Brain Burp #987 – The Disappearing Parking Ticket

I guess I was in a bad mood to begin with. My wife and I had had a little misunderstanding in the morning just as I was leaving for my appointment and that never sits well with me.

So I was grumpy when I arrived in downtown San Jose, and then I saw there was no street parking in the area. Great, just great!

All the parking garages were not charging by the quarter hour like they do during the business week. On weekends, they were charging by the day.

So, although I was only going to be in the accountant’s office for thirty minutes, I had to pay the whole day’s fee to park my car. Six bucks!

I fished out the money and paid the Ethiopian guy wearing earphones at the gate to the garage, but I was boiling inside by the rip off of a system that forced me to pay so much for so little, in this deserted downtown on a Saturday morning.

I tossed my wallet, loose bills, sunglasses and parking ticket into the passenger seat and wheeled into a spot near the elevator in the almost empty garage.

I got out of my car and put my things in the proper pocket. Sunglasses in shirt pocket, wallet in hip pocket, bills in right front pocket and parking ticket…

Where was it? I remembered it was pink. I checked to make sure it wasn’t stuck in my wallet. No. Or in among the dollar bills in my front pocket. No. And not in any other pocket either.

Huh. Under the car? Nope. And when I stuck my head into the car and looked around I didn’t see it either. Must have slipped under the seat, where I couldn’t see or retrieve it.

No problem, I thought. I’ll just go back to the guy at the gate and tell him what happened, and get another ticket. I just paid him and I’m sure he’ll remember me.

No luck. I explained to him what happened, he remembered me, but said that he was helpless.

“The rules say you must find the ticket or buy another one”, he said. He seemed indifferent to the obvious unfairness of the situation.

I told him what I thought of his “rules” and left for my appointment.

Twenty five minutes later I was back. I had decided to tear my car apart and find the ticket. No way was I gonna pay another six bucks for a twenty minute appointment!

I took my time with the car. I moved both front seats all the way forward and all the way back. I got down on my knees on the concrete and took a flashlight to look in every crack and crevice. No dice.

I DID find a couple of pieces of gum, an ink pen and two of our grandchildrens’ toys. But no ticket.

“Okay, this is taking more time that it’s worth,” I told myself. “Just accept that maybe it blew out the window or turned invisible. Pay the money and go home.”

I sighed and let go of my frustration. I opened the door and put the flashlight away, then eased down into the driver’s seat and started the engine.

Something above me caught my eye. It was something pink, sticking out from the sun visor over my head. It was the ticket. I had stuck it up there when the guy gave it to me at the gate.

Boy. Dumb Tom. I wondered how much my irritated mood had poisoned my morning, in addition to maybe wiping out my short term memory of putting the ticket up in the visor. The whole episode probably consumed fifteen minutes of my time, and pumped me full of bile.

I drove back to the gate and handed my ticket to the guy. “I’m sorry, Man”, I said, “I feel so stupid. I put it right up here and didn’t see it until I got back into the car.”

“No problems, Mister, lots of peoples do that.” He smiled and said, “Have a good day.” Then he put his earphones back in.

I drove home and apologized to my wife, and told her how my short temper had lowered my I.Q. in the parking garage.

Then I decided to tell you about it.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll save you a similar “brain burp” sometime.



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