I’m a convicted felon!

Well, not quite…but I sure do feel that way…bridget1

About ten months ago I parked in a spot I really shouldn’t have, for a reason that probably wasn’t good enough…I had found the perfect dress for a very fancy wedding but when I went to pick it up, there was no parking to be found, except…

After swearing to Mr. Niceguy that I had absolutely nothing to wear, and scouring most of the stores near my work for an option (or two?), I ducked out of the house earlier than I had promised (okay, escaped) for a meeting I had to attend.  Even the MOST quintessential multitasker can use a few extra minutes!

What Mr. Niceguy along with most men don’t understand is just how difficult it can be for a woman when it comes to events.  No, I cannot just change my tie and therefore the whole outfit is new.  I have spent literally hundreds and thousands of dollars on dresses that have only been worn once or twice – I’ve even been known to buy a replacement dress or outfit just hours before because it was more perfect than the one originally intended!  But I digress…

My route was clear…no real traffic (given the horrible snowy weather) and I was in front of the store before I knew it…destiny was on my side!  But, destiny knows that I like a challenge and so despite my easy travels to the store, there was nowhere to park.

At that time, I was nursing an extremely painful injury sustained after a car accident which had resulted in sciatica; on most days, the pain would be a constant reminder of that single event.  So, ignoring my better judgment, I pulled the car into one many empty handicap spots rather than park significantly farther away.

I felt very guilty doing it, but the pain that radiated from my back, to my butt cheek and all the way down to my ankle was all the justification I needed – that and some quick thinking on my part as I called the store and informed the salesperson that I was going to jump in for a quick swish-swipe of my card and to please have everything packaged up for me and ready to go!

Upon entering the store I didn’t waste a single moment:  I handed over my card and voila!  I was with outfit.  With a very large smile across my face, I started on my way out of the store…but then something shiny caught my eye…a beautiful, bejeweled belt.  And surely this belt would really make my dress pop! Surely this belt was the finishing touch; the subtle green colour of the jewels would be a nice contrast to my dark hair and olive skin.  And after all that I’ve been through, don’t I deserve the opportunity to look really good?  Don’t I deserve the right to dazzle?  Ahhhh…the way the light reflects off the belt…it’s perfect! 

A second swish and a swipe later, I walked out feeling complete.  Realizing that I had spent much more time picking up my outfit than originally intended, I picked up the pace and started to rush back to my car as best as I could…only, Oh.  My.  God.  To my absolute horror, I saw a police officer the size of a house come into view after looking at the dash of my car.  I could feel the red heat rise up from my chest.  My hobble turned into a full-on limp run (picture Captain Hook running on his wooden leg), my garment bag dragging in the slush, bejeweled belt clasped in hand and I made it, right to my car door!!

Panting, totally out of breath, hair sticking to my face and cheeks flushed from the biting cold, I tried to compose myself and sweetly greeted the officer with a pleading look on my face…

But just one look told me that baby, although my dress was the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas, my goose was cooked, see.  This officer was the real McCoy, totally on the level, and wasn’t about to bend any rules for this doll, you hear?

In other words, like Bridget Jones in Thailand, I was totally screwed.

Bridget Jones in jailAnd more than 11 months after the fact, I finally made it to court.  The road was not easy – what with the occasional night sweats and the fear of the book being thrown at me.  But more than that, I truly felt bad for what I had done – the guilt that I may have taken a spot from someone who couldn’t even hobble…the atonement felt like justice being served.  But my reality was even more impactful.

On the day of my trial, I matched my demure outfit with my feelings of regret and attended court.  I stood in line with all of the other rule breakers.  And while I thought that I’d be surrounded by a motley crew of real evil doers, they were people just like me…my imagination had run wild and I’d forgotten – this was only traffic court.  From my seat in the middle of the courtroom I shyly looked around and saw him:  the house of a police officer.  I remembered that moment all over again.  How he wouldn’t let me explain.  And next to the terror and remorse that washed over me came just a little bit of anger for not having been heard.

To my relief, the prosecutor announced a massive reduction in fines for the guilty.  And while I waited to be called to the bench, relieved that I would tell my story and the “house” would have to listen, the most unexpected thing occurred…

Together with a handful of others, I was moved to a different courtroom, where a different justice of the peace was dealing harsher punishments than to what any of us had agreed.  And probably against better judgment, this time I found my voice.  This time I explained my situation.  And feeling a renewed sense of courage I explained that although I was guilty, I’d already come to terms with the reprimand of the other court.  At which point I was told that I should have simply applied for a permit and was lucky to not be receiving the full punishment of the crime.

And in a moment of absolute clarity, I agreed.

 

 

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