Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Ticket

I don't know if my first cavity at 17 or my first traffic ticket last week was more painful. I held out on both for a very long time. Tuesday morning, 7:26. Coming back from the gym. School zone lights are on. No kids out yet. I slow from 35 to 25. Is that a cop car parked on that side street? Shoot. I'm going slower than I was, but faster than 20. The car is dark. I don't think there's anyone in it. Or if there is, maybe the officer tolerates going 25 in a school zone when the kids aren't out yet, because surely they would be following me by now. Thank goodness. Wait. The car is pulling out. The car has its lights on. Maybe they got an important call and need to head this direction. Let me get out of the way. I pull over. Please don't pull up behind me. He pulls up behind me. No wait, she pulls up behind me and she's getting out of the car. As my window is coming down, I am thankful to have a little more life experience behind me than the first time I was pulled over at 16 and it made me cry.
"Apparently you didn't see the school zone back there."
"No, I did, and I know better."
"Why were you speeding?"
"I know better."
"You wanna knock out someone's kid?"
"No." Do I tell her I'm a school teacher? No, that will just give her more material.
"Can I see your license and insurance?"
I don't take my purse with me to the gym at 6:30. Well, I do now. No license. I hand over my insurance information. She goes back to her car. Ten minutes later I am handed my first traffic ticket and told to appear in justice court within 14 days. I try not to let words on the ticket like, "defendant," "without admitting guilt," and " IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR THE COURT MAY ISSUE A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST" make me feel like a criminal.
"This will teach me," I tell the officer.
She actually smiles, I think having determined I'm not quite the punk she thought she was going to encounter, and says, "Have a safe day."
I would like to thank the hearing officer who made the experience of going to justice court bearable. When he said, "Ouch, school zone, huh?" and I told him I was a teacher, he asked where. When I told him I was at home now with my baby, he asked to see a picture and said the things moms like to hear about their babies. He then proceeded to give me my options. Paying $125 to attend traffic school was the best one. Yes, that'll teach me. The good news? I still get to be Grace's mom.


Lindsey said...

I got my first ticket last year! I was mortified!

Melissa said...

Oh sweetie! I hate learning lessons the hard way!
Love, Mom