This semester I'm taking a graduate class in connection with my day job. The class is tough, but the challenge is exciting and I may write about that in another post, but all you need to know for this post is that I'm taking the class at a downtown/city campus.
On the first night of my class, I was nervous. I wasn't sure about the class or where to park or who would be in the class or where to park. You get the idea.
I left my day job with plenty of time to get to my class and pick up my parking pass, then proceed to one of the parking lots. Well, I thought I had plenty of time. I parked, legally at that time of day, in the only space I could find, and took off to get my parking pass. I followed the sign to the parking department, but found out that it had moved to another building since the last time I took a grad class, so I lost some time finding the right building. Then, I found out that there was a problem with something in the building that houses the parking office, which meant I was directed to another location to pick up my pass. When I arrived there, I was told that the building was open for people who needed the pass I needed, so I went back to the building. As I opened the front door, I met a large group of workman coming out. One of the men told me that the building was closed again to everyone for the next 30 minutes.
Since my class was starting in less than 30 minutes, I gave up and walked back to my car. I turned the corner of the street where my car was parked just in time to see a parking office from the city, not the university, putting a ticket on my car.
I grabbed the ticket off my windshield and drove to find another, legal at this time of day, parking space. I drove around, turned around, drove back, but couldn't find any legal parking places with vacancies.
By this time, my class had started.
Now, you may be thinking, okay, fine, but what's the writer bit and how did that help? Well, as I drove, my brain starting going. I played out the whole story of what if I drove around for the next hour, ( I had plenty of gas), and found a parking place when everyone was leaving their classes. Then, I'd run in to my class, only to meet everyone leaving. What would happen next? Would the professor talk to me or expunge my name from the class roster?
Then, I started noticing how many other people had tickets on their cars. Unlike me, they'd just left their cars where they were without worrying about the ticket. I wondered about those people and wondered if they did this every week. Did they ever pay their tickets? Did some of them owe the city thousands of dollars? Could I make a citizen's arrest and get a reward that would be big enough to pay for my ticket?
My point is that every time I followed this line of imagining, I started to laugh. Which was better than the few moments of weeping I had when I first started driving around with the parking ticket on the passenger's seat next to me.
Just when I had almost given up and was onto a story of how great it would be to have super powers and be able to pick up my car and put it in a parking space, I saw a deck for visitors that still had vacancies. I parked and ran to my class.
My late arrival is another adventure, but I'm still enrolled in the class.
Once I reached home and told my husband of my adventures, he added another idea to my creative fire. He thinks that the city police mark this week down as a huge money maker week and that they just wait for people like me who are starting classes and are clueless about where to park. I made a few notes that night about potential stories with lurking parking officers and magical parking lots. I'll probably never use those notes, but who knows.
What I do know is that being a writer helps me keep events in my life in perspective.
What about you? How does being a writer affect your every day interactions? For example, raise your hand if you keep notes of phrases or comments you hear? (Mine is raised!) Let me know.