Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting tickets

We've all gotten them, haven't we? Come on now, admit it! Well, except for Steven, who doesn't even have a driver's license, much less drive.

What was your very first ticket? Mine was for speeding - in a school zone, no less. The background for this story is that I was late going over to my daughter's school to pick her up for her driving test. Is that incredibly funny, or what?!?

Anyhoo, I was so intent on getting over there that I didn't even notice the school zone warning signs until I was pulled over. Talk about embarrassing. The policeman laughed all the while he was writing this jui$y little ticket. My daughter laughed. Everyone laughed but me. I didn't see the humor until many years later. Now, of course, I think it's hilarious!

Earlier today, I drove out to Hobby Airport to pick up two of my long-timey regular customers. All the while we were driving towards our destination, she pointed out a policeman whenever she saw one. Why? Normally - I say normally - I don't speed, but SHE does! She couldn't tell me the actual number of speeding tickets she's received over the years, but her husband groaned when I asked.

Once I got a ticket in the mail. I had been detected speeding on an interstate by an "eye in the sky" ... that's CB language for a helicopter with radar. It had gone undetected by us CB-ers on the road that day.

Another ticket that I received in the mail was for running a red light. I NEVER run red lights. Never, never, never! When I received it, I was furious, and went charging out to my daughter's house to see if she could pull up the incident on her computer.

She could and did, and there my car and I were, breezily and uncaringly making our merry way through the intersection well after the light had turned red. Was I speeding? No. I was just cruising along in the middle lane. Was I polishing my nails? No. I never polish my nails. Was I paying attention? What a stupid question. I paid the ticket. Guilty as charged. Ye Gods!

In a post Steve published a few months back, he talks about his list of top ten terrible drivers. Among those are red light runners. Well, I didn't run, but I sure did walk! :(

The city of Houston began installing red light cameras all over the area a few years back, and I'm ashamed to admit that I did the dirty deed. And blithely so, I might add!

One time, while driving a taxicab, I was cruising up 59 towards town when I noticed this white car right on my bumper. (That one made Steve's list, too.) I mean, he was right ON my bumper! I switched lanes with no signal* and no room for him to get behind me - or so I thought, but somehow he did. I switched again, as quickly as I could, and there he was again!

I thought to myself, "This has got to be some young fool trying to play games with a taxi driver," and veered at the last second into the far right lane to exit the freeway. I intended to make a U-turn and stop at the gas station I knew was there and let this maniac cruise on up the road and bother someone else.

Well, this white car was right behind me ... on my tail the whole way, only now his lights were flashing. Boy, did that get my dander up! I pulled over, grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and was ready to take down his name and badge number for driving so recklessly on the freeway.

He got out of his unmarked cruiser, ticket materials in hand and was all ready - with a smirk on his face - to give this cab driver a ticket. I charged over there and said, "Sir, I want that ticket, whatever you think you're going to write it for, and then I want to stand next to you in the courtroom while I tell the judge how you endangered my life on the freeway."

I was probably danged near apoplectic, I was so mad. He asked, "Didn't you see my license?" "How the devil could I see your license? You were right on my bumper!"

He said, "Well, you changed lanes several times without signaling." I said, "Sir, I was trying to get rid of that maniac behind me who kept riding my bumper."

We had a few more exchanges like that and he left. No ticket. Too bad. I was really looking forward to giving him the old 'what for' in the courtroom.

*Years ago, before I began driving a taxicab, I was one of the guilty parties who never used turn signals. Nor did I wear my seat belt. Can you imagine such dumb things? Looking back on those years, it's really hard now for me to believe that I acted so, but I know I did. It's a wonder I'm still alive.


steven said...

hi goldenrod - i've never had a ticket for speeding or any other automobile infraction. true very true. i remember in my second year of teaching setting up a deal with the police officer who served my school as a community liaison to speedtrap me with his radar gun on my bike. he forgot and i didn't bother asking again. recently i was travelling at 57 kp/h in a 50 kp/h zone and caught myself thinking "this would be cool! what if i came 'round this corner and there was a trap there!" but of course there wasn't and i'm not even sure i'm big enough to show up on the "gun". i do know cyclists who have received tickets of all sorts and my intention - if i ever get a speeding ticket - is to frame it and put it up right here at golden fish world headquarters!!! have a lovely texan day goldenrod. steven

The Bug said...

My first ticket was in 1990 in NC. I was driving on I-40 from Raleigh to Hickory NC to do some wedding planning with my mother. I had Amy Grant blasting on the CD player & was singing at the top of my lungs. I didn't notice the speed limit change from 65 to 55 MPH - but it really didn't matter because I was going 83! I just did not even notice my speedometer at all. I was lucky that the cop didn't take my license! I paid the ticket without a qualm. But I still speed most days - just not by QUITE such a large number!

Goldenrod said...

You know, Steven, I've often wondered if bicyclists such as you ever get speeding or reckless driving tickets. I'm with you. If you ever get one, frame that sucker! :)

LUVED your story, Bug. We've all got some, don't we? :)

Barry said...

