Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Traffic Court; or How I Learned to Stop Speeding and to Pay More Attention to My Surroundings

I've learned what the ultimate punishment for speeding on an interstate highway is.

Some might tell you that it's the fines. After all, what's worse than having to pay out hard-earned cash?

Others might tell you that it's the points on your license. Inevitably, license points lead to insurance premiums, which means that you have to shell out more money and, after all, what's worse than having to pay out hard-earned cash?

Some might skip the monetary route altogether and play on one's sense of decency. "One should never go over the speed limit because, for one, it's against the law and, for two, it's dangerous."

Well I have a new one for you; the ultimate punishment for speeding on an interstate highway is showing up for traffic court at 9:00 AM (the appointed time on the ticket) and having to waste 2.5 hours before realizing that the friendly people at the courthouse don't even deal with speeding tickets until 11:30 AM.

Luckily for me, I got to witness a never-ending parade of (ahem) "interesting people" in the process, including a man who had the most exquisite mullet I have ever seen in my life, and his wife, who adored the mullet so much that she frequently ran her fingers through it as we all sat there and waited for what seemed an eternity.

Then, finally, at the above-mentioned time, a lady came out and began to rattle off the names of the traffic offenders. Each offender went up, one by one, until, at last, my name was called. "I can reduce your speed to 74 in a 65", she said with great conviction, "and you can pay a fine, or....oh wait, you were going too fast to take the class and get the points taken off of your license; yep, your only choice is to pay the fine or to plead 'not guilty' and show up in court".

I took the fine.

I was so glad to leave that place that I almost forgot that I had no cash on me to pay the parking deck fee. Luckily, there was an ATM nearby, so I pulled out $20 (the smallest denomination available), and proceeded to exit the parking deck. Little did I know that the machine that allowed me to pay my fee and exit would spit all of my change out in quarters. The machine began spitting out $15 worth of quarters, and the bar raised up to allow me to exit the parking deck. However, before the machine had finished spitting out all of the quarters, the bar lowered again, and I was left with $15 worth of quarters, and no way out of the parking deck.

What else could I do? I put $5.00 worth of quarters into the machine, pulled out of the parking deck, and headed out onto the highway with $10.00 worth of quarters rattling around in my console and a ticket for $125 in my pocket.

So how much did it cost me to drive 83 mph in a 65 mph zone?

A. A $125 fine
B. A $5 parking fee
C. An additional $5 parking fee
D. 2.5 hours of lost time, in which I could have been earning money at work

All in all, though, I think I got out of this ordeal on top. After all, I did get to see the most exquisite mullet I'd ever seen...and the woman that loved it. That, my friends, is worth every remaining quarter in my console.

1 comment:

ClassiclyAmber said...

So are you saying that you finally learned to stop speeding and pay more attention to your surroundings?