I've gotta say, the transition to '08 has been a little bumpy for me so far. And I'm to blame. Mostly missteps on my part, coupled with poor timing. One of my very first acts of the new year was the purchase of a new domain name....with a glaring typo in it. The day before, rushing up to my car sitting in a spot five minutes past the meter's expiration...it had a ticket. The first day back at work was uneventful, but gloomy. Peaches kept asking me about the dark cloud that had settled around me. The next morning I overslept by two hours, unheard of for me. Today, subbing a fitness class downtown as a favor to a friend, I was thrilled to find a parking meter at 6am near the gym. I brought a pocket full of quarters and sunk most of them into the meter before reading the fine print: payment only necessary between 9:30am and 4pm! Woohoo! A FREE parking spot.

If there's any defense, I had not slept well, and it was dark and 6 degrees when I parked. Can we say I wasn't functioning at full capacity? My classes went well, and I took my time showering and leaving. After all, I had until 9:30 with FREE parking! I was feeling so bold and good that I even stopped by a rival gym to investigate auditioning for the sub list. They sell fitness clothing, and while I try to be careful with spending money while out teaching classes, I had to buy a piece once the salesman offered 20% off. OK, $35, a little more than I'd been paid to teach that morning. But, I'd avoided a parking garage, so I didn't have to pay for parking, right? Right?

Can you see where this is going?

Once I rounded the corner to the little alley where I'd parked, my heart sunk. This wasn't a dark, cold alley anymore. It was a sunny traffic corridor. And where was my car. It was nowhere. A sign: Tow Zone, 7am-9:30am. My heart sunk even lower.

A conversation with a cop at a construction site, fighting back tears making phone calls to confirm the city had towed it, a construction worker helping me find a cab and commiserating: "It's infuriating, ain't it?" I nodded. "And wait until you see what it costs. $150 and then they put a ticket on top of that." I thanked them and took an $11 cab ride to a tow lot somewhere near 93. I didn't know how to do anything, even wait in line. No one was there. I started pacing. A man on a nearby bench smiled kindly at me. "They'll see you, miss. They'll come out and help you." My car had just been taken. And it was my own, dumb fault! "That'll be $96, miss," said the woman behind the counter when she finally appeared. When I walked out to the lot, my car was sitting there, a $75 ticket tucked unhelpfully under the wiper.

For 1 hour of teaching downtown this morning, I paid $182. (I also got paid...but I already spent that money on a sportsbra.) This after paying $700 to have a new clutch put in the car just last week.

But, I feel guilt, dwelling on these mopey little detours when I have such a good life. New Year's night, holding my husband's hand at midnight in a huge crowd of people, I watched the lights dance on the side of the Boston Public Library and breathed in the cool night air and felt love and kindness coming from all sides. Even as we slipped out of the crowd post-countdown, some kids tried to fight each other, and I felt lucky for love, home, health, and self-management skills. Laughing after a night of wandering through drunk and happy crowds at Boston Common, pizza and Sidecars at Sonsie's, dessert and Champagne at Maggiano's, and whodunit improv theater at the Charles Street Playhouse (where I fell asleep on his shoulder and awakened to a roomful of people laughing as the cast member pointed me out as "another homicide"), we returned to find our car surrounded by cops and ambulances. Turned out that there had been a car accident within feet of our car, which was unscathed. We looked at each other somberly and climbed in to drive away. "Lucky," I thought.