Cruel, Cruel Summer

8 10 2008

That’s what happened to be playing on the radio tonight when I got a speeding ticket.

But let me back up. My friend Mandy asked if I still play the bassoon, as in currently. I’m happy to say that I do. I hadn’t played for several years, but found a little community orchestra that I joined a couple of months ago. It’s been a lot of fun, despite the fact that I haven’t played in a group this bad since, oh, probably junior high. (That could be because a lot of the musicians are in junior high. They get extra credit.) The people are wonderful, and I’m at a time right now where it’s nice to be good at something; I show up, I play, and people think I’m really good. It’s nice to be successful without having to think about it too hard.

So–Tuesday night is orchestra. Rehearsal went well, and I hopped into the van to head home. This orchestra is in a different city than I live, so I don’t really know all the ins and outs of, you know, the speed zones. I was completely shocked when a policeman popped on his lights after I passed him. I had been happily singing along with Bananarama, but I stopped as I pulled over and said, “Please drive by. Please just have gotten a call.”

He stopped right behind me. Left his lights on and flashing the entire time. Shined a huge spotlight into my mirror so I had to sort of duck out of the way to avoid blindness. I groped around my big purse–I almost left without it tonight because I couldn’t find it–and slid my license out. Opened the glove box and groaned. The amount of stuff that gets shoved in there is unhealthy. I found my registration and insurance right away, surprisingly.

The policeman walked up to my window. I handed him my documents. I couldn’t even say, “Is there a problem, officer?” I am just no good at schmoozing people. After I handed him everything, he started talking on his radio and I noticed I had given him an expired proof of insurance card–wait a minute! He just said my license plate number over his radio. Maybe they do that with all cars they pull over, but I just didn’t know. I haven’t been pulled over in years.

I’m frantically sifting through the glove box detrius at this point, while dispatch is apparently radioing the okay that my van isn’t stolen or something. (C’mon. It’s a Kia. Who would want it?) Apparently, the cargo carrier we have attached to the back (affectionately nicknamed “The Bubble”) is blocking our license plate. A bit of a red flag and all that. Also slightly illegal. He explained this to me. With a little bit of heat.

So–I sheepishly told the officer, “I’m sorry. I can’t find my current insurance.” I did, however, find about six expired cards–from clear back in 2005. Time to do a little spring cleaning in the jockey box, hmm?

“No insurance,” he said, rather ominously, hunched over my information with his flashlight propped against one shoulder. He walked back to his car, and I continued to look. I figured the worst that could happen is it would still not be there. Luckily (or providentially, if you’d rather, since I’d been shooting up prayers like crazy because even though I’m often unorganized I distinctly remembered stowing the current proof of insurance in there), I found it mixed in with some other papers. I just kind of stuck it out the window and turned my face into that blinding spotlight to mouth (with effective pointing gestures) “I found it.”

Saved from that citation, at least. And he didn’t even cite me for obstruction of license plate (although he sternly told me the plate had to be attached to the back of the bubble whenever we travelled with it).

Unfortunately, I did get a speeding ticket.

$154 dollars for going 38 mph in a 25 mph zone.


My first (and only other) speeding ticket was a similar circumstance–driving home after a bassoon lesson right after we’d moved to Boise. (Bassooning gives me a lead foot. What can I say?) Night time. Unfamiliar roads. Ready to be home with my family. $120 for going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Cruel, cruel policemen.

I think I would like to someday get a speeding ticket for actually going fast. Then I might at least get a little bang for my buck.