Astrid was very community minded. She wasn’t neurotic about it, not obsessed, but if there was a bit of discarded trash on the sidewalk she’d usually stop, pick it up, and drop it in a waste bin.
On this particular Wednesday she did just that. It was a discarded ice cream paper. Clearly some child had torn the cover off their ice cream and dumped the screwed up bit of paper on the ground.
Astrid’s picking it up and placing it in the street waste container added three seconds to the mission she was on; and that was to go into the shop and purchase a lottery ticket.
Those three added seconds meant she got a different set of numbers than those she would have got if she had been three seconds earlier. And the numbers that she would have got but didn’t were the numbers that came up.
She would have won one hundred and twenty-seven million. Of course, she’ll never know she missed out by a hair’s breadth.
Matilde didn’t normally use the parking building down town. She usually parked a distance from where she wanted to go and avoided having to pay those “town council rats who want to squeeze money out of every stone in the city”.
This time, however, she had to visit the dentist urgently, and finding a car park space where she didn’t have to pay was the last thing on her mind. So she entered the parking building, collecting her ticket from the automatic slot machine as she drove in.
The dentist took longer than expected. She had to wait, and then they extracted a tooth because of an abscess. She had been away several hours.
Her parking building ticket said to REMEMBER TO PAY BEFORE LEAVING. So Matilde wandered around the seven story parking building for quite some time looking for the automatic machine that would read her ticket and tell her how much and where to pay. She couldn’t find it.
Then she saw a person wearing a uniform and presumed it was some sort of parking building attendant, but they said the uniform was from the nearby supermarket where they worked, so Matilde saw someone else and asked them and they said they didn’t know how you paid for the parking because they never used the building.
In the end, Matilde didn’t know what to do, so she got in her car and drove to the exit. She presumed that payment must be made at the exit. The automatic arm at the exit simply said please put your ticket in the slot. When she did, it said YOU MUST PAY FIRST.
There was a car behind Matilde. She was almost in tears and the numbing injection from the dentist was starting to wear off. She couldn’t back back because of the car behind her. Then the nice man driving the car behind came up and asked what the trouble was.
He gave Matilde his paid for parking ticket and said he would tailgate behind her. And he did that, driving his car bumper to bumper out through the upraised arm of the parking building’s exit. Two cars escaped for the price of one.