Friday, November 05, 2010

The law as I am learning it

A few days ago I drove downtown to teach my class. I pulled into an
area that was pretty deserted, maybe 9 parking spots without cars,
open side by side. I picked the middle spot and made my way in. I was
a bit out of it, I guess, and didn't notice that I missed the middle
pretty good. I walked across the street to the normal side door of
the office to find it locked. As I walked back, I noticed a Zambian in
an orange vest putting a yellow wheel clamp on my car. I had no idea
at the time why he was doing this. So I ran across the street,
yelling at him, "What are you doing?" Well, I found my infraction. I
had misparked by about a meter. Now, I am not denying my guilt, and
though I was miffed, I began to realize that I needed to pay a fine
(even though at that time, there were still 8 other spots open next to
me and continued to stay open during my stay there). He said the fine
was k450,000 kwacha which is just about $100. Yeah, exactly. A
speeding ticket is k67,500 ($12ish) and talking with a cell phone
while driving is k250,000 (about $50) and a parking infraction of one
meter is k450,000. So, I wasn't buying it or paying it and I admit I
didn't handle it well. My outburst caused a stir and pretty soon I
had 8 Zambian all arguing against (3 with orange vests and 5 from the
street). One street guy volunteered that I should I negoitate. Uh,
sorry, I don't negoitate. Well, I left the scene and walked to my
office, seething. I got a few pastors to come with me. After calming
down, I walked back with the pastors, and first apologized to the now
one orange vest guy. Then, I left my pastors go to work and they did
with much more grace and calmness than had been my first approach.
They even shared the gospel. (Who is teaching who?) The final result:
10,000k and a promise to buy them a coke. The orange vest guys said,
"We need to get our daily quota for tickets" and so k10,000 was fair
enough. They split the fine between four orange vest guys. What do
you do? Well, you park in the middle first of all... And then I guess,
just remember that I am a guest in the country no matter how unfair I
feel the judgment is. Lastly, I need to never forget that I am a
always a Christian first. Two days later I saw one of the orange vest
guys and he asked for a Bible...:)

1 comment:

thomasross said...

Multiple "ouch", plural