Relay: I Was Working

“Do those rules apply to me?"

    So I got a ticket. Not a speeding ticket, a parking ticket. At Trout Pond. Wrong place, wrong time. Guilty.
    But. . . . What went through my mind was this:
    This doesn’t apply to me, because I was working.
    I didn’t see the sign.
    I didn’t look for a sign.
    I wouldn’t have read the sign if I had been looking for it or if I had seen it because:
    I was working.
    It was a weekday.
    It’s just a parking lot near a pond.
    I just wanted to see if there were any good pictures to take.
    I was just looking around.
    I wasn’t there long.
    I was working.
    Oh my God! One hundred dollars!
    But I was working.
    I just walked around the pond.
    I wasn’t using the park, I was taking pictures.
    This is so mean.
    Can I protest that I was working?
    Why is it so expensive anyway? After all, I was working.
    I only took four pictures.
    I saw a sign, but I didn’t read the sign. The sign didn’t apply to me, because . . . I was working.
    I didn’t even see the ticket on the windshield until a breeze flapped it.
    Then I noticed the sign (and even read it), but it did not compute.
    How could they give me a ticket?
    I was working!
    Rules are for other people, not for me, because they just shouldn’t be for me. (Mini tantrum, alone in the parking lot at Trout Pond.) And besides . . . I was working.
    And now this is where this them and me thing comes in. This is me thinking, “I live here; I shouldn’t get a ticket.” Crazy, right?
    I see people flaunt the rules all the time and I am always thinking they are not from here, they are unworthy and absolutely deserve to be posted on that douche spotter Facebook page. The U-turners, the speeders, the blockers of aisles, the sloppy parkers, they feel so entitled. . . . Oops.
    There I was, ticket in hand, still thinking, “Do those rules apply to me? I am working. Of course not, those rules are for other people.”
    The ticket has these little boxes that are checked. My ticket might have had a little box called “reality check.”
    Did I break a rule and did I deserve that ticket? Absolutely. (But I was working.) Did I imagine that I might ever be breaking a rule? No. Even if there was a rule I might have been breaking, that rule wouldn’t really be applying to me anyway, because, after all (all together now), I was working.
    Delusional, hoity-toity, totally wrong! Guilty on so many levels.
    Did I pay the ticket? Of course. Did I deserve it? Of course. Could I afford it? Not really.
    Do posted signs apply to everyone? Yes. That’s why they are there.
    Did I learn my lesson? I’ll tell you later. Meanwhile, I’ve got work to do. Oops.

   Durell Godfrey, now short $100, is a contributing photographer for The Star.