In the comments on my last post, Simply Urban (who I’m going to call SU, for our purposes here) had a great idea. A to-do list that has only one item on it. This way, it’s quite easy to tackle your to-do list for the day and finish everything on it, feeling a huge burst of self-satisfaction.

I’m SO down with this.

So SU, I accept your proposal to do a shorter to-do.

Here was my list today:
-Figure out my traffic tickets.

I’ll explain this but first I must ask my mother not to read further because if she does, she will inevitably call me up and, when I don’t answer (which I won’t because I know what’s coming), she’ll leave the following message: ALIDA DIANE! YOU CALL ME BACK THE *MINUTE* YOU GET THIS MESSAGE. I KNOW YOU’RE HOME. I AM STILL YOUR MOTHER AND I CAN STILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.”


Okay, now that Mom has turned away (or covered her eyes), I can tell the rest of you the story of the traffic tickets.

As we all know, I had no job for many months. I used my savings on frivolous things like food and rent. I had very little income. And my registration on my car expired in the same month I lost my job. Now, I’ve never been timely on updating my tags/inspection. I used to drive around Texas with expired stickers. I did have a foolproof method of not getting pulled over though. Every time a cop passed me, I would shout out loud in my car, “MY TAGS ARE EXPIRED! I AM ILLEGAL!” I am convinced it is my honesty that kept the cops from noticing and pulling me over.

Seattle is different. My tags are not a sticker. My tags are on my license plate. I DID NOT REALIZE THIS. So I thought I was free and clear until I got my life back together and could afford to pay for such things as registration.

One day, as I walked toward my car, I noticed a ticket on the windshield. I was cited for “Improper display of license.” I thought, “Oh, that’s a weird thing.” And so I looked at my license plates. The front one was crooked. So I figured Seattle cops were a little OCD, grouched about it, fixed my plate, and went on with my life.

(It should be noted that paying a ticket was in the category of paying registration: something I could do SOMEDAY.)

A few weeks later, it happened again. This time, my license plate wasn’t crooked so I was at a loss. Still, I am a GOOD avoider, so I tucked the ticket away and went on with my life in a very “la la la I CAN’T HEAR YOU” fashion.

A couple weeks ago, I was finally pulled over for my registration. The cop was quite nice and gave me a warning, telling me I’d need to take care of my tickets before I could renew my registration. He asked that I do that as soon as I could. I promised him I would.

LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER, i was pulled over again. This cop was not as nice and gave me a hefty ticket for expired tags. So now my bank account had gotten smaller while my debt to the city of Seattle had grown considerably.

The following week, I still was AVOIDING. One morning, I went out to my car and it was not where I parked it. Nay, it was not anywhere on the street. I freaked, figuring someone had stolen my car. Then I realized I drive a huge SUV and nobody is going to steal that in this economy with these gas prices.

I called the tow company and sho’ nuff, Susie Lightning was incarcerated. Locked behind bars. In the clink. GONE. And it was going to cost $240 to get her back.


(And I’m not talking about the city of Seattle, dear faithful. I’m talking about me and my avoidance. We are a bunch of bitches.)

So Moo and I hopped a bus and bailed S.Lighning out of the big house. And again, my debt grew while my bank account dwindled.

I knew I had to call to find out what the damage is in parking fees so that I could figure out how to take care of them so that I can register my car. But I was afraid, so I kept getting “busy.” And then last Friday I really was going to call but then I got side-tracked and only remembered at 5:07 (the office closed at 5pm). Blast.

So I knew today had to be the day. It HAD to be. I’ve been parking my car in a neighborhood near my apartment, hiding it on residential streets, avoiding driving, terrified of being towed or getting another ticket.

And I called, y’all. And the damage, it is bad. It is not affordable. But it must be payed.

So now I’m figuring out how. And I actually feel good about all of this because at least I’m taking action and DOING something, rather than avoiding. This is progress for me. This is a LOT of progress.

I must offer my thanks to SU for giving me such a great idea. I hope she’ll play too and share her One Thing at a Time with me! In fact, I hope you all do! Think of the fun we’ll have, doing our One Thing at a Time and crossing it off of our to-do list! We’ll feel so good about ourselves!

And Mom, I know you read this whole thing. So you’ll understand when I don’t answer your next phone call.

Please still love me Mama. Won’t you please be my friend?

PS: Go visit SU over here: Simply Urban
Give her some blog-lovin’ and peer pressure her into sharing her to-do list with us!