An Expensive Minute

An Expensive MinuteWhile Alan and I were visiting in Boston, Joel found that the best deal around for overnight parking was $24 for 24 hours in a lot not far from his house. We’ve experienced much worse! Once we inadvertently parked in a Chicago lot that charged us $22 for an hour (because we failed to buy anything from their store while looking at Christmas decorations). In Rome we stayed in a parking lot that literally lifted our car on a hoist and hand-pushed it into place just 3″ away from the next car. Our  hotel there had advertised that they had parking, but we were naive enough to think that meant “free” parking. As the attendant assured me upon arrival: “Madam, in Rome…nothing  free!” (I can’t write that line with the appropriate accent and flourish, but imagine it!) Woman in White In London it’s impossible for mere mortals to buy permission to drive a car downtown, so don’t even think about it. (But, do think about the fact that some of the tube stations close during the night. Once after watching a glorious performance of The Woman in White, we emerged into the midnight darkness of London’s theatre district  only to discover that the tube station was closed!   😦      It took a long time to hail a cab to our room at the Tudor Lodge…which [being quite far out of town in order to save money] was a very expensive taxi ride!

So, $24 for 24 hours seemed like a pretty good deal. The only trick was that we couldn’t buy a pass for 4 days. The pass ran from 6:00 am one day until 6:00 am the following day, so each morning we had to get up at 5:45 am and run over to the parking lot to buy a new pass. We never saw an attendant, but there would be a line of people each morning getting their passes for the day at the automated ticket booth. One morning we got in line, but when it was our turn, it was apparently only 5:58 am, because the ticket booth spit out a ticket for us that read “expires at 5:59″…just one minute later. We discovered that everyone else was buying the “early bird” pass (only good until 8 pm but available anytime after 12:00 am), but we hadn’t realized this! There was an 800 number to call for help, but no one answered, and there was no ticket agent available in the booth. I remembered parking once in Chicago with my girl friend Lizzie. We parked in a line of cars on a street, but when we returned, not a single car was there. Apparently it was a school pickup spot, and cars stopped but didn’t actually park. We hadn’t noticed, and we had to take a taxi to the bowels of Chicago’s underworld (which I didn’t even know existed until then) to retrieve our car…plus pay a very hefty fine. Not wanting to take any chances, Alan bought us a new pass. Sigh. That was one very expensive minute!

However, there are many even more expensive minutes: a skid on black ice, a critical wrong turn at an intersection, not looking “left last” (in the US…but “right ready” in the UK)…there are endless ways to lose your life on the freeway. The head-first dive that broke a neck, the last fateful drink or pill…it only takes a second to pull the trigger, literally or figuratively. Hateful words that end a relationship, spoken in a moment of anger but never redeemed. Do you have any horrifying “one minute”  stories? Can you look ahead and see one that might be brewing in your future? Lord, please help us to keep looking to you for wisdom so we avoid those expensive minutes!

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:
but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:2).
“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed,
and that without remedy (Proverbs 29:1).