Well, gee, for me that would be a very long time ago. I got my first car when I was 16. An old imported Austin crumpled on one side where it had been rolled over. I brought it for $75 and drove it for three years until I finally blew the rods in the engine. Noticing the crumpled side of the car, the police pulled me over several times during those three years, but only once for speeding. Of course, these days it would never be allowed on the road. But it got me to highschool and back everyday and on the "good side" of the car, it look very impressive.

Goldenrod said...

Those were the "good old days", weren't they, Barry? When, if your car wasn't actually on fire and it had four tires, it was allowed on the road. I can almost picture this old clunker you were driving. Priceless!

Craig Peihopa said...

Well sorry to say I am not unfettered by my share of fines. The details of which i shall refrain from sharing, but here there are varying degrees for speeding here, over 15km/h over the limit, over 30km/h and over 40km hour. We each have 12 points given per license per set of three years, and any infringement attracts a point deduction AND a dollar amount fine which can range into an amount beyond $1000.

I spend so much time on the road, and it always surprises me that a weekend warrior (people who get the bus or train to work) and who drives mainly on weekends get the same amount of points I do for 7 day a week travel. Oh well. By reasons of financial equity I have become much more speed limit conscious and have thus far been pleasantly surprised. Though I do harbour a belief that the amount of speed cameras here in OZ has as much to do with revenue raising as it does with road safety. In Australia for every public holiday there is a blitz declared where for a period of time before and until midnight of the public holiday, and infringement attracts double demerits, so an incident which may normally take 3 points and a fine can in those times attract a 6 point infringement. If for example a passenger is not wearing a seat belt you can lose points on YOUR license if they are caught not wearing there's. I think it is 2 points for each. So here you can lose your license on a public holiday with passengers not wearing seatbelts in one go! Oh well that is the low down from OZ. Great post as always Goldenrod.

Tammy said...

The only speeding ticket I've ever got was in a school zone, too! roflol!

I tend to forget (having the kids in the car with me) that other kids are in school at the brick-and-mortars. Those school zones...I really deserve way more than one speeding ticket. shh...

I got a ticket 2 years ago when the girls & I went on a school vacation. There is a 45 mile stretch of desert in Nevada that you have to have your headlights on during the day. I didn't see the sign and got a ticket. Wasn't speeding, though!

Surprisingly, Emily has been driving for over 2 years now (was 2 years in June) and she hasn't gotten ONE ticket yet.

Goldenrod said...

Texas doesn't have a point system, Craig, altho I lived in one state that did - forget which one it was. Probably Ohio or Indiana. Houston has a "no tolerance" policy around holidays similar to yours, but not quite so bad. A driver will get ticketed for passengers not wearing a seat belt here if the passengers are under driving age. If the passengers are old enough to drive, THEY will be ticketed. Seems much fairer to me than what you're subjected to.

Couldn't agree more on the money-raising angle. There's a tiny town off of 59 - maybe 100 miles north of Houston - that for years has had as its main money-raising activity giving out speeding tickets on the freeway. Notorious for it! All of us "natives" know the two spots where the smokies like to lurk and so can easily avoid the traps, but boy do they reel the out-of-towners in!!

Polimom said...

Ha -- fun stories! I've been pulled over a number of times for speeding... but only been ticketed once that I remember.

I, too, got pulled over in a school zone once. Was bumper-to-bumper, and we were all going about 2 mph, but the officer decided he didn't like the look of me (or my car) or something, and waved me out of the barely-moving snake of cars.

I did something similar to your bumper-riding incident, Goldenrod -- told him I looked forward to seeing him in court to hear why my 2 mph was more dangerous than all those cars with whom I was crawling. (No ticket for me.)

My most fun speeding ticket story, though, stems from one of my first jobs. I was delivering "singing telegrams", and I'd drive all over town, from house to party to house, singing to the victim / lucky recipient. I generally had a monkey with me -- a mechanical little critter who had cymbals that clapped a beat, accompanying my outrageous lyrics.

I was late one evening, and had to get from one extreme side of town to another... and so of course I was speeding up the road -- probably 50+ in a 35-zone. The officer caught me, I was definitely guilty. But when he came to write the ticket, he saw my very strange outfit and asked where I was going in such a hurry.

I said that I and my monkey were late to sing, and demonstrated for him. He laughed so hard I thought he'd hurt himself, and let me go without issuing the ticket. (I don't think he could see through the tears in his eyes...)


Goldenrod said...

Interesting about that 45-mile stretch of road in Nevada, Tammy. I wonder why that is? The only reason I can imagine for such a requirement is that dust storms might occur in an instant. Nowadays - and for some years now, I think - all newly-manufactured vehicles' headlights are automatically on when in drive, so that infraction could never occur.

Now, see? Children DO learn from their elders! Emily has learned what not to do from her mother!! :) I think it's called, "Teaching by bad example."

Goldenrod said...

Great story, Polimom! I can almost visualize the scenario.

Tammy said...

Oh Polimom, those are great stories!

Goldenrod, I have wondered why we needed lights on for such a small desserted stretch of land. Perhaps it is because of dust storms...

Goldenrod, on Emily...yes on the "teaching by bad example." Except that she's learned from me how to speed and not get caught. lol! ;)