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March 16th, 2010

First Ticket

In my life I’ve been pulled over a total of four times. I’ve gotten two speeding tickets and one ticket for driving on a park district road that wasn’t really a road; my first ticket, however, is one I will always remember.

I was 16 years old with a fresh driver’s license in my hot little hands. At that time I didn’t have a car so I had to borrow my mom’s car: a mid-80s Dodge Charger whose color we affectionately called “Bohemian Beige.” In reality it was a pale yellow cream color. Oh, and Dodge Chargers back then were 2-door K-car hatchbacks. Yep.

One afternoon in the early fall I wanted to pick up some lunch. I asked for my mom’s permission to drive her car and soon I was on my way. I was driving up East Avenue when I approached a standard 4-way intersection. A cop had pulled up to the opposite stop sign. I was young but not (yet) stupid: I was going the speed limit, making incredibly full stops, and being a model driver. Once I checked all directions I proceeded through the intersection and came up to the speed limit. About two blocks later I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the cop turning around. My heart jumped into my throat.

Within moments he pulled me over. I was terrified. I had only been driving for a few weeks after all, and here’s a cop? What? I kept calm while the officer got out of his car and came up to my window.

“Hello, officer,” I said politely.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked. Even at this point I knew this was one of the dumbest questions I’d ever heard. How could I possibly know?

“No, I don’t know,” I said.

“Well,” he said, “your car has tinted license plate holders. We can’t see through them clearly. Now, that’s illegal.”

I was stunned. Tinted license plate holders? Really? Someone needed to make his quota and chose a vulnerable young driver to make the city a quick profit.

After handing him my license and registration, followed by an agonizingly long wait, I had a ticket for thirty bucks. When I got home that evening I told my parents the story and, naturally, handed over the ticket to my mom.

Posted in Everyday Life

Dave Walls March 16, 2010, 8:30 pm

Been pulled over many times, but fortunately, only one ticket. Of course, the one time I get ticketed, it was because I skidded on ice through a stop sign. The cop was all too happy to make his quota, giving me a ticket for around $100. As nice as the other cop was years earlier for letting a 17 year old me go for speeding out of a parking lot (realized I was late getting home on a school night), this cop, on my birthday (of all days), was that big of an ass.

Still, to be 33, and only have one ticket..I can live with that.

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