pant pant* He said a green ‘V’ was okay.” I glanced down and saw that I had not erred. I had parked between the lines showing a green ‘V’ on either side.
The Officer looked like he’d seen the idiot of the day in the morning itself and laughed out loud assuring me that it was okay to park there as long as the ticket was displayed on the dashboard.
If you remember, I urged folks to wear sensible shoes while going to drop children in college, and that is partly because in my enthusiasm to not get a parking ticket, I kept parking in the same garage in the green ‘V’ spots. This garage was in the centre of the University and if one needed to walk 2.3 miles to see something, so be it. I was not budging.
If I get a ticket for this, I swear to God, I will be one mad hen. One Mad Hen.