Fix-it Ticket

In The Daily Drool on October 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I got a ticket about two months ago for a broken headlight.  I was understandably displeased.  I even had a new lightbulb in the car with me, freshly purchased.  I showed it to him and everything “I’m not a total slacker!”  it screamed.  He wrote the ticket anyway.  Then he assured me that it wasn’t a big deal and sent me on my way.  I went home full of ire- for him, for my headlight, and the stupid idiot “friend’ of mine who had said we would fix it that week but then conveniently “forgotten” about it every time I saw him… (okay, I must have forgotten a bit too, but really it was ALL his fault!  … or such was my frame of mind at the time.)

I put the ticket on my desk and glared at it.  I woke up the next day and glared at it some more.

I harumphed about having to take my car to an inspection station to have an officer sign of on the repairs (you have to get them verified before you send in your $25 check.)  I read on the website that they would charge an additional fee, and I imagined long lines and grumpy policemen.  I got an extension on my due date because I was sure it was going to be such a pain in the ass and I didn’t feel like dealing.

That’s not to say I forgot about the light… I didn’t of course, I couldn’t see at night!  The lovely mechanics that changed my oil popped that new headlight in for freesies.  My headlights were glorious.  I left smiling… smiling so bright that I didn’t want to ruin my good mood by dealing with that damn festering ticket!

And life went on, as it does… until… I forgot about the damn thing altogether.

Until this week… this week when I happened to uncover the damn thing on my desk with a SHRIEK!  “Egad, it’s due on Monday!”

So I called the nearest inspection station, sure I was going to have to beg, plead, and pledge my first born child, to get in before the thing was due, when what to my wondering ear did intone but a gentle “Sure, just come on by”…  I was shocked.  What?  No hassle?  No apt. needed?  I just… come on by?

So I stomped around my apt. confused and all bent out of shape because surely without an appointment there would be a line and I would waste precious minutes sitting in a CHP waiting room for someone to look at my lights.  I muttered and sputtered to myself the whole way down there, pulled up, stepped out of my car with book-in-hand for imagined long wait, and was surprised to see an officer walking towards me with the fellow I just saw enter the building before me.  She had his fix-it ticket in hand, asked me if I had one too, took it, looked both of our cars over, walked us inside and stamped those yellow bits of paper and sent us on our way.  It took about 5 minutes, and she even SMILED!

I got back in my car, came home, popped that thing in the mail and voila’… all that angst and irritation spent worrying over an event that really, what did the Officer tell me?  Not that big a deal?

So I’m thinking… for a person who worries about everything… can I learn from this and try not to assume the worst about it all?  Can I implement a healthier “Wait and see before you freak the eff out” attitude in at least some areas of my life?

Because when I think about all the grump I spent worrying over this simple matter, it makes me, well, grump!  I really worked it all up into a boil of major annoyance in my mind when really it was simple thing to do… so simple in fact that I could have had it over and done with in the course of a week rather than stretching it out two months!

And I’m betting I do that more often then I should with other things as well.  In fact, I know I do.  It’s just that this event was so succinct, it made the lesson much more obvious.


So thank you, CHP for teaching me a lesson in patience… and attitude.

And for making me get that light fixed already.


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