are you a parking ticket because you’ve got fine written all over you? – author unknown



every time

i see a parking meter

i think back

to my days

in grad school

it was a frenzied time




to classes

day and night

not sleeping much


to substitute teach


to student teach


to cater


to family events


to drive my daughter

back to college


we were university rivals


to interviews

and all that jazz


no money


no time

and so


was not

on the radar

i was

always looking for a spot

close to class

in a hurry

playing the odds


with construction crews


at almost expired meters


halfway in and halfway out

of legal street spots


tickets were piling up


one day

i came out

in between classes


my car was gone

  i called the police

they said they had it


 i had to

pay off all of my tickets

plus the new one

they had given me

before they towed it

to get it back

they had reached

their tipping point

i walked to the station

and got in line

with about 200 thousand or so

other students

paying off tickets

i waited patiently

i planned

when it was my turn

to tell them


i was a single mother

 working 2 jobs

 going to school

trying to balance everything

with no money


that i was doing all this

to follow my dream

and i hoped

they would grant me

compassionate dreamer’s amnesty

and call it even

but instead

they said

we’ll need 450$

cash or certified check

which seemed like a fortune

and so

 i called my daughters

to come to the station


pick me up


take me

to ransom

my car back


this meant

ramen noodles

would be back too


my amnesty bubble was popped

but my dream was still intact


i was complimented on my driving today.

someone left a note on my windshield that said, ‘parking fine’

– author unknown


image credits:,,

55 responses »

  1. $450 seems like a fortune because it IS a fortune. That’s a lot of cash!

    My friend used to keep a parking ticket in his glove compartment. Whenever he parked illegally, he’d put the ticket on the windshield so any passing officer would think that it had already been ticketed. Worked every time

    That second photo is astonishing! Is that real or Photoshop?

    Liked by 1 person

    • you are right, mark, it is a fortune, especially at that time in my life. i like the double ticket strategy. all of the photos were found online, credits below the post, and i do think that is real, i saw a few, shot from above ,of huge lines of people waiting for things.


  2. All I can think of is how in the world did you manage to scrape up $450. Ouch. That’s a lot of money, even today. I’d hate to be asked to hand over that amount to anyone for anything. Still, you tell your story in an entertaining manner. I enjoy reading your posts. They make me smile. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • it was tough, but i cobbled it together with what i had, and had to borrow some and go deeper in the hole, but it all worked out and thanks for reading and enjoying, lctc )


  3. I love your photo at the end, and the verse is really good because you get the sense many of us know too well, of trying to keep everything together, square the circle and keep the dream alive. Lovely, lively vibrant stuff. I’ve never found wardens to have much of a sense of humour, although I have tried to find one on some occasions

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks, peter, for reading, and for your kind words. even when things are beyond frustrating, i do try to find the positive in it all. no, not much sense of humor to be found with the police –


  4. I managed to avoid parking fines, the benefits of going to grad school in a town with too little self-esteem to support parking meters, but I did get towed once because I misread the street-sweeping schedule sign. And boy was that a nuisance.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dang, they dinged you and dented you and dunked you and then dropped a safe on your head, Beth. What a wallop, that $450 when you were putting two quarters together every meal time. No favorites at paying time. That was awful, my friend. I used to take a shuttle bus to the U of Maryland from my apartment complex because there was no place to park. But I’d miss the last shuttle working late at the campus paper …
    Glad it’s in the past. It’s always in university areas, too, where students who can’t afford the fines can’t find a place to park, you know? There oughta be a law! Oh, yeah, there is, and that’s why they’re writing tickets. There oughta be bigger free parking lots!!


  6. yeh, no mercy, but that’s okay, i made it. i had the same thought, about the students, who have the least money, being charged. hmmmmm… and this was my story about my trying to fight city hall, that you triggered by yours – so thanks )


  7. They were devising an underground parking meter over here at some stage..out of sight..out of mind perhaps. Hate parking meters,hate fines of any description. You poor love you made me exhausted just reading this! Loved the pics especially the queue 😉 x


  8. Speaking of university rivals, I have one you will totally understand living in Ann Arbor. I was in grad school at Notre Dame while my 3rd son was getting his BS in actuarial science at U of M. 😉


  9. This is one of those if you don’t laugh you will just cry.
    I got a few parking tickets… but well never that many. And one was because the yellow bus curb hadn’t been repainted (low priority for the city) and I didn’t see the sign. Sigh.

    Cities weren’t meant for all the cars… just the people. And the alternate side of the street parking on street cleaning days and the special times that only residences can park on their block only if they have a permit….

    Like those quotes too you ‘fine’ woman. Every time we see a car pulled over and the Police Officer is writing a ticket we say that someone is getting invited to the ‘Policeman’s Ball’. Or getting a ‘Good Driver Award.”

    Thanks for your visits.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so sorry that this happened, don’t know why this is true with so many university parking areas being filled up, then I got towed, which was only $179 so now my ‘sob story’ is not as bad, in retrospection to your incredibly high number and the longest line ever! I did know you are so over this, so I felt it was okay to laugh a little over it all. You made your education deadline, though, Beth. I was not able to do this, due to the other things being out of balance, house, marriage and courses not available for the last semester of 2008, No Child Left Behind deadline…. C’est la vie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • it’s okay robin, i was laughing soon after, though not so much at the time, there were a few tears ) it is hard balancing it all, and i have empathy with anyone else going through that, as i know you did too )


  11. Ah Beth you made me feel better. I seem to spend the better part of my life in a car with my children, hurrying from school to soccer, to dance and what not. Finally, after 11 years, I got a ticket. For what? Well, for a rolling stop. But here’s what’s funny… I did stop. Because I tell my children all the time, you’ve got to stop, then pull forward to watch for traffic. I’ve driventhe same route 4 times a day for 6 yrs, so I was peeved. Really peeved, that he gave me a ticket. He was in the opposite direction and saw me edging forward to look both ways.. Which no doubt made his eyes gleam with a fine in mind.

    Love the photos with the throngs of people. Made me laugh. I laugh when I want to cry and cry when I want to laugh.. Not sure why, but it’s whacky. I had weeks of ramen noodles, cans of baked beans and dried apricots for dessert at University. You brought back memories.


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