Maybe I missed my calling

Me: We got two notices of unpaid parking tickets in the mail today.
The husband: Lame!
Me: Well it’s double-lame that I actually already paid one of them and the other one is a ticket I never even saw.
The husband: <reads final notice> I don’t remember seeing a ticket then either.
Me: It was December, maybe it blew away. Nice “welcome to the neighborhood, ya chumps.”
The husband: Do you want me to call them?
Me: Are you kidding? I live for this stuff.

A few weeks ago the old hometown sent me a bill for two unpaid parking tickets, which had accumulated late fees and all that good stuff to the tune of $120. Of course, the “final notice” was the first I had heard of these tickets and the city treasurer sent that notice to an address I hadn’t lived at in over a year, under a name I hadn’t used in three, for a car I no longer own. Needless to say, I was unimpressed with the stellar record keeping going on downtown.

I’m all about paying what is owed. If I (or the husband) have incurred a justly distributed ticket of some sort, plan on us writing a check for it and being done. The headache of fighting a ticket isn’t worth the cost of that ticket, especially if we are in the wrong.

But oh ho, when I’m NOT in the wrong, expect a phone call.

I subscribe to the school of catching more flies with honey, but a friend once told me I have a brass pair, so it’s not all hugs and smiles.

In the end, the ridiculous $120 bill was brought down to $20, the cost of the second ticket alone. The first was voided and all late fees expunged on both. Behold the power of a chipper “Good morning!” followed by “I’m not about to pay this and I dare you to try to make me.”

Fast forward to today, on the phone with the Arlington County Treasurer. Once I got through a Tolstoy-length automated voice menu, I got to speak with a real person and politely explained that although I was receiving a final notice of an unpaid parking ticket, I had never actually received the ticket.

I know when I’m up against forces beyond my most serious don’t-mess tone, and The Incorporated County of Arlington is one of those. Please see So, you’d like to live in our commonwealth for details. There is a time to push and a time to compromise, but you never get what you don’t ask for.

Me: The county will drop the late fee on the December ticket if I pay the original amount. I told them it’s a deal.
The husband: Look at you go.
Me: Not bad, eh?
The husband: You should be a terrorist negotiator.
Me: You know what, maybe I will be. Just maybe I will.

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