Why Parking Tickets are a Blessing in Disguise

Some things to be thankful for while sheltering-in-place

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller

Today we got a parking ticket. Here we are, living in a horror-suspense-thriller movie, with picked-over grocery shelves and everyone barely hanging on….

…and it’s the first Thursday of the month. So of course there’s street sweeping in our neighborhood.

Getting this ticket was an oddly comforting reminder, a relic of what life used to be. That when our laundry mostly consists of sweats and pajamas and we can’t remember what day of the week it is… someone is keeping track. Oh, don’t you worry, I fully intend on contesting it. But let’s turn lemons into lemonade and use this as a little reality check to remind us that life is still happening.

It feels as if the whole world should be on pause. Many of our jobs are on pause or at least in a weird holding pattern. Even the Summer Olympics were postponed. Our family has created a weird new rhythm around survival these days: get up, read news, regret reading the news, drink some coffee, change into work pajamas, become floating heads on Zoom for a few hours, go for a run so we don’t go crazy, eat dinner, figure out what will calm the restless feeling in our minds and bodies until we go to sleep way too late.

And we almost forget that a lot of the other normal, life stuff is still happening. Plenty of people are getting sick or managing chronic illnesses unrelated to Covid-19. We still get zits and our periods and headaches and wrinkles and allergies. Laundry still needs to be done and all of our quarantine bread-making still affects our waistlines. And we still get parking tickets (well, some cities). It’s as if some forces of nature just don’t care that we’re in a global pandemic.

But you know what else is still happening? The sun comes up every morning. Babies are being born. People are falling in love. Spring is coming and flowers are blooming. Birthdays are being celebrated. People are still being creative and kind and generous.

There are just some things — good and bad — that cannot be stopped. We’re still moving forward, one day at a time. Getting our parking tickets, growing older, fighting our battles, gaining small victories, crying and laughing. The same normal crappy stuff that used to happen to us is still happening to us now — it’s snuck through the caution tape and into our Groundhog Day-esque schedules.

But the good stuff sneaks in too. Which gives me hope that, even if the world may look very different by the time we come out of this, there is still good ahead of us. It doesn’t lessen the amount of terrible things and the pain and suffering, but it also means they haven’t gotten the last word. There is still good happening right now. There is good to come. Let’s hold onto that hope with each new morning.

Bangkok-born | Baton Rouge-raised | California-grown | www.patreeya.com

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