It’s official! People love to hear about other people’s sassy and narcissistic teenagers. One of my recent posts about “Upgrade Me Grace” broke my humble little blog’s record for “Most Widely Read Post.” Obviously, that motivates me to write more blogs about the Life-and-Times-of-Gracie, but I promised myself I would bide my time and space them out a bit. She really was such a good sport about the recent post, (where I compared her presence in our home to a disruptive weather pattern) Still… I don’t want it to seem as though her very own mother is picking on her.

Nonetheless, when she called me the other day to tell me that her college transcripts were “frozen” and she just needed my credit card number REALLY QUICK to pay the school for a couple of “INCIDENTALS,” I experienced an immediate change of heart….

After my *INITIAL REACTION, I thought to myself, ‘It’s one thing when my kids screw up and cost me money needlessly, but it’s another thing to forgo capitalizing creatively due to voluntary imposed self-censorship.’ Literally, the only compensatory thing about raising teenagers is that they provide excellent writing material and fodder for the blog. Their behavior continuously elucidates everything parents despise about the age 12-21 demographic.

(*Don’t miss the fun quiz at the end of this blog, whereby you guess my *INITIAL REACTION)

One quick phone call confirmed that those INCIDENTALS were parking citations. One was for $85 and the other one was for $50. It appears as though at The University of Arkansas there are 2 types of parking infractions-Misdemeanor Parking and Felonious Capitol Offense Parking. It looks as though the $50 parking MISDEMEANOR was for parking her car in an “unauthorized space.” But, the $85 one specifically notes on the citation, that there was “signage expressly forbidding”her to park in said space.

…and yet, my daughter interpreted this to mean “This is Negotiable” and scooted on in.

To receive a fine as steep as $85, she had to have commandeered the private parking space of someone pretty high up the University Food Chain. Perhaps the sign said, “Dean Parking” and she thought it said, “Queen Parking”.

It’s just unfortunate that the ticket was already sitting on her windshield before she returned to her car or it’s entirely possible that she might’ve talked her way out of it, like she did recently when she walked up and saw a man actually engaged in the process of booting her car. As the story goes, she started letting him have it about “her hellacious day” and how “hard it is to park legally in Fayetteville” and how “mean it was of him to do this to her”. She flat-out made it personal with this guy. According to one local witness (her roommate) the man held his hands out in deflection of the verbal onslaught, removed the boot and drove away. A grown man traumatized into submission by a 19 year old college co-ed. Tsk, Tsk

In our family, It goes without saying, that you are responsible for paying any and all fines you incur, but I went ahead and said it anyway. As soon as my money effectively thawed out her academic record, I promptly informed her that she would be reimbursing me the $135. She balked for a few minutes informing me that, “everybody gets these” as if to imply that parking tickets were just part of the CUSTOMARY AND REASONABLE expense of any undergraduate degree and a prudent parent would’ve budgeted for this expense.

I can’t wait for her to finish up her exams and move home to start her summer job, so she can pay off her debts to society (Me).

Ironically, she will be working at one of the finest restaurants in town, parking patrons at their tables. We think she’ll be a natural at this. If you’re desperate one night and the joint is full, you know she’ll figure out how to scoot you in anyway…

*Quiz: My initial reaction was-
A. Hang on, Sweetheart, let me grab my Checkbook!
B. Will they take my debit over the phone?
C. Is there Campus Jail, where student can serve time, in lieu of parent paying fine?