Monday, July 14, 2008

Notes on a Sombre Monday

Something sad, something infuriating, and something funny today.

Today I attended the funeral of a young woman who died of breast cancer. She was 32. Her sister and brother-in-law are two of my dearest friends, and as I sat there in the church watching the family, I was overcome by sadness, wondering how a person can go on after that. How do you bury your child? Your sister and best friend? The mind boggles. It was the saddest funeral I've ever been to, and I'm counting the funerals of my own family in that. It was just so hard. She was beautiful, vivacious, smart, hilarious, and full of life. You always hear people saying things like that when someone dies, but in her case, it was absolutely true. I felt like an anvil was sitting on my chest the entire time, and it's still there. Her family is so strong and amazing, I just know I wouldn't have that kind of strength.

And now for the infuriating. In my daze of sadness, I thought I had a massage appointment booked today, and showed up to it. As I sat there waiting and waiting, it suddenly occurred to me that I'd actually been there recently, so maybe I was wrong on the date? Turns out... I was wrong on the date. (Which sucks... you know when you've been crying and trying not to cry and you get that lump in your throat that eventually makes your head throb? I had that... times 10.) So back outside I go to my car, and as I head up the hill, I can see a yellow ticket on my windshield. I was phoning my husband at the time to tell him that I had effed up and would be home earlier than I thought, and I said, "There's a ticket on my windshield! How is that possible?! I've only been here 5 minutes!" Now, this is in the Beach in Toronto. The parking cops in the Beach in Toronto are notorious for their cruelty. A couple of years ago there was a rash of complaints after cops were putting tickets on cars, and the people would come running out and say, "Hey, what are you doing, I have 5 more minutes on that ticket!" and the cop would say, "Not according to my watch." and walk away.


If you pay for 20 minutes, you've paid for 20 minutes, not what the dude has on his watch. But it was department policy. It took a lot of vocal people and a councillor or two to finally get the cops to back down on that. So today, I'm rushing to my car to try to figure out why the heck I could possibly have a ticket, and lo and behold... I DON'T.

The ticket was for another car. I said to my husband, still on the phone, "Uh... it's not for my car." He said, "Ah, the old 'put it on someone else's car' bait and switch." WHAT?! I'd never heard of this. He says people do it all the time -- you get a ticket, stick it on someone else's windshield, and hope they don't notice it's not theirs and they pay it. If they don't, at least you tried. [He hasn't tried it, by the way.] I'd NEVER heard of this before, has anyone out there heard of it? Regardless, it's what someone tried on me.

So if you're out there, Volkswagen driver with the license plate DDY785, I'm not paying your bloody ticket. Just because you parked in a school parking zone about 30 metres down the street from where I was parked doesn't mean you can just pass it off to me. And considering it was a one-way street the opposite direction of my car, you had to WALK up the street to tuck it on my windshield, not just drive by and pop it on there. Nice try.

And now for the funny (finally). I needed this today. My publisher sent me the following email, because he thought I'd get a laugh out of it (I did):

Dear Sir--

Recently I purchased your book "Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, Warrior Stars of Xena"
It was purported to be a complete coverage of the series and their comments, etc.
What I found was that the coverage of the series was very incomplete, lacking much of the last years.
If you cannot provide the proper coverage for a book, you should remove it from the market.
Paul F. S******. Contractor
Captain, USPHS Regular Corps, Ret.

Ha! SO awesome. This is my first book, published in April 1998. At the time, it was the complete episode guide to Xena, but then, you know, a few more seasons happened? The book sold out pretty fast, we never reprinted, it was never updated for some reason, and it just went out of print. So the guy must have bought it from ABE or a used bookstore or some other second-hand dealer, because you can't buy it new anymore. Then he emails the publisher to basically say we should be scouring used bookstores and taking it out of circulation completely so that morons like him, who don't know how to open up the book and see that it ends with The Bitter Suite and NOT A Friend in Need.

While he's at it, he should also email Penguin regarding their edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and tell them that since the English language has been updated, they should be updating their book to reflect that.

I bet he drives a Volkswagen, license plate DDY785. ;)


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, and your sucky day. I hadn't heard of the ticket con, but it makes sense. I wonder how many people have fallen for it?

That quote from your 'reader' is funny. Your book lacks much of the last years. Not doesn't cover it (because it hadn't happened yet). I guess he was doing some reading between the lines.

Anonymous said...

Hey there (Matthew here). Bloody parking tickets like that are a complete rip off, as well, given the context, as being deeply painful. For what little they can be worth at this distance, please accept my condolences.

And as for the knob-head who complained to your publisher - that is just majestic... really beautiful. Almost makes me want to not mention the UPN Buffy at all in my book - just to see what happens!

Once again, you provide a delightful and thoughtful parting shot before I head off to the pub!