So, I got my first parking ticket this week. Well, it was only a matter of time - I park too close to corners and sort of breathe in as I am nudging my car as close to the one in front as possible. Then I feel a bit guilty so I sit in my car for a bit to double check that cars can get around the corner that I may have just parked a tad too close too.
So later on I get back to the car and have made someone who is most certainly not a policeman very happy who is there waiting to give me my ticket in case it had blown away from under the wipers. Maybe he's on commission. So he is expecting a big scene and I give him a big smile and admit that when your time's up your time's up. He didn't really understand that comment funnily enough.
Off to the Magistrate's Court I go as why wait the 14 days. Expecting some long slow painful process I am pleasantly surprised when I open the door to the Cashier's Office and no-one is there. The room is something out of Dickens - stacked full of ledgers and papers and everything slightly tilted and wonky and you know at a glance that once something enters this room, it will never ever be found again.
Hello, I've come to pay this'. (passing over my ticket)
'Why?' She says which completly throws me. Why? Well I don't know really really why but I guess it's because I should and it's the right thing to do.
'Umm, because I parked too close to the edge'.
'No, why do you want to pay it today? When did you get it?' She then spots that I got it at 11.20am and now it's 11.30am and she starts sort of shaking every part of her body and then says....
'You don't have to pay it you know, it hasn't been submitted. Why don't you come back in a few weeks time and check again?'
'Check what?' I say, knowing that nothing can ever be double checked in this place again. It would be the ultimate miracle if my A5 sized original ticket ever surfaced again let alone got matched with the possibly submitted one.
'I think I'd just like to pay it now please'.
'As you liking (sic) but I have to tell you now that you really don't have to'.
'Well, I guess it's going to a good cause isn't it?'
(Maybe filling a pothole or two).
Now, she looks at me as if I've gone loopy loo.
'A good cause?'
I realise that there's no point going down this line of conversation afterall so I hand over my $100 and wait for my $25 back.
'Well, I don't want to have to pay $500 in a few weeks time if my papers are all miraculously matched up', I say and she knows she is not going to stop some strange woman insisting on her taking $100 however hard she tries to desist her.
'I don't have change - well I have $20 and $5'.
'Well, I gave you $100 and the change should be $25 so $20 + $5 is right', I gently explain.
'No, the $5 is mine, so you owe me $5'.
'Ok, don't worry, you can just give me $20 and you can keep your $5 no problem'.
'No, I have to give you the right change'.
'Well, when do you want me to bring your $5 back then?' (Will this turn into some increased fixed penalty too if I wait too long I wonder)
'In a few weeks time, will be fine (being the operative word)......Good Day'
Is it me or is my fine now really $80?.