Four moving violations in almost as many months…
One court date scheduled for January.
And a partridge in a pear tree?
You’d think I would have learned my lesson. You’d think I would have slowed down. Alas, the rules of the road seem more like a guideline than a rule book, and police officers seem to pick and choose who they pull over for which reasons.
It was mid December. I was in Peoria after being offered a job with JC Penney, selling window treatments, and I had just signed the lease on an apartment. As I was driving back to my hotel from my soon-to-be-new-home, I was jammin’ out to the radio and following the car in front of me. (Not that I knew him or anything, just that my car was behind his) I was a little surprised at how fast he was going, but I was almost keeping pace with him. I figured no big thing. If he’s speeding, I should be alright.
I’m not entirely sure how fast I was going, but it was fast enough to draw the attention of those dreaded blue and red lights. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God.
I started crying. Just bawling my eyes out and thinking.
What do I do? I might lose my license after this. I can’t lose my license. Maybe the officer will have pity on me if I’m crying. I can’t lose my license. I need it for this job. Oh God, I just signed a lease. I wrote a big fancy check for a deposit. Oh God.
The police officer interrupted my thoughts by knocking on the window.
“Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”
Through sobs, I managed to verbalize, “I sniff was speeding sniff”
“Yes, can I see your license and proof of insurance?”
I handed him the ticket I was driving on and proof of insurance, and let out a wailing sob.
“Stop crying! What is wrong with you?” No joke, he actually said this to me.
I said through my obnoxious crying, “I’m already on supervision, officer. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just accepted a job down here.”
He looked at me, angrily, and said, “And yet you continue to speed…”
All I could think about was how mean he seemed.
“I didn’t even realize that I was speeding, sir. I was keeping pace with the car in front of me.”
“Do you have a speedometer?”
“Does it work?”
“Well, then learn to read it.”
With that I let out another wail. The officer walked away to look up my info and write me my fifth ticket in 5 months.
He returned and said to me, “I’m giving you a ticket. Stop crying. You had a speeding violation AND an accident in the last few months. You need to slow down. When you see the speed limit sign, you drive 10 miles under whatever it says, do you understand me?”
“Yes, sniff officer.”
“Have a good day, ma’am.”
The bastard walked away and drove off. I sat in my car for almost an hour. In that time, I saw the evil police man pull over two other people. Jerk.
As I was sitting in my car, I needed to make a few phone calls. First, I called the woman who I had just signed the lease with. I told her not to cash my check and to hold my lease.
Then, I called my attorney and asked for her opinion on the likelihood of me losing my license. After some expected exasperation, she said it was a definite possibility, but she would try to help me as best she could.
I made the decision to call the job that I had accepted and tell them that a family emergency had come up, and I would not be able to take the position. I called my once-future landlord to tell her I would not be moving in, and cried a little bit more.
When I got home, I told my family, friends, bar patrons, and anyone else who asked that the job had fallen through. The woman who I was to be replacing had passed away (this was true), and I told the world that they needed someone to start immediately, which I could not do (obviously, not true). The world believed me. The world felt sorry for me. Not a damn soul (sans my attorney and the evil police officer) knew about this fifth ticket.
As it turns out, I had a really good attorney. She moved my court dates so that the two accidents would be on the same day at the same place. She handled everything. I had to take a hit for the final speeding ticket in Peoria (no supervision, nada), but it was the only hit I took on my record. I managed to keep my license, because the first accident ticket was “not guilty” and I was allowed to receive supervision a third time for the second accident (the guy in car number one showed up to vouch for my guilt–apparently he was claiming medical injury).
Five moving violations.
Two accidents on record.
Two tickets on record.
One license still in tact.
And I never did move to Peoria. Which turned out to be the best blessing in disguise.