Monday Long Termer: 31/03/14′ – Parking Lesson.

By Nathan Green

First, an apology. Many of my loyal readers have been asking why the Long Termer pieces have not come to fruition the past few weeks.

I wish I had a definitive answer. Let me just say my thoughts and energy have been spent overcoming some personal issues. I’m sorry. I hope not to have lost the support that many of you have offered through positive feedback.
Now, with out further ado, let’s resume normal practice.

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time in Worcester as part of the ‘Inspired Learning’ training program provided by my employer. On day one I drove to my destination via the M5 northbound motorway. A distance of 30 miles that is easily covered in around 40 minutes as long as the timing is right and the traffic is minimal.

Upon arriving at my destination it became obvious that parking was not going to be as straightforward as the journey.

With no on-site parking, I, a person who does not know Worcester at all, needed to find a space that was a) free of charge and b) within walking distance. Luckily, I found a cul-de-sac with free parking just behind the building. Unluckily, I had to leave the Corsa parked in a position where the front wheels were just over double yellow lines.

With no time to find another space, I left the car thinking it would be fine. Why would a traffic warden operate on a private residential road and, furthermore, if they were to see my car, surely my parking would not be worthy of a ticket?

I walked the short distance to the training room, parked my arse on a seat and soaked up some knowledge. Lovely ta., thanks for coming.

After bidding farewell to our top-class in-house trainer and fellow students, I walked back to the car. You know where this is going, right? I was greeted by a clear plastic envelope which had been stuck to the windscreen and contained notice of financial dismay and general inconvenience.

Meh.

Meh.

What’s the first thing you say when you are fined or reprimanded for doing something wrong? Well, maybe not the first thing as, if you’re anything like me, that will begin with an F, a B or even a C and, if you’re very unhappy, these words will be accompanied by a violent physical outburst in the form of a slam, stamp or whack.

Anyway, once I had finished swearing and stamping and had overcome the temptation to film myself burning the ticket then uploading the video to YouTube, I told myself I was a victim. However, as is often the case these days, I immediately began to question this.

I knew I could get a ticket when I parked the car there, didn’t I? I know that traffic wardens are awarded bonuses relating to the revenue they provide for their respective employers, in this case Worcester City Council. I knew that even one inch over those yellows lines would doubtless leave me with a fine. So why did I immediately begin to feel like a victim? Why is it we automatically feel like it’s not fair to be reprimanded when we do something wrong?

If you punch someone in the face, you will likely be arrested. If you sleep with someone else’s girlfriend, you’ll probably be punched in the face. If you don’t treat your girlfriend with the respect and the decency she deserves, she will leave you and, if you park on double yellow lines, you will get a ticket.
Recently I have learned that playing the victim only delays inevitable guilt and misfortune, whether it be financial or emotional. If you tackle your problems head on, and, in a timely manner, you have a much better chance of gaining a favourable outcome.

So, I accepted I was at fault, took a knock to my ego (and bank balance) and paid the fine. Doing so within a 14 day period entitled me to 50% off, leaving me with just £35 to pay.

What an absolute bargain life lesson, if only all of them could be solved so quickly and cheaply.

Weekly Mileage- 512

Fuel Cost: £50

Repair cost: £0 Parking ticket: £35

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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