I am a law and order type of guy.
I report all of my income and pay taxes on it. I would not even consider taking a pencil from work. And I would no more be tempted into using illegal drugs than I would be to split an infinitive.
Sure, there are some laws that I bend beyond their flexibility -- like, speeding. But, on the whole, I comply with the laws just as my mother and father taught me to do.
That is why what I had to do today was something of an adventure for me.
On Saturday I stopped at Rooster's for a quick chat. For the past month or two finding a parking spot near the restaurant is next to impossible. So, I drove a block away from the beach to a street that does not have much traffic. And it had even less traffic than usual because a house was being constructed and the workers' motorcycles were parked higgledy-piggledy where I would normally leave my car.
Instead, I parked across the street with my car facing toward what would be the opposite direction of travel -- if there was the possibly of any car traveling from that direction. And I dashed over to the restaurant.
Of course, I did not stop briefly. I chatted. I ate breakfast. I held court with the waiters. Two hours later I wandered back to my car.
When I rounded the corner, I saw a large piece of paper on my windshield and knew immediately what it was. I have seen the traffic wardens wandering up and down the street in front of Banamex and Rooster's handing out citations for illegally-parked cars.
That is exactly what it was. A parking ticket.
It was the first one I have seen up close. They are wonders of details. The two sections of the traffic code I had violated were clearly marked. And I could have read the code language on the back of the citation if it had not been printed in a font so small that not even a Mexican eagle could have read it -- even if he had borrowed my glasses.
As fortune would have it, I had just talked with a Mexican acquaintance about traffic infractions last week. He had been cited for riding his motorcycle without a helmet. I asked him what he had done with the citation -- meaning where he had paid it. "You are suppose to pay it in Cihuatlán, but I threw it away."
I decided that it was bad enough that I knew I had violated the parking rules without exacerbating the situation by ignoring the citation. So, I was up early and off to Cihuatlán (at the same office where I had renewed my car registration last month) to wait in line for about a half hour to pay the citation.
Other than the lost time, the full penalty of 86 pesos (reduced by half to 43 pesos) -- or $2.30 (US) --was hardly an incentive not to become a parking pariah.
Though I doubt I will be tempted to park that way again. After all, there is plenty of space to park here as long as you are willing to walk an extra block or four.