I’ve got a golden ticket
I’ve got a golden chance to make my way
And with a golden ticket, it’s a golden day …
OK, so the ticket wasn’t golden. It was orange.
And it wasn’t a free ride to the Chocolate Factory. It was a $40 ride to the poorhouse.
I drove up to Boston recently, to take part in a celebration dinner for a graduating class of opticians I’d taught as a guest lecturer back in the fall.
Driving in the city doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s the parking that gets me. I’d only ever been to the location with my best friend, Dib, who drove each time. And even with her knowledge of the area, parking had never been easy. So I’d set out two hours before the event, to give myself more than adequate time to find street parking or a nearby garage.
To my surprise, I found an open spot by a meter, not even a block from the school.
The digital message on the meter informed me that operational hours were 6:00AM to 6:00PM. It was 6:05. Kismet!
Still, ever the conscientious sort, I inquired of a passerby who said he lived in the area. “This meter says it’s only operational until 6:00. Is there any reason you can think of that I shouldn’t park here?” The man assured me that I was good to go.
However, when I returned to the car after the event, there it was: the bright orange ticket, placed under a wiper.
I was aware of my pulse rising, feeling it in my throat, just under my Adam’s apple. I unfolded the citation: Resident Parking Only. $40.
Resident Parking Only? With furrowed brow, I looked both ways along the sidewalk. Nothing to the rear. Ahead, perhaps 30 feet or so, was the metallic back of some kind of sign. I walked to it and read the other side: Metered parking 6:00AM – 6:00PM. Resident Parking Only 6:00PM – 6:00AM.
I’d done my due diligence. I’d even asked a resident. How could I have guessed that a back-to sign way up the sidewalk applied to a metered area … or that the metered parking became resident parking after a certain hour?
Here, I faced a choice …