While you were out stocking up on libations and recreational drugs for your New Year's Eve party, I was in traffic court.
On my way home from work several
weeks ago, one of the sharp-eyed, shiny-booted officers who cruise the
three mile stretch of road from the main highway to the Harley store in my town,
noticed that my Jeep's license plate sticker was past its freshness date. I
knew I was in trouble when the front end of his cruiser had its nose so
far up my rear that it made my throat tickle. And those weren't
Christmas lights blinking on the roof of his vehicle.
That's twice I thought I had until December, only to find out that I was supposed to matriculate in September.
"Yep, you got me," was the extent of my resistance. Then he parlayed
that one little traffic citation into a two-fer when I couldn't find my
insurance card in the glove compartment. Even better, I called my
insurance company while he wrote me up only to discover that I was a
month past due. When the shit hits the fan, it gets all over the walls.
Plus he also had possession of my driver's license. Somewhere I had a
Triple A card so I wouldn't have to relinquish it for the next five
Somewhere. But just where, exactly, I didn't know. I still haven't
found it. The officer did say that for the low low price of $200 I
could get my driver's license back, if I brought the cash to the police
station before midnight. He actually seemed surprised to see me when I
showed up after dinner to retrieve it. Duh. I need it to prove I am who I am.
I also pointed out that it's hard to get through airport security using
a traffic ticket as my i.d. Flashing my passport just confuses people. "What's this for?"
This morning at 9:00 AM, many weeks later, I showed up in room 101 of
one of the suburban locations that process people who forget that along
with their driver's licenses, village stickers and auto emissions
stickers, they also have to show proof of insurance and display a
current license plate sticker. I guess three out of five ain't good
enough for these nit pickers.
I might have forgotten some of my stickers, but I do have an oval black
and white OBX sticker on my back window. HAH!!! Anythng with "X" makes
it look like I have a membership in some kind of secretsociety,
I do. I'm one of a select group of people who have actuallyspent money
on that sticker, which, for all its exclusivity, provides me with
absolutely no immunity in traffic stop situations.
OBX, for the uninitiated, stands for the Outer Banks of North Carolina,
a long, very skinny strip of land that, when it isn't being hit by
hurricanes, is a rather pleasant vacation spot.
I learned two things in traffic court today. First, I would get my $200
back. But, only after they took out $50 for my fine, $30 for court
fees, and, get this, another $20 [or ten per cent of the $200] for the
effort to send me my money back. That includes the stamp to mail it.
They can't just give me change. Now I really have to find that Triple A
Secondly, I noticed that there were about fifty people in court. That's
not very earthshaking. What surprised me was that there were only four
women with tickets. Either that or the rest of them just sent in their
There was also only one female police officer, out of fourteen cops in court. At least I think she was female.
What surprised me even more was the ethnicity of the people there to
see the judge. Most of the names they called started with Vladimir,
Boris, Alexei, and Dmitri.
Apparently most of the traffic laws in
my neighborhood are broken by Russian men. I've noticed that for some
time, most of the taxi cabs in my town are also driven by Russians. In fact, the
woman who does my nails is also Russian. Coincidence? I think not.