Monday, July 16, 2007

My $2.71 Bottle of Coke

Speed traps. I got caught in one last week. Two motorcycle officers were popping out from behind bushes and waving people over for speeding. I was going 19 over. Not a pleasant fine. Not only that but, I didn't have my current insurance in the car with me.

So last night I got myself all prepared to go take care of the tickets at the Municipal Courthouse first thing this morning. I was going to pay the speeding ticket and show proof of current insurance to have the other ticket dismissed. I got my auto insurance policy out, made a photocopy of my driver's license, wrote down directions to the courthouse and put it all together with my citation in a folder.

This morning I rose at 6am, got ready to leave, and stopped by the ATM to take out some cash for parking. The courthouse opens at 7:30pm and I arrived a few minutes before 7am without any complications. This is a pretty good accomplishment for me. I won't get into my adventure in trying to find the correct courthouse and an available parking space when I had to go in for jury duty a couple weeks ago.

Things went down hill quickly from there.

The judge only sees the first "x" number of people in the morning and I was not one of those lucky people. Apparently I needed to get there a lot earlier than 30 minutes early which makes sense since this is the municipal court for all of Dallas. The rest of the people in line were to be given numbers to come back and see the judge at 12:45pm. Alright, I can handle that. I'll just take a long lunch.

I heard the supervisor of the department asking for IDs when she began to give out the afternoon numbers so I reached to pull mine out. Can you guess what happened next? Yup, my driver's license was sitting at home on the printer from when I made a copy of it last night. OK. Not to worry, I've got the photocopy with me. Surely they'll accept that. Ha. Photocopies are not valid.

"You don't have your ID?" the supervisor asked me in shock. "No, its at home," I mumbled, "but I'll have it with me at 12:45pm!" I added optimistically. She said I could come back with my ID and ask for her and she'd give me a number. There was nothing I could do so I headed back to the parking garage to drive home and get my driver's license. And cell phone, which I had also forgotten.

After I finally found my way out of the garage, I see that there is no one inside of the booth to take my money. Alright, no problem. There's an automated payment machine to use after-hours. I'm prepared. I went to the ATM earlier this morning to get money for parki...wait a minute. "$1s, $5s, and $10s only"?! Of course, I only had a $20 bill.

I backed out, drove back up into the garage and parked the car. I asked one gentleman if he had change for a $20 but, he did not. Time to start hiking. Surely there's a shop around here where I can pick up a cup of coffee or something. I'm good on time. Don't need to be to work til 8:30am.

I started walking down the street and just twenty yards away was a coffee shop with the sign lit up. Great! Nope, closed. So I walked down the street. Oh, there's all-day parking for $1.75. Hmm, would've been nice to have parked there this morning. No gate to drive through and its about 80% cheaper than where I parked. I'll make a note of that for next time. A guy stops and asks me if I have change for $1 so he can feed the meter. Nope, just me and my $20 bill.

There's nothing but government and corporate buildings as far as the eye can see. So I walk and walk and walk. Several blocks later, I finally see a Neiman Marcus Cafe next to the Neiman Marcus shop. With my luck, I figured it would be for employees only but it wasn't. I bought my $2.71 20oz. bottle of Coke and started hiking it back to my parking garage. At least I got my exercise for the day. I actually made it to work on time pulling in to the parking lot at 8:27am.

There's no real moral to this story. It was just a typical combination of boneheadedness and a comedy of errors. The significance for me was that I actually kept my cool throughout the entire ordeal. I didn't lose my temper, my blood pressure didn't shoot up, no veins popping. I surprised myself. My ordeal was a typical recipe for an anger-filled, ruined morning. But I took it in stride...for the most part. I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't somewhat frustrated.

So maybe I am becoming more patient. This is good news. How I deal with anger is something that I've been trying to work on recently. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22) that I'd like to start showing some evidence of. Maybe this morning was a little sprout.


  1. Wow, what a day!

  2. Gotta go back and take care of it Thursday morning. Hopefully it goes better this time around.

  3. Good for you! Don't you love bureacracies. This reminds me of getting my CA driver license. I procrastinated, which is my fault, and could only get in at the DMV the day before my car insurance was going to cancel me. The DMV website said you needed *either* a birth certificate or passport, so I took my b.c. Turns out my certificate wasn't good enough (post-9/11 they don't accept "doctor's certificates" anymore). The guy said I needed to go home and bring my passport back. "You mean the passport I used THIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE to get?" Yes, that one.

    I run home, search through my as-yet unpacked boxes, manage to find my passport and run back to the DMV. I made it in time to see the guy, but he told me I couldn't take the test that day as it was right at the cut-off time (CA requires a written test for out of state applicants... lame). I weaseled and whined and the guy let me take it; fortunately I had studied and whizzed through it so he didn't get in trouble with his supervisor. Long story short, it all worked out, but I probably felt a little like you after your runaround day.