Friday, August 3, 2012

Thanks for the $114 Ticket, Really

"Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he does not wish to sign his work."
 -- Anatole France

I don't know what the universe is trying to tell me...but like a message in a bottle, something is in here.  Perhaps you can tell me.

Yesterday, I noticed two meter maids looking over my husband's car parked on the street in the front of our house.  They really looked deep in conversation and although I thought it might have something to do with John's car, I was smug.  He had the correct parking pass (don't ask); he had just paid his car registration so I knew he was up to date there.  No, I insisted to myself, those two just hadn't seen each other in awhile and were doing the cooler talk over John's car.

Hours later I noticed a ticket -- it never pays to be smug.  $114. Crap.  What could possibly be the reason? No tags to prove an updated registration. Oh yeah, I remembered.  John's car had not passed the smog check and so he needed to take his car in.  And, whenever he takes his car in, because it's German and fancy, it costs a lot. Hence, the dawdling over dealing with it and the ticket.

"That's it." I fumed.  I will just have to take his car in tomorrow and deal with it.  I never drive John's car and because of this detail I believe (however erroneously) that I shouldn't have to deal with it when it comes to maintenance or smog checks.  That's his territory.  

So, taking his car in was a bold move.  I knew John would appreciate it (one less thing for him to deal with) but still I was out of my comfort zone.  Add to it that I dropped it off wearing a swim cover up because I was on our way to a water park with the kids and the whole event felt weird.  Nevertheless, I was proud of myself for tackling an annoyance that in my mind wasn't really mine to handle.

I gave the car guys John's cell phone should they need it and away I went.  A couple hours into it John got a call: 

"So, Mr. Foraker, it looks like you need a new catalytic converter."  
"It usually costs around $3000."
 Damn those fancy cars.

"But it looks like you have a 10 year warranty on this part...and, it expires, um, tomorrow.  So, if you don't mind, we can keep it over night and replace the part for you free of charge."

The story goes that John couldn't keep his cool and literally laughed out loud and into the car guy's ear.  He asked him to repeat the good news.  The car guy was laughing at the circumstance too.  What are the chances.  John has owned his car for over 12 years.  The converter was normally under warranty for 2 years until someone did a class action law suit and the warranty became extended for ten years.  That's 4,384 potential days for repair and we showed up on day number 4,383. 

Frankly, I can't believe they didn't round up.

Who knows, maybe everyone -- including car guys -- can spot a crazy lucky moment gifted from the universe and honor it.

 The only thing I know...I need to go out of my way and thank those two over-achieving meter maids.  I owe them a cup of coffee (and maybe even a lottery ticket) at the very least.


  1. Oh my goodness! This made me laugh and have a lump in my throat at the same time! At a time in life when the world feels so full of challenges, I am comforted by "Guardian Angel" moments. Thanks for sharing, Beth!

    1. too! Those guardian angel moments really help don't they? Thanks! ~Beth

  2. SOOOOOOO cool! What a great story. Seriously, what are the chances!!! So blessed & lucky. Glad you got the ticket. :o)