I’ve had my 1:30 appointment for today scheduled in my iPhone for the last two months. I took off work, managed through a sleepless night (despite a heavy glass of Cabernet) and did a good job of “presenting” myself appropriately; cute, but sorta conservative cropped pants from Anthro, light makeup, hair down and tamed. Chipped polish removed. Back when that jerk of a cop pulled me over in front of my kids’ school for being a “good mom” (at least, that’s what kept playing in my head to keep me from bawling), I thought, “I’m going to see him in court, dammit!” Well, today was that day.
I’m not quite sure what came over me when I made the decision to actually fight this traffic ticket. I’m guessing rage against the machine, mostly. The fact that I (i.e., my ego) strongly felt I shouldn’t be penalized for trying to get my son to his tutor on time. I mean, seriously.
Back in May when I went to the courthouse to pay my fine, I found out that my insurance was going to go up since I wasn’t eligible for traffic school. The violation was 16 months from my last traffic school jaunt and it needs to be at least 18 months.
All it took was the smug attitude of the clerk behind the counter to push my inner Rocky over the edge and demand to fight this…in court…in front of a judge. As a sweet, mostly quiet and almost 40-year-old girl from the Valley, the worst offense I’ve ever encountered was being sent to the principal’s office in 3rd grade for calling Scott Newman a “bitch” at recess. THIS, to me, was intimidating. But I was up for the challenge, I thought. I’m almost 40, after all. I need to live a little. Fight the good fight. And fail, if I’m meant to fail.
Which is what happened.
Of course the cop shows up. Which is totally what you don’t want to happen. Not only did he show up, he dressed for the occasion in a full on bulletproof vest. Maybe he knew I had secret dreams of shooting him down. Come to find out, this dickwad had three OTHER people in the courtroom hoping to fight their citations from him.
I’m so glad my mom came along to provide moral support because at least she was able to bear witness to the ridiculousness of my plea. As I was waiting in the courtroom to be called, I drew a diagram of what actually occurred.
On a Wednesday afternoon, I drove to my kids’ school to pick up my son and bring him to his tutoring session a mile away. The school is situated in very non-traffic friendly area, stuck between one-way roads and a cul-de-sac. There is a pick up lane and another lane that you can actually drive down, park in a lot, walk the crosswalk, grab your kid, get back in your car and go on with your day. That lane was blocked by moms who wanted to stay in the lazy ass pick up lane, no matter if it took 30 minutes. All I wanted to do was to get in that empty lane to park and use the legs I was given. So…I decided to pull out from the line up and drive around the lazy cars. Easy enough. That’s when the cop saw me, turned on his siren extra loud and followed me all the way to the parking lot I was trying to reach. He then proceeded to cite me for driving on the wrong side of the street and chastise me by saying how my actions don’t look good in front of the other parents. “You should allow for more time in the future,” he chided.
Five seconds later, I receive a text from a mom friend: “Was that you that the cop was following??!”
“Jealous?” I write back.
Back to the courtroom…I’m holding onto my lovely diagram and internally rehearsing my two plan options:
1) Ask for traffic school (I’m only out of boundaries by two months!)
2) Play off the fact that the lane I wanted to get in was blocked by lazy ass moms (I was planning on using a nicer adjective, of course)
I’m feeling really confident until I see my jerky cop grab a dry erase marker and make his way to a standing white board. He begins to draw a diagram. A diagram that looks remarkably like the one I just drew. Even the way I drew the cars are the same. I’m starting to sweat now. I look over to my mom and her jaw drops and she starts laughing and shaking her head. I ask if this is real. Am I having a bad nightmare? Wake me?
The judge calls me to the front. The cop gives his spiel. I give mine. The judge likes the fact that we have “matching” diagrams. The judge then chuckles when I ask for traffic school: “It doesn’t work that way. You can be one day off and I still wouldn’t give you traffic school” The cop says I drove around four cars to get to the front of the line. I said I drove around one. I’ll play this game. The cop said it doesn’t matter if you drove around four or one, you’re out of bounds and you’re screwed. Well, he didn’t really say the screwed part either, but that’s what I felt like at the time.
I walked out laughing about the whole thing, really. I was proud of myself that I didn’t chicken out and stood up to the cop and judge even though I was doomed from the beginning. A little humble pie is always good for the soul. Not sure I would have been able to say that 20 years ago!