I was writing the other day when I heard that familiar sound of the street cleaner outside my door.
The prospect of getting a $49 parking ticket for not moving my car is like a drooling vulture hanging over my head. After messing up a couple times, I know I can’t afford parking tickets and the ones I get outside my own home feel especially rude. I swore to myself I’d never let it happen again. When I got my new calendar, I wrote “STREET CLEANING!” on the first Wednesday of every month. I still had the word “CAR” written in sharpie on the back of my hand from yesterday, when I made sure to park on the other side of the street. So when I heard that street cleaner whirring outside, I ran to the window to look and yes, there it was, an insolent ticket shoved under my wiper.
My brain began to stutter and spit. Here is a time sequence of what went through my mind:
1. But today is Thursday, not Wednesday. Those street cleaners must be drunk. I’m going to march right down to the city offices with that ticket and scream until they rip it up and apologize.
2. But wait. My car is the only one parked outside. That means all my neighbors knew about this. They must have changed the day and forgot to tell me! It’s a conspiracy!
3. No, no, no, this goddamned calendar must be wrong. They put the days in the wrong columns. That’s why it was 50% off– it’s defective! I’m going right down to the store where I bought it to get my money back. I’ll bring the parking ticket with me and make them reimburse me for my losses!
4. …Blood @ Bloody knuckles # Stars, Stripes & Black Smoke * Bruises ! Bandages ~ Mike Tyson…
5. Um. Waitaminute… walk outside to look at the sign outside my house, the same sign that’s been there since we moved in sixteen years ago, that reads, “No Parking 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm 1st Thursday Each Month Street Sweeping.”
Thursday. Thursday. Sad but true. So dumb it’s almost funny. I got the day wrong. Maybe I’ll be able to laugh in a year or so, but for now, that $49 ticket still stings. I am devolving into a paranoid delusional old bitch. WTF. Dear husband, dear kids: This is not going to be pretty.
About a week ago I got two rejection emails on one day. I opened one and guess I forgot to open the other (rejection letters are like shots of grain alcohol: approach with caution) but the other night when I was cleaning up my inbox, I came across the unread rejection letter, which turned out to be a request to see the first chapters of my novel. Hello? A Request To See My Writing.
It’s a miracle I read it at all. I never check old email.
Who will save me from myself?