What does it take to get out of a ticket?
A little sobbing? A little stretching of the truth? Both?
Hello, Officer. Sir, I’m so sorry. I’m late to one of the biggest presentations of my career, and …
this day has just …
*hardcore, snotty sniffs*
it’s just been one terrible thing after another and …
*take no prisoners convulsing sobs*
this just can’t be happening! This can’t, can’t, can’t!!! …
*full-blown ugly I’m-a-little-crazy wailing*
Bang. Warning issued. No fine, no deferred adjudication, no court appearance to plead anything.
This is the reality for many of my friends. And they tell this with no shame or fear of condemnation. They share the following thoughts equally:
“I make a breakfast casserole that calls for pepitas of all things and the kids fight for seconds!”
“I bawled my eyes out and allowed snot to run over my lips to get out of a speeding ticket!”
Unless I’m being clubbed in the shins with a nightstick, I’m simply unwilling to comply with this method; however, this refusal has made me the not-so-proud owner of a fresh speeding ticket.
Do you want to know what made it doubly bummerish? I wasn’t even in a hurry! I was in a very happy place, taking the long way back to work, listening to music and thinking how funny it is when people accidentally write “me” instead of “my” and don’t notice that their text says, “I got me brakes fixed.”
If it was simply my turn to get a ticket, I wish I’d been nabbed while frantically driving to Chipotle for a fix so it felt semi-warranted. I’d be disappointed but nod knowingly to myself, “Yep, my burrito ways have caught up with me.”
So you can imagine my dismay when 40 yards before me, I saw whirling lights and a gruff, fat-fingered policeman angrily thumbing me over. I was one of many cars going around the same speed, but while I was forced to find a discreet place to pull over, the rest of the racing field gleefully continued their journey—with an extra measure of satisfaction and victory.
I wonder why I’m being pulled over? I don’t think I was speeding. Was I speeding? What is the speed limit? Why did he look so disgusted? Crap, did he know I was listening to Justin Bieber? Is that a ticketable offense? I bet it is since I paid extra for the deluxe version. Crap.
He approached my window but didn’t even ask if I knew why he pulled me over. He seemed unimpressed when I produced my license and current insurance without being asked. He simply said, “I’m Officer Grumpy-Pants and I pulled you over for driving 48 in a 35. Is there a reason you’re going so fast?”
The sting of an abrupt introduction and zero thank-you’s for not evading arrest left me feeling slighted. I thought, “So fast? Since when is 48 on a 4-lane road ‘so fast’ and where were you last night when that dude popped a wheelie down the freeway for 2 solid miles? And why are you staked out, semi-hidden, pretending to shoot me with your fancy radar gun?”
I was about to answer his question when I recalled a story my sister told me. Years ago, she got pulled over for being in the HOV lane without a passenger. This is normally a non-negotiable minimum of $500.
The officer said, “I pulled you over because you’re driving in the HOV lane without additional passengers.” She did the clueless blonde head bobble, like, “Yeah? Tell me more, Handsome.” He cocked his head, “You do know what HOV stands for, don’t you, Ma’am?”
“High Octane Vehicle?”
He. Let. Her. Go. And she drove a Ford Escort. HATCHBACK!
“Ma’am,” he said, jolting me out of the memory “is there a reason you were going so fast?”
“I was chasing my dreams?”
Uh-oh. He was not amused. I wasn’t cut out for tears or shenanigans, so I quickly followed up, “I mean, no—no reason at all.”
He scanned my inspection and registration stickers and took my license and proof of insurance back to his mean-looking SUV. I hoped I didn’t get a demerit for my ill-timed joke, but instead scored points for keeping the tears at bay and handing over current-everything. If so, there might be a slim chance I’d just get a warning. I had a fair amount of things working in my favor, right?
Wrong. Instead, he apparently pulled up my clean record and thought, “Well, well, well. What do we have here? A pretty decent citizen, huh?”
He returned—even slightly cockier, if I’m not mistaken—and handed me a ticket and explained my options. I didn’t hear a word he said because I couldn’t stop looking at his unibrow and thinking that in his mind, his holster and gun trumped his lone brow and justified his arrogance.
I took my ticket and thanked him—why, I’ll never know—and pulled back out into traffic. I felt a little defeated, until I took a big swig of my bubble tea. Those tapioca pearls make everything better. I wondered if there really was a silver lining to every situation. But what was good about this?
Because it’s all fun and games until someone goes 49 in a 35? And he saved me from my own craziness?
Because I finally got to show off my new license pic?
Because I saved someone else from getting a ticket? Like someone who recycles?
Then it hit me. Could this ticket ever lead to me doing a little time? Like, if I just never paid it or registered for Defensive Driving? Oh snap, y’all. Suddenly my half-empty bubble tea looked beautifully half full.
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