Whenever I see a police car nearby while driving I immediately reflect upon whether I am driving beyond reproach (and beyond ticket parameters). Of course, due to my half Catholic/half Jewish lineage I always readily absorb any guilt that I think I even remotely deserve and even some I may not. I am, despite all the tales that are told about my troublemaker nature, a pretty big rule follower. I try every day to be a good citizen. Some days are better than others.
Today I received a speeding ticket on the way to work. I had turned off 45th onto 12th and was apparently clipping along when a police officer passed me and clocked my speed. He told me he clocked me at 53 in a 40 mile an hour zone. I didn’t question his assertion. My half Catholic/half Jewish persona just absorbed the guilt and was compliant. Indeed, I was in a bit of shock. It has been awhile since I have been stopped by an officer. I cannot tell you when the last time was that I had to dig through the black hole that is my glove box to get my insurance card and registration.
The officer – Officer Bair – was very nice and polite. He only wrote me a ticket for going ten miles over the speed limit instead of the 13 he said he clocked me at. So the effect was – you are getting a ticket, but I am also giving you a gift by cutting you some slack. I am pretty sure there is some psychology wrapped up in there, but I am okay with it.
I told my students about the ticket. They had a whole list of suggestions about how to get out of future tickets – things to say or do that have proven successful for them or their friends in the past. But that isn’t me – I am about absorbing the guilt not deflecting it. Plus, let’s face it – I was obviously speeding. I may have been going five miles over the speed limit or 13 miles over or something in-between – but speeding is speeding. I did the crime and I reconciled myself to the reality that I would have to do the time (which sounds all Law and Order like, but really means I took my $10 ticket without complaint).
I also took my ticket with appropriate reverence. I didn’t joke with Officer Bair. That would be my norm in such an awkward situation. When Officer Bair told me he clocked me at 53, I refrained from saying, “Is that all?” When I struggled to get my license out of my wallet, I refrained from saying, “Can I just pay you off with a credit card instead?” When he asked me for my phone number, I refrained from saying, “I’ll give you mine, if you give me yours.” When Officer Bair said, after giving me the ticket, “Now slow down…” – I refrained from saying, “Are you kidding me? Now I have to go twice as fast to get to work.” I just behaved like a good and repentant citizen and kept my irreverent sense of humor to myself. I was downright docile.
And there you have it – my life of crime as it played out on 12th today. There were no shootouts, no handcuffs, no mugshots, no headlines in the newspaper – only one officer trying to do his job and one half Catholic/half Jewish girl trying to retain whatever remnants of good citizen status she had left.
Day one thousand three hundred and fifty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da