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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Street Sweepers and Designated Patient Drop Off Area—Parking Ticket

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I didn’t get much sleep last night between being stressed out from my brother’s ridiculous accusation and Mom getting up six times during the night with nightmares and needing help going to the bathroom.

The alarm rang at 6:00 and my feet were on the floor and ready to start the day anyway. Performed all the usual tasks of getting Mom ready and drove her to the Day Care. I turned down the street two blocks from the Day Care as I always do and saw the street sweeper sweeping the street. A police car was parked behind the sweeper and two police officers were walking and ticketing each car that hadn’t moved overnight. I sat behind the police car waiting. They police motioned me past and I stopped and waited behind the street sweeper. The driver of the street sweeper motioned me past, too.


The Day Care was two blocks away. I pulled up to the “patient drop off” sign, helped Mom out of the car, and walked her to the door five feet away. I figured since it was a “patient drop off” only and the sidewalk was marked with yellow lines for that purpose, I thought the officers would use a little discretion. The officers and street sweeper were a half block away and watched me walk her into the Day Care. They knew I wasn’t parked there overnight. By the time Mom and I were in the door and I came back out, the street sweeper by-passed my car. As I walked out and was about to get in my car, the officer pulled up behind my car, put his lights on, and said, “Hold up a minute, Maam.”

“You’re not going to give me a ticket, are you?” I asked. “This is a patient drop off,” I said, pointing to the sign.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “The street sweeper had to go around your car.”

“You watched me pull up. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I was dropping her off at this Day Care. It isn’t like I’m one of the bozo’s who live here and choose to ignore the sign every week and don’t bother moving their cars.”

“Doesn’t matter,” he said and walked away.

The head of the Day Care watched from the door. She shook her head and summoned the second officer from across the street.

“Can you help this lady?” she asked. “She wasn’t parked here overnight, she was dropping off a patient, one of my clients.”

“We can’t void these tickets. You’ll have to take it up with the Chief.”

I threw my hands up in the air, shook my head and said, “Oh well, just what I needed this morning, more inconsiderate people. Where is the compassion in this world?”

I hopped into my car and put my seatbelt on. Then, before I turned on the ignition, I leaned my head against the steering wheel and cried. After dealing with my brother’s nonsense and inconsiderateness the night before, and first thing in the morning receiving a $25 ticket from an officer who could have used a little discretion, I was at my wits end.

I drove to the police department and picked up the red phone. Dispatch answered and said they’d send someone to open the door. No one came. I waited fifteen minutes before giving up, getting in my car, and heading home.

On the drive from the police station to my house I thought everything I try to do turns to shit. I felt like giving up on everything because nothing I did mattered and no matter how hard I try, something or someone always kicks me in the teeth to knock me back a few steps. Half way home, my inherited, “get up and keep going” attitude kicked in.

With me, when something goes wrong, first I feel hurt and cry. Once the crying is over, the anger sets in. If I have time to get over the anger and I think about the situation, my determination to make things right kicks into first gear.

I didn’t walk into the living room and tell Two Feather I was home as I usually do when I arrive. Instead, I picked up the phone and dialed dispatch again, explained the situation, and asked that they tell the Chief to return my call. I was told he gets into the office around 9:00 AM and he would probably call me back later today.

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