November 12, 2009
A few years ago, when those “Red Light Cameras” had just started to go up, I found myself thinking “Hey! What a wonderful idea! Our poor police are so busy trying to protect and serve, and they sure could use some help out there on those mean streets of ours. Besides, those douchebags who are too busy yapping on their phones, yelling at their kids, putting on their make-up or eating a damn hamburger to notice when a light turns red, are just asking for trouble! I hope they get what they deserve!” This was a real breakthrough for me. A sure sign that I had grown up to be a mature and outstanding citizen. I thought that any day, a police officer would show up at my door to give me an honorary badge, because perhaps he’s heard through the grapevine just how much I care about road safety. That all ended last week when my mailman delivered me a very special letter from the Houston Police Department.
When I saw the return address, what immediately ran through my mind was “Finally! It’s my badge!” I mean, I was a little bit pissed that it wasn’t being hand delivered, but I know that they are busy down at the precinct setting up prostitution stings and doing interrogations and stuff, and I decided to cut them some slack. So I settled in to open the mail, and I told Ethan, who at the moment wants to be a police officer when he grows up, that if he follows my lead and behaves as wonderfully and good-citizeny as his mommy does, someday his dream may come true. After choosing the spot on my shirt where I would pin my shiny new badge, I tore open my envelope and the first thing I saw was a picture of the back of my car. “Wow!” I thought, “The paparazzi are already stalking me.” I’ve seen enough Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues to know that sometimes cops are “dirty”, which instead of meaning they need a bath or like kinky things, means they don’t follow the police man rules. I figured that someone desperate for my photo must have paid off this dirty cop, and I was being followed. This seemed like it may eventually become annoying, but for now I figured I could ride it out, at least until I get the urge to shave my head or beat someone up with his own camera.
The second thing I noticed, after the photo of my car, is that there was nothing else in the envelope. No badge, no certificate of good driving citizenship, nothing. Well, now I was starting to get a little ticked off. As I started to read all the annoying words that surrounded the picture of my car, I realized something. Red Light Cameras suck! Those lazy, donut-eating cops! Just who do they think they are? If you can’t find the time in your busy schedule to actually hide behind a bush with your speed gun or whatever, you don’t deserve to be giving out tickets! I mean, where were you when that stupid douchebag of a dad was flying down Highway 6 with 2 toddlers in the front seat of his convertible not even buckled in? And where are you every morning when I am taking Ethan to school and some moron is texting and cutting everyone off? Geesh!
Finally I took a deep breath because that is what Dr. Oz told me to do when I get stressed, and I began to settle down and clear my head. I read the date on the “violation” and then, like my Karaoke favorite, Meatloaf sang, “It’s all coming back, it’s all coming back to me now. There were moments of gold and there were flashes of light. There were things I’d never do again but then they’d always seemed right. There were night’s of endless pleasure, it was more than your laws allow! Baby, baby!” Ok, maybe there were no night’s of endless pleasure involved, but the rest rings true. Anyway, it is all basically my mother-in-law’s fault. She was in the car with me, and when someone is in the car with me, I may possibly have a habit of talking just a tad too much, therefore missing the existence of such things as lights and signs and stuff like that.
What really makes me mad about this whole thing, is that these cameras are so sneaky. I would much rather have an actual cop pull me over, because 9 times out of 10 I’m gonna get out of whatever trouble I’ve just gotten myself into. Exhibit A: I am 16 years old and my friend and I have just been pulled over for “suspicious driving”, which in layman’s terms means drinking too many Little Kings and thinking you can drive home, when in all actuality you are only 16 and can barely drive home after drinking a Dr. Pepper. The solution to this predicament? Turn on the water works. A few tears and nose blows later, we are back on our merry way. Exhibit B (there are many more exhibits between these two, but I am editing here): I get pulled over for going 15 mph over the speed limit in my hometown, just a year or so ago. I pretend I have never been there before and am visiting people, therefore I have no idea about the speed limits and I saw no sign. After getting a few laughs, a little shameless flirting, and relief that I was wearing a scoop neck top and a really good bra, I received not a ticket, but an invitation to go to a party at the river later that evening, and I was on my merry way.
What does all this mean? It means I miss the fuzz! I miss an actual person being in charge of my moving violations. At least with a person I have a shot at getting myself off the hook (although as I get older, that shot is dwindling). With a stupid camera I am just screwed! They even have the video “evidence” of my alleged “red light violation” on their website. I have watched it repeatedly, and I think I’ve found my way out. The video shows my car, but not who is driving it! The way I see it, I have 3 options: #1) throw my mother-in-law under the bus and say that she was driving, #2) claim that Ethan, during a Halloween candy-induced sugar high, took my car out for a joy ride, or #3) claim that my car is “KIT’s” unstable and jealous sister, and I have no control over her actions. Or I guess I could just go to my court date and try to apologize through the magic of Meatloaf and Karaoke. “If you forgive me all this, If I forgive you all that, We forgive and forget , And it’s all coming back to me now…”
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