I sat at my bedroom desk on Monday leisurely drinking coffee and checking my email, working from home this particular morning due to an early afternoon doctor’s appointment (and frankly grateful for an excuse to come in late to work after an active and mostly sleepless weekend) (what? It was my birthday).
Apparently everyone else had had a busy weekend too because my inbox was pretty sparse; so I made breakfast, drank more coffee, and made some calls.
I was feeling especially good, too, because last week I’d actually remembered to say Rabbit Rabbit, a phrase that you’re supposed to say at the turn of each new month to ensure good luck for the remainder of the month.
I’m not crazy, okay, I saw it on Nickelodeon when I was a child.
I sat back down at my desk after breakfast to get a little more work done, and
You know that moment when it’s 9:30 a.m. and you hear street cleaning trucks outside and suddenly remember that they come every Monday morning between the hours of 9-11 a.m. and as a result there are “No Parking” signs on that side of the street during the correlating hours, followed by the instant realization that your car is parked there because two days ago you had moved it from the side street since the main street outside your apartment was more well-lit and it felt safer to leave it there while you were away for the weekend in Chapel Hill, and you’re frankly not used to paying attention to those “No Parking” signs anyway because you’re usually at work when the parking restrictions are enforced?
Okay, so then you know exactly what I was going through at that moment.
And you understand why I threw myself away from my desk, frantically grabbed my keys, and began spouting out more bad words than I even knew I knew.
It was just so unfair. In the past month, I had shattered my phone screen, broken my glasses, gained two pounds, had my glasses broken again by an eye doctor, lost my favorite shirt, shattered my phone screen a second time, and gotten sentenced to 4-6 weeks on crutches after snapping a bone in my left foot.
And also, what the hell, how was I getting a parking ticket right now? I said Rabbit Rabbit right at midnight on February 1 AND I had said it at midnight on New Year’s, which should mean good luck for the whole year. And if Rabbit Rabbit wasn’t real, then Nickelodeon lied to me, and if that’s true, there are a lot of things I need to re-evaluate.
But I didn’t have time to do that at the moment because I was busy flinging myself out my front door in coffee-stained pajamas and a broken foot loosely protected by an orthopedic boot clumsily shoved on at the last minute.
I saw my car sitting defenselessly in the street, begging me with its eyes to not let anything that was about to happen to it, happen to it as the parking enforcement officer printed out ticket after ticket for cars situated as unfortunately as my own.
I dove across traffic in my unshowered, bedheaded, glasses-disheveled state, actively ignoring my foot injury while undoing all of the rest-ice-compression-elevation-repeat progress I’d made in the past two weeks.
“THAT’S MY CAR,” I shouted to the parking enforcement officer in the same dramatized, frantic tone as if I had just uncovered evidence to get an inmate off death row as they were walking towards the execution chamber.
I’ve only ever gotten one parking ticket in my Richmond life.
And if this lame story was – for some reason – in a movie, the camera would pan close to my face as I ran towards my car, flashing back to that moment in my past.
The year was 2013. I was at The Village with my then-roommate for a hangover-curing lunch on a Thursday (what? I was young). We had driven separately because, even though we were hungover, we were go-getter women and we still had stuff to do later. So we parked, put a handful of quarters into the meter for each of our cars, and proceeded to drown our regrets from the night before in grease and ranch dressing.
We had, apparently, both underestimated the amount of time the hangover curing would take because we were one quarter short of satiating the meter; when we walked out, both of our cars were receiving the neon green envelope treatment. The parking enforcement officer was still there passing out tickets, and I attempted to reason with her (what? I was young). She looked me straight in the eye and told me it was too late, before writing up another ticket and moving on to the next innocent vehicle.
Back in real time, as I Froggered my way through passing cars and home base-slid towards my own car, I wondered if, after all these years, it was the same parking enforcement officer that I had met six years prior. The same woman who ruined my “morning after” lunch from The Village and cost my broke young self a ticket that I could barely afford.
Okay, obviously this was likely not the same person passing out parking tickets so many years before.
If this were a movie, it definitely would’ve been.
And after I delivered my climactic “THAT’S MY CAR” line, she would have put her ticket printer thing back into her bag, winked at me, and said, “Rabbit Rabbit, baby” before getting into her government-issued vehicle and driving off into the sunset.
But this was not a movie, and she instead told me in a very abrupt and patronizing tone, “Well you need to move it immediately.”
Oh, I see.
Originally I just came outside in my half inside-out pajamas and freshly slept-on hair, dragging my nub of a foot across the street, just to point my car out to you before I went back inside. Thanks for the heads up, I wasn’t planning to but I guess I’ll go ahead and move it.
So, I took her incredibly wise advice and drove my car back to the very side street that I’d originally moved it from, where – incidentally – there are no “No Parking” signs, and my car was free to live happily ever after [for the next hour and a half until I had to use it again].
Anyway, I did NOT get a parking ticket that day, and the moral of the story is
Nickelodeon never lies Good thing those street cleaners are so loud Park wherever you want to, as long as you’re willing to run out into traffic Parking enforcement officers should all get a new job My foot is probably more broken than it’s ever been at this point I need to wash my pajamas Nothing at The Village is worth an extra $25 Always remember to say Rabbit Rabbit.