Monday, February 16, 2009

Roberta's bad day

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing worse than being the mother of a teenage girl is to be that same teenager’s car. Of course, you already know that my daughters name their cars (may Zack rest in peace) but do they really show respect for them? Let me introduce you to some of the trials and tribulations endured on just one day in the life of their next car, Roberta:

7:50 a.m. – The oldest daughter drives Roberta to the train station to catch a train into the city for the day. She leaves a tad bit on the late side, and despite the mother’s offers to drop her off on her way to work, swears she’ll be fine. After circling the commuter parking lot, Roberta ends up parked on a neighborhood side street under a sign that reads, 2
Hour Parking Only – All Others Will Be Towed Away.
9:25 a.m. – Nonetheless, Roberta is somewhat surprised when the responsible mother figure arrives and moves her off that side street (for there have been countless other instances where Roberta has been left under similar circumstances.) Noticing, thankfully, that the daughter has been driving on fumes, the responsible mother figure brings her to the nearest gas station and spends yet more of her precious work time and $65 in hard-earned cash to fill Roberta’s gas tank.

9:35 a.m. – Refreshed and renewed, it’s back to the commuter lot again where Roberta has her choice of parking spaces, and the mother attempts to wrestle with the “pay to park” machine at the station. Roberta watches as the mother inserts $5 for a $3 fee, pushes a few buttons, and the machine spits out a receipt declaring that, despite the money deposited, she has no time assigned to her. Then she watches as the mother almost loses her debit card to the very same hungry machine.

And so, Roberta doesn’t blame the mother at all when she displays the lost $5 receipt in a prominent place on her windshield, grabs the full cup of (now iced) coffee that her daughter stopped for along the way and promptly forgot (time she could have used to find a parking place, no doubt) and trudges back to her own car which she left on that side street a good half-mile away on the other side of the station.

Time Unknown – Roberta is disappointed to see a member of the parking authority put a ticket on her windshield despite the best efforts of the mother.

8:05 p.m. – The daughter comes to reclaim the car, sees the parking ticket, mumbles something under her breath, tosses the ticket on the back seat, plugs in her iPod, and proceeds to begin driving to her friend’s house.

8:09 p.m. – Roberta comes to an abrupt stop when a car with flashing lights appears behind her. She watches anxiously as the daughter rifles through the Dunkin Donut napkins in the glove compartment looking for her insurance card and registration. No luck. She hears the officer tell the daughter that she is lucky that he’s only giving her a ticket for a broken taillight and not the $180 ticket for the missing registration.

8:10 p.m. – Although she knows it’s not her fault, Roberta feels somewhat responsible for all that she has clearly been lacking this day–gas in her tank, adequate parking fees, working taillight, missing documentation. The daughter, however, seems to only be angry at the officer and so Roberta and the daughter proceed on to meet the daughter’s friends.

10:52 p.m. – When, after an exhausting day, Roberta finally returns to her own driveway, she hears the daughter tell the responsible mother figure that the other licensed daughter must have been pulled over and not told her parents, for where else would that missing documentation have gone to? For some reason the mother believes her story and goes looking for that other daughter.

But alas, Roberta knows that the last time those cards were used was at the scene of this daughter’s last accident–an accident, by the way, that still had Roberta missing her front bumper.