I posted this story many years ago during one of the more difficult economic times in my life. After reading it I have learned that there is a life after economic oppression, mental meltdowns and a strange meter maid that I am not sure ever existed. I thought I would re-post it here for your reading pleasure.
The rain has been pouring down for three days straight. I am wondering if melancholy is starting to kick in. I awoke at around 10:30 this morning but would have stayed in bed if I did not have to drive my girlfriend to work. So like the responsible partner and man that I try to be, I climbed out from under the warm blankets and dressed.
When we opened the front door to leave, our cat came running in wet as a used mop and whining at the top of his lungs. He was obviously feeling neglected and angry because we had forgotten to let him in the night before. To be honest the past few days my cat has been perturbing me, so I did not really forget to let him in, I just hoped my girlfriend would not remember. It was reciprocity for all the scratches on my arm and the flees in my bed.
I dropped my girlfriend off and then began driving back home. The inside of the car was warm from the high heat and I was uncertain if I wanted to return to my cold and over one hundred year old wobbly home. So I decided to drive for a bit. I listened to the radio and watched the world go by in the warmth of the car. There is something very enjoyable about watching the world go by from a car window.
I decided to stop and grab a small coffee. I rarely drink coffee- if ever. It makes my body shake unpleasantly and my heart race. So I try to stay away from the acidic liquid. However, this morning I was feeling the need to have the bitter taste of coffee in my dry mouth and the aromatic smells in my nose.
There was no parking to be found on the busy street- besides a yellow zone which sat empty right in front of the coffee shop. I decided that I would quickly park in the yellow zone, run in and out- no problem. I could not of been more incorrect.
I tipped the somnolent looking woman who served me my coffee a dollar and then put half and half with a bit of sugar in it. The aromatic smell was already awakening me to the pleasures of breathing. I took a brief sip of my coffee and walked back outside.
There where two UPS trucks blocking me in. Behind my car was a police car with its lights flashing and behind the police car was a small meter maids truck. I rushed to my car pretending as if I was not the subject of this mass gathering. Once out of the rain I decided to wait patiently for the UPS trucks to move so that I could leave. I kept my mind focused on the scent of coffee.
Then an ugly man with nose hairs, covered in a black rain coat knocked on my window. It was a police officer. I opened my door frustrated by all this commotion. “What is wrong officer?” I asked stupidly revealing that I may have done something wrong. “Can I see your drivers license and registration?” he said with a seriousness that indicated that he may not be human but rather a clone. “What have I done?” I said with the innocence of a child. “We have a report that this car may be stolen.” “What?”
In the meantime one of the UPS drivers came up behind the police officer and said to me “hey man!! This spot is for commercial loading not for the convenience of people to get their coffee!! You need to never park her again. You have blocked up traffic because I have had to park in the street!!” I looked behind him and noticed that traffic was blocked up for as far as my eyes could see. People were honking their horns and trying to get around the UPS truck. “See what you have done!! Jerk!!!” And then he was gone.
Meanwhile I handed the officer the requested information and told him that I have owned this car for years. “We will see,” he said with a tone in his voice that suggested that I was already guilty. “Wait here, while I check out your information.” “Where am I going to go?” I said with a sarcastic tone in my voice. I remember thinking to myself with indignation, “the police are everywhere, they even watch you when you sleep. they are like phantoms!!”
There was another knock on my window, but this time it was a black meter maid who looked rather swollen in her cheeks. She wore a yellow rain coat with the hood over her head and handed me a green ticket which was already wet from the rain. “What is this for?” I asked with a hint of anger in my voice. “For parking in a NO PARKING spot.” “But I was loading some boxes into the coffee shop, I am the owner!!” I decided to lie. “Then why don’t you get commercial plates!” she said walking away and leaving me helpless. I am not normally prone to anger or disrespect but I lost control of myself in my moment of helplessness and yelled “bitch!!!”
It was bad timing, because as I yelled out the police officer was approaching my car. He looked startled and unsure of how to respond. “What did you call me??” he asked. I took a deep breath and said “I did not call you anything, I was talking to the ticket lady.” “What ticket lady?” he asked. “The one that just gave me this ticket,” and I held up the green ticket to show him what I was talking about. “Sir, that was placed on your window while you were inside getting coffee,” he said suspicious of what was going on. “What the hell are you talking about… she just gave me this ticket!!” I was frantic and did not know what to do. Was this officer of the law accusing me of being crazy, of seeing things? “Sir I suggest that you try to calm yourself down and sign this citation.”
“What citation?” “It is a fix it ticket.” “I thought I was being accused of possessing a stolen car?” “No we had the wrong vehicle, but your back left brake light is not working and you have thirty days to fix it,” he said with a hurried sound in his voice. I assumed he wanted to get out of the rain so I took my time. I read over the pink citation and noticed that I would not be charged any money if I proceeded to go through all these various steps to absolve the citation. “Sir you will be given a list of everything you need to know,” he said impatiently. I then signed on the dotted line and returned the clip board to him. I took another deep breath and could feel the residual anger and frustration in my chest. “You are lucky that I do not site you for your conduct towards an officer of the law,” he said staring me straight in the face. I decided to stay quiet. He ripped of a portion of the citation handed it back to me and said “I know you slandered me sir, happens all the time.” And then he returned to his bat mobile.
I sat in my car for a moment trying to register everything that had just happened. My coffee was cold and I felt like I was just the subject of a terrible prank. I waited for something to happen like someone who was suffering from post-traumatic stress. I listened to the rain pitter-paterring on the roof of my car. I then heard a loud honk and looked out the drivers side widow. There was the same meter maid driving down the other side of the street!! She looked at me waved and I could barley make out her lips saying “have a nice day, sir” with a malevolent smile on her face. I felt like I was going to be sick. I tried to yell out “wait!!” but it was a futile attempt. I looked down at the green parking ticket which said in black ink hand writing “your fifty dollar cup of coffee, sir!!”
Now I am back in my cold wobbly home. I am confused and forlorn. Once I am finished spell checking this post, I will get back in bed and try to sleep. Then maybe I will wake up and things will make sense.