Saturday, January 26, 2013

When The Rubber Hits The Road

Good Morning! How is your day? Have you made any big plans? Oh, that sounds lovely!

Me? Well, thank-you for asking! I really can't think of anything I would rather be doing this morning than what's on my schedule!

I am joining other driving enthusiasts for a little seminar. I believe it is called "Driver's Improvement Class."  It was a little pricey, but hey, you get what you pay for!  Hmm..what should I wear? Probably nothing too racy...

I always appreciate being in an environment where I can meet new people. And, look! We'll already  have so much in common! I'm sure we will go around the room and share what it is that brings us all together today. And, maybe we will say little encouraging things to each other like "there probably shouldn't have been a stop sign in that location anyway"..."of course you were speeding; everyone drives too fast when THAT song comes on"..."one persons definition of reckless is just another's definition of skill!" We'll nod, understanding each other completely.

The important thing is: what our insurance company doesn't know, won't hurt us! And, that is why we will give up this beautiful Saturday morning to spend a cozy little 9 hours together in a little tiny basement room. (and DON"T be late..and bring your passport..I mean ID;)

I have a vague memory of Drivers Improvement School from 20 something years ago. When I first moved to Virginia from California I got several little speeding tickets in a row, embarrassing my new husband. It's a small town, and everyone knew him, and soon they knew me.

All I can say is that I was suffering from culture shock. The road on which I was driving daily was one big, long beautiful stretch. But, just because something feels like an autobahn, doesn't mean it IS an autobahn.

So, I found myself attending the class in the local high school. The main thing that stands out to me is, while on a break (apparently a smoke break) a young boy asked me if I wanted to smoke a joint. Smoke a joint? On a break from traffic school? With a police officer 30 feet away? And do I look like someone who would smoke a joint with you? Is it the California thing? I blame my hair. My problem hair, hair that looks like I just got off a motorcycle without a helmet. Pot smoke'n hippy hair. (Driving School is a trip:)

Geez, it's going to be a long day. I wonder if I can pack my Keurig? I would bring enough to share. (I have been told I have the gift of hospitality.) And, maybe a little basket of muffins? Or, does that look too Teacher's Pet-ish?

See ya in a few hours!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

On The Thug Life:

People..don't do the crime , if you can't do the time. Or, in my case, don't be such a lead foot if you would rather spend the 200 dollars for a speeding ticket on footwear.

Today was my court date. How embarrassing, but I HAD to go, it was a big one. I was hoping for a little mercy. Actually, I was thinking I would be in on one of those behind the scene deals. Just in and out. After all, I do have to be at work at 9:30 to open the store. I find a parking place right in front of the courthouse..three hour parking; plenty of time!

I try to decide what to take in. Not my phone I'm sure. Do I need ID? Because I'm really wanting to use this Passport again...

I set the metal detector off three times. Each time I remove something else. Here is a courthouse tip: Don't wear a belt..because then you get all fumbley taking it off because it feels a bit like undressing in front of complete strangers. I set if off again, and one of the policemen said the problem was my shoes. I admitted that I did indeed have a shoe problem..but, I'm pretty sure we were talking about two different things...

I ask if I have to take them off and go through again? No, he lets me go. first taste of freedom!   I decide to comment on the beautiful courthouse. And, it IS beautiful and brand new..but, mostly I just want him to know that this is my FIRST time here. This is not my normal stomping grounds;) Now that he and I are well  bonded (that's a little jail humor) I jokingly ask if there is a little Starbucks in a corner somewhere. He agrees that would be a great idea..but, alas, they didn't even warrant (more jail humor.:) a vending machine. Ugh, now the chit-chat is done..and I make my way up to the courtroom. I walk slowly..kind of like I am dragging a ball and chain around. (ok, I'm done:)

I find my name under the list of Defendants. Kelli Jane Thomas. Oh, how embarrassing. Just add my birthdate. weight, and the real color of my hair and I am fully humiliated.

I people watch. It's nice to see the young men in suits and ties and then there are those who look like they just dragged themselves out of bed. Both will make an impression.

They unlock the doors. We file in. (resisting the urge at a jailhouse file joke)  A deal is offered! It's something like this:
I get in the line to accept the deal. Then, she announces to me (and everyone in the courthouse) I am not eligible for the deal. I will have to go before the judge. Ugh...why was I driving so fast?

I take the walk of shame and go back to my seat. (which by the way, looks like church pews. Just a house of sinners . ...)

I go over in my head what I will say: "Your Honor, as you can see, it was election night. It was neck and neck in this great Commonwealth of Virginia. I was hurrying to get from one TV to the next, thus my increase in speed....

No, better not go there. Even though I'm sure President Obama would feel my pain, as this weighty ticket may cause me to fall off my fiscal cliff.

I can hear everything in the courtroom, the clerk shuffling her papers the girl behind me chewing her gum. (they told us no gum allowed in the courthouse..and here she is, breaking the law in the middle of the law..geez) I'm worried I'll be late for work, then I realize I need to go to the bathroom. Can I get up and walk out? Can I get back in? Is this some kind of Hotel California? Maybe it's just because the young man  in front of the judge is here for urinating in public. I cross my legs. He explains himself by saying the 7 Eleven bathrooms were locked. It cost him 30 dollars to urinate in public. So, now I know.

The officer and I go up before him. The judge says  it looks as though I pleading not guilty. I'm a little confused. I look over at the officer and say "Well, I guess I'm guilty?" The judge laughed. He actually laughed. I'm not sure if this is good or bad. He said it didn't really matter..he just had to proceed with something. The judge asks if I would like to say anything. I ask if it would be possible to take a drivers improvement class (like those other lucky people who got to leave an hour ago and were spared this heart pounding testimony..and not that I NEED a class.....) He asks how my driving record was. I'm trying to decided if  a recent failure to obey a traffic sign is necessary to divulge. I decide it's not and say "It's good". He asks my officer if I was compliant. He replies:  "very".

The judge dismisses it.

It's 9:30 in the morning...and this girl needs a drink. A double. And make that a Venti..with extra whipped cream.