Yesterday I went on a lovely hike up Asotin Creek. It was a place Jim had told me about. Mountain bikers go there in the early season to escape the cold and snow still present in Moscow. I wanted some warmth. I got it. And a few wild flowers, and vanilla scented Ponderosa Pine, and ticks, but no morels. I also got a citation for violation to obey signs relating to the need for a permit to park in a WDFW improved access facility. I looked around. We took pictures. There was no sign where we parked, at the trailhead, or at the turn off from the road. There was no mention of needing said permit on the Asotin Wildlife Area webpage we had printed off to find this place. We were one of 2 cars in the lot when we arrived, one of 2 when we left.
I called the number on the citation, and the officer was less than sympathetic. He said there was a big red sign…and when he described where it was, I recognized the place. It was not where we parked, it was not at the trailhead, and it was not at the turn off from the road. I stated this….calmly. He was…rude. Basically told me that he had his own pictures, and I could go argue this with the judge. I hung up, red in the face, close to tears. Why, even when I know I am right, do I end up feeling guilty in any kind of conflict? Damn the midwest upbringing anyhow!
Interestingly, I did not pull the widow card. I did not state that after getting out for a hike after 5 hours of sleep, that I did not have the energy to walk down to the opposite end of the huge empty parking area to check out another sign. I did not burst into tears, and tell him that his citation ruined an otherwise perfect, and how very rare that is, day. I did not inform him that after going out to dance on Saturday, and putting gas in the car to go hiking, I had pretty much used up my weekend budget, and being a new widow, I am trying hard to live within my means. I did not pull the widow card. I did not even think about it.
Now I am thinking about it. I will have to weigh the cost of getting to wherever the judge is vs just paying the ticket. Wonder if it will be scheduled at a time that does not conflict with work, or parenting responsibilities. I will see if I have the energy to add one more annoyance to my life. Can I be manipulative enough to actually pull the widow card?When does that expire, anyhow?