Saturday, July 17, 2010
The High Price of Bragging
I should have known this would happen.
I was taking a road trip with my friend Larry, who is visiting from Australia. As we drove up Route 15, headed to Shirley Mills and then to Greenville and Rockwood, I noticed that Larry kept glancing down at the speedometer. Assuming that he was having a hard time converting ‘miles per hour’ to kilometers, I asked him what was what.
“Well…” he drawled. “I can’t be gettin’ a ticket here. America and Australia have reciprocal laws, and they’d add points to me license at home if I did that!”
I pooh-poohed his concerns, and then thought I’d do a little bragging.
“Hmmmph! Well, in 30 years of driving, I’ve never gotten a ticket! Not even a PARKING TICKET!”
Larry glanced at me in amazement.
“Geez! You’re a good girl, aren’t you?”
I smiled smugly. Yep, that’s me. A ‘good’ girl.
You’d think I would know better than to make such a foolhardy statement.
But really… who knew you were supposed to put money in those foolish things posted along city sidewalks which look like observation binoculars, anyway?
Yeah. You guessed it. Not three days after bragging about my impeccable driving record, I had to go to Portland to meet with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Her office is, of all places, at the Portland Fish Pier. Suffice it to say that by the time I’d driven up and down Commercial Street, in and out of full parking lots and back and forth in front of the waterfront, I was getting flustered. The downtown area was packed with people, flooded with vehicles, and oozing heat and humidity. The air conditioner was not working in my truck, either. I was hot, and I was bothered, and I was lost… so when I saw that twelve foot long parking slot open up, I pulled my twenty-one foot Dodge into it and thanked my lucky stars for the opportunity. I gathered my belongings, locked the truck, and started hoofing it, determined to find Pingree’s office on foot.
Seriously… who knew you were supposed to put money in those things, anyway? I never guessed. It wasn't until I returned home that I realized I'd received the ticket... at first, I thought some civic minded person had given this country gal a map to the city of Portland, politely tucked under the wiper blade of my pick-up. It took the eagle eye of my teenaged daughter Josie to discern that there was an ominous message on the other side of the map...
I think it’s only fair that I blame Larry, my quasi Aussie, for the blight on my record. After all, I never would have bragged about my perfect driving record and jinxed myself if I hadn’t been so intent on impressing my friend with my perfection…
Aw, heck. Okay, so the fellow from Down Under is blameless. I’ll concede that it was my own boneheadedness which resulted in the ticket. And to show my maturity and my ability to take responsibility for my own actions, I’ll try to look upon the positive aspects of the day.
I got to meet a U.S. Congresswoman. As I roamed the Portland Fish Pier looking for her office, I learned how to fillet a tuna. And a pollock and a hake, as well. I made friends with seven urbanites who tried to guide me to my destination using hand-held computers which were no bigger than decks of cards. And I discovered what eating ‘al fresco’ meant. According to Larry, it means ‘sitting in the middle of the bloody sidewalk’. So, the day wasn’t a total wash.
Besides, all is not lost. I’m going to fight the ticket. I mean, that was just plain rude! Charging a woman who is lost and sweaty and red-faced and tense a whopping $15.00 because she didn’t know she had to pay for parking ‘al fresco’ is inhospitable, to say the least.
And after all… I’m a ‘good girl’! You see… I’ve never—not once in my 30 years of driving—ever gotten a ticket for speeding!
Affectionate labeling of photo in this blog posting is courtesy of my good friend, Tom Olds, of Jackson, Maine.