Parking Violations


I’m usually quite good at avoiding penalties — whether we’re talking about avoiding credit card late fees or feeding the parking meter or even maintaining my day-to-day blood sugar, I really do my best to keep things under control. But recently I’ve made a couple of mistakes — and I’m not just talking about eating half of a delicious cupcake last night and watching as my blood sugar shot up 130 points in 20 minutes. Or, for that matter, the breakfast disaster earlier this week when I decided that it’d be a good idea to start off my day with a spoonful of freshly ground honey-roasted peanut butter that I’d bought at Whole Foods. Seven hours of high blood sugar later, I was wondering why the fuck I’d decided it was okay — given my difficulty in controlling the effect plain yogurt has on my morning blood sugar — to eat what was essentially a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for breakfast. Bad ideas, both of them. Delicious, but unwise.

Anyway, I’ve also run into a different problem recently: parking tickets. A few weeks ago I was working with a friend of mine in a cafe and I rashly decided that the 2-hour parking signs did not apply to me. I was parked on a side street, I figured. What with all the budget cuts, what was the likelihood that a traffic cop was going to come by my car RIGHT at my two hour limit? The answer: what with all the budget cuts, traffic cops are coming by right at the two-hour limit. A $45 citation later, I was chagrined — and vowed to do a better job of obeying the gospel of the street signs.

Fast forward a week later when I was getting a book out of a library on campus at four p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. A Sunday! I remember from my journalism school days that parking anywhere around Berkeley’s campus is pretty much a guaranteed ticket — those meter maids are fierce. But I used my newfound “read the signs” mentality and discovered an area of parking that had no signs, no meters, no money machines, nothing. I turned in a 360-degree circle, searching for anything signifying parking restrictions, and couldn’t find a thing. So I ran into the library and grabbed my book. And then came out to a $75 ticket.

By this point I was really getting pissed off, both at myself and at the asshole who gave me a ticket at 4 pm on a Sunday. But I had no choice; I was going to have to pay it.

Then I get another parking ticket notice in the mail — which seemed weird to me, since I hadn’t been aware of any further violations on my part. This one’s for $25 — and for a second I got excited, thinking I’d misread the amount due on one of my other two tickets. Then I looked closer. This bill had nothing to do with my new tickets. It was dated April 17, 2006.

I do not remember this ticket. I do not, frankly, remember much of April 2006. I also usually pay parking tickets promptly.  And I am especially frustrated now because given my lack of photographic evidence from 3 years ago, I have no evidence to counteract their database. It makes me worry what else they are going to pull on me — have I been parking in my sleep? I’m tempted to ignore it, but then I remember a friend of mine from college who got one too many parking tickets — when he went to pick his car up from where it had been towed, an officer arrested him and made him spend a night in jail.

What connection does this have to diabetes? I suppose I could make some tenuous analogy to how receiving bills for violations from years past is similar in concept to diabetic complications — eat the cupcake now, pay the price later — but let’s face it: I’m mostly just pissed off about the tickets.  And that can’t be good for my blood sugar.

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