Thursday, December 10, 2009
My First Ticket
This morning while running some errands, I noticed that four different people were pulled over and receiving tickets. Two cars on Rt. 287, one on Rt. 10 and one older lady in my neighborhood who looked like she was crying (she must have run the light on Main Street). I'm thinking this must be a yearly thing for the local and state troopers. They're cashing in on people rushing around for the holidays.
Last December, I got pulled over on my lunch break. I was heading out of our town Walmart after doing a little holiday shopping (toys for my nephew). Apparently I didn't fully stop at a stop sign. It really pissed me off, because I actually stop at that same stop sign multiple times per day since it's along the route to our home.
I begged the cop not to give me a ticket. I told him about my pristine Jersey driving record (not even an unpaid parking ticket!) and how I drive slowly and carefully, etc. I told him that I thought I did stop at the stop sign for what I considered a significant amount of time. He told me to calm down - I made sure not to act nasty, but took more of a confused and "mad at myself" approach.
He took my info back to his cop car and looked me up in his computer. My heart raced. I prayed in my mind to a god I rarely talk to, in hopes of being let off the hook. He returned and handed my license and reg back to me. I couldn't believe it. He was actually letting me go with a simple verbal warning. When does that ever happen? I watch that dumb show, Speeders on TruTV and it's rare that anyone gets off that easy. I thanked him profusely. "You've given me the greatest holiday gift I'll ever get this year," I exclaimed tearfully. I ended my award-winning performance with, "Have a very safe and happy holiday, Officer."
That incident and today's four unlucky drivers, brought back memories of my first ticket. Unlike New Jersey, Long Island towns do not have their own police departments, there are just Nassau County cops and Suffolk County cops. I'm not sure how it's done in upstate New York, but on LI, only wealthy towns or high crime towns got their own police department.
It was early spring of 1997. I wasn't feeling well and called out sick. I was also in a serious rut having been recently dumped by my college boyfriend of nearly four years. I was coming back from a local drug store having purchased over-the-counter crap to make me feel better and just wanted to get back to bed. I encountered two stop signs on a quiet section of Franklin Square near North High School. According to the cop who pulled me over, I slid through two stop signs. I informed him that I was home sick from work, picking up some meds and was unaware that I didn't fully stop.
I coulda told this clown that I had just peed my pants, he didn't give a crap. He was determined to make his quota and handed me my ticket. Long story short, I later went to court to fight it and paid like $80. I was relieved of the points on my license thing which was good. Yet, it was still such a crappy feeling. It felt like the county really just wanted my money.
I know they're just doing their jobs. It's just annoying, especially during the holidays when they know everyone's broke. I realize they need to bring in money to survive just like any other business does. But seriously, nobody likes being pulled over. It must be kinda difficult signing up for a job knowing how you'll become somewhat of a hated figure. Well, hated by everyone except little kids who consider cops "protectors", older folks who no longer drive or play loud music late at night and doughnut shop owners who are the cops BFFs.
Keep in mind, I vow never again to get pulled over at a stop sign again. I don't care if people beep at me for taking three full seconds at a stop sign. I will do what my driver ed teacher told me in 1989 and stop and count "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi" before budging.
Thanks for listening and remember, this is just my humble opinion. I have nothing against cops and am not like some major cop hater.