M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, October 06, 2010  


I got a traffic ticket on the last week-plus, multistate road trip we went on, back in 1999, so I was reasonably certain I was going to get one this summer. We'd be going through eleven states and countless counties, and I could just see myself getting pulled over in Iowa trying to make it from any one point to another in under an hour, or running smack-dab into a speed trap somewhere in the winding roads of the Ozarks, or getting arrested for no reason in My Cousin Vinnie country, or finally falling victim to the dreaded Beloit-Hudson corridor in Wisconsin, a state where speeding revenue is outstripped only by that from cheese and Packers crap.

But we made it through unscathed. 2,500 miles, and I returned home with an unblemished driving record. Well, no new blemishes, at least (I wrote about the old ones back when there was still such a thing as Hissyfit.com). There was one close call, in Memphis. We were getting off the freeway to head back to Graceland, because the digital camera had capriciously refused to save the photos of M. Edium and me outside the gates and we go back to get some new ones. At the bottom of the exit was a traffic light, which turned yellow when I was still three seconds away from it. Which wouldn't have been an issue had it been a three-second yellow, but since it turned out to be a one-second yellow, the light turned red when it was too late for me to stop and I blew right through it. I was sure the police officer waiting on the cross street for that very light was going to bust me, but his flashers never even flickered. Maybe Graceland gets its name from a magical field of traffic clemency that somehow surrounds it. Whatever the case, I'd gotten home without a single violation in the equivalent of several years of Minneapolis driving, which I thought should count for something. I'm still waiting for my medal, though.

So we were back in town all of a week and a half when one night the three of us were driving home from Trash's dad's house in Eden Prairie. Coming around a curve on the freeway, I spotted a figure with a radar gun standing on the overpass we were about to go under. Even though I was staying even with traffic, I tapped the brakes anyway, but it was too late; traffic was getting pulled over. When the flashers went on behind me, I had to drive another quarter mile before I could find an available patch of shoulder to park on. It was like being back at the U of M.

M. Edium was so scared at first that he talked about it for the rest of the ride home, and most of the rest of the month. Me, I was just annoyed. I know I wasn't going at the speed the officer said they clocked me at, and there was no way the officer who'd pulled me over was the same one who'd been operating the radar gun. For all I know, the latter had it set to kilometers.

So I'm going to dispute the ticket. Years ago -- many, many years ago, when I had that string of (mostly) unfair moving violations, I learned that you should always fight a ticket, even if you're guilty, which I'm not -- at least not as guilty as they said I was. Otherwise, if you get another that's even more unfair, you've got no recourse to fight it because you've got a record.

Which was fair, back in the day, but I've been a much more careful driver in my thirties (and in my forty) than I was in my twenties. Especially when M. Edium was born. When I first started going everywhere with a tiny human in back, I actually toyed with getting one of those "Baby On Board" signs -- not because I obnoxiously wanted people to be more careful around me, but because I wanted them to understand why I was driving so lamely. If there had been signs that read "Baby On Board, Which Is Why I'm Driving Like A Half-Blind Grandmother From The Seventeenth Century," I totally would have bought one.

That's why this ticket rankles. When I go in for my appointment, I'm going to argue that I haven't had a ticket in either nine or ten years -- see, it's been so long I don't even remember -- and they should just wipe this one off the record in recognition of my decade-or-so of exemplary (as far as they know) driving.

I'll even be willing to forgo the medal.

posted by M. Giant 7:14 AM 1 comments


One time my dad was on a work trip and got pulled over in a different state. When my mom called to ask them where to send the payment, they said they were glad she called, they couldnt read the officer's handwriting and were unable to tell who the ticket had been made out to.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 8, 2010 at 3:57 PM  

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