Following a frustrating morning at church in which I found out that there is no silk purse that can not by sheer force of stubborn willfulness be turned into a sow's ear, I decided to pursue my sermon writing task down at my favorite coffee shop.
This next bit, though a detour, is important. When I picked up my American Tourister bag in which I keep my essentials: notebook, wireless adapter, books, etc I noticed that it was coming apart at both the upper corners of the notebook shell. I soldiered on over to Staples where a new Swissbag happened to be on sale! I left the store, so says the receipt, at 10:32am.
Back in town, I parked across the street from Churchill, which I hardly ever do and probably will not do again. There is a three hour parking limit througout our downtown. The time would now have been approximately 10:40, give or take.
Inside the shop I found Tanna the owner, Scott her husband, Alain the chef,and Erica the counterperson all happily going about the business of making Churchill the town's "third place."
After spending lots of time making almost no progress on my sermon, I left. The time: 12:46. As I approached my car, there it was flashing goldenrod beneath the driver's side wiper: a parking ticket.
"Parking time limit violation," it proclaimed. In the margin was written "tire chalked at 9:01am."
"Now wait a minute!" I'm sure you're saying to yourself. "Jim made a point of telling us he didn't arrive there until 10:40, give or take." That's right.
Fortunately for me, I was standing right outside Boro Hall. I simply marched in there and told the cashier my problem. She said, "Go down to the police station and tell them." So I marched down to the police station.
They gave me a hard time. The captain refused to believe me. He insisted that there could not possibly have been a mistake.
I forgot! Police officers don't ever make mistakes. How utterly foolish of me.
Well, after going back and forth and getting nowhere with Captain Parking for 15 minutes (you've noticed of course that it is now approximately 1pm and I still have not exahusted my three hours), I finally prevailed upon him to write my name and address down on the ticket so he could talk to the officer who wrote it and get back to me.
If I never see the ticket again, I'm in the clear, says he. If I receive it in the mail, I'll have no option but to pay the fine and then perhaps contest it.
I'll tell you one thing. I'm not paying that ticket.
You know, a few years ago I would have simply paid the fine and been done with it. I don't know what it is but I'm not as tolerant of incompetence compounded by willful ignorance as I used to be. Not in myself or anyone else.