I got pulled over for the first time on my way home from work a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t speeding like a bat out of hell or anything. My car is 12 years old. It physically can’t go that fast.
I was going 35 in a 25, and I drove right into a speed trap.
In my defense, it was the eve of our honeymoon cruise, and I was desperately trying to get home.
I plead with the police officer. (I really wanted to cry, but I had just gotten a spray tan earlier that day, and I didn’t want to have drip lines…)
Luckily, I didn’t have my proof of insurance because I had taken it out a month prior to rent a car and never returned it to the glove compartment.
The cop let me go with a $10 ticket for lack of proof of insurance and a warning on the speed. (The speeding ticket would have been $198.00!! Does that BLOW your mind!!! I was speeding, not kidnapping, sheeeesh!)
But I’m not complaining.
When we returned from our cruise, I sat down to review the paperwork from the ticket.
I had two choices, I could either pay my $10 fine in Brandon or Downtown Tampa.
And this is where they get ya.
It’s not the dollar amount that’s payback for the crime…
It’s the fact that you might as well face rush hour traffic in New York City to pay it.
It took me two hours and 10 minutes to drive 15 miles at 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
Because apparently no one in this particular city, works.
They just drive up and down the street all day.
Half way through my commute, I had to pee so bad I considered going in the Chick-Fil-A cup rolling around in my floorboard.
That was probably my lowest moment.
Instead, I pulled into a hideous gas station – where the bathroom was separate from the store.
The kind where you have to go ask for the GIANT key to open the door. It’s usually tied to a brick, or a coat hanger or a loaf of bread.
The key that says to everyone pumping gas, “LOOK! I’M GOING TO THE BATHROOM!”
The stall was less than pristine. But I had already come to grips with the possibility of contracting some kind of venereal disease…
Given the number of skeezy gas-pumping men who saw me walk in with my brick-key, it’s a wonder I came out alive.
I jumped back in my car, furiously squirted sanitizer on every inch of exposed skin, and went on my way to the Clerk of Court’s office.
During my time in the waiting room, two men near me recognized each other.
“Hey brotha!” one man said to the other.
Side hug. Fist pump.
“Nice to see you on the other side.”
I casually watched them embrace. Smiling.
Inside I was thinking…
OH MY GOD THESE MEN WERE IN JAIL TOGETHER. I’M IN AN ENCLOSED CHAMBER WITH MURDERERS!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!
But I just sat there holding my paperwork. Trembling.
So you see, it’s not the ticket you should be afraid of….
It’s the traffic, and the gas station outhouses, and the convicts you may encounter along the way.
For those reasons, and those alone…take it slow out there.