Area Man Gets Parking Ticket

I park badly, sideways, and don’t bother with the the parking meter since I’m only going to pop into the YouBreakIt to see if they can fix my phone. But once inside they make me wait for what seems like an eternity just to tell me that my phone is bent and they can’t replace the screen. 

When I walk outside I can see the parking tickets curled up under my wiper blade. Two of them, one for not paying the meter and another for “not parked in a space and into next space.”

I fully deserve these tickets, justice was done, and I am guilty on both counts. But I’m still disgruntled. 

I take a deep breath and remember Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, and his practice of  taking “the view from above.” Why not give it a try? So I imagine looking down on my car from a third person perspective. Then I zoom out, peering down on Broadway and downtown Boulder. It starts to work, the parking tickets seem less important, so I keep zooming out, looking down on the country, then the whole planet, everything connected, this wafer-thin layer we inhabit, then the solar system, humbling in its vast distances. A car horn yanks me back down to earth. I get in my Honda and drive home.

Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

– Carl Sagan
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