Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Traffic School -- Oy, vey!

About two months ago I was heading in to Orem via Geneva Road and turned up on 400 South. I was driving my ten-year-old van, a reliable and sturdy vehicle which has difficulty going up hills. For those of you not familiar with that area, 400 S has a fairly steep hill on the stretch from Geneva to 900 W, and so I gave it some gas, as I usually do. My tradition has been to give it enough gas to make it to the top of the hill at the speed limit, but then, since it's full of gas, when the van levels out, I'm going too fast, so I then tap on the brake until I'm back to speed limit. This is what I was doing on that fateful day.

However, my previously reliable system failed me. Sitting right at the top of the hill, right where I usually start my deceleration process, was one of Orem's finest. We'll call him Officer X. He had out his little radar gun and bleeped it at me just as I leveled out at the top of the hill. I tapped the brake as I usually do, hoping that maybe he'd see that I was slowing down. I glanced in my rearview mirror. He got in his car. He pulled out. He turned on the blinky lights. He was following me.

I'll interrupt myself here to say that I've never been pulled over. I'm 30 years old and I think that's a pretty good track record. I'm a law abiding citizen. Things like this just don't happen to me.

I pulled over, trembling a bit. I knew he was going to ask for my license and registration. I made (what I realize now) what could have been a mistake -- I unhooked my seatbelt to reach into the glove box while Officer X was walking up to the van. I think he saw me unbuckle because he didn't say anything about it, but if the unthinkable should ever happen and I get pulled over again, I'll leave the belt on until I'm sure the officer has seen it.

I tried to explain to him about having to accelerate to get up the hill. He gave me one of those “oh, no, not the I-can’t-get-the-van-up-the-hill-without-putting-on-the-gas-but-then-I-slow-down story” looks. Fact of the matter is, I was speeding when I passed him. He only cited me for going nine miles over the limit when in actuality I was going fifteen over. (But I was slowing down! Honestly!)

Now, what is probably the most embarrassing part of this story is where I was going. To a business dinner, to interview a Vietnam veteran for my next book. Not that meeting him was embarrassing; that part was fun. But to have to explain why I was late? To someone who had risked their life to defend our country and I was out recklessly disobeying the laws of the land? That was embarrassing. And he teased me. Mercilessly. My own husband, when he joined us fifteen minutes or so later, didn’t tease me that much. He said he’d let the other guy take care of it.

So, anyway, I decided to go to traffic school. I couldn’t handle the thought of a ticket blemishing my previously spotless record. Three hours of this last Saturday were spent at the Orem court, watching film after film of cars being pulverized. It was like a Scared Straight program. And the worst part – the officer teaching it – you guessed it. Officer X. Who teased me. Mercilessly.

I guess every story should have a moral, as opposed to endless, mindless rambling, which I happen to enjoy from time to time. The point to this blog? Don’t speed in Orem. Or you’ll get teased.

This is going to make a great scene or two in a book someday.


Josi said...

What CAN you do in Orem?

Tristi Pinkston said...

Not very much. And if you knit, make sure you get a knitting license.

I'm just kidding -- we really like Orem. It has a very comfortable feel to it. Unless you're on 4th South.

Keith Fisher said...

Hey now I grew up just down the hill from where you got the ticket. That cop has gotten most of the people that live on that street. I feel for you. Don't you hate being extorted? "You can pay this ticket and it will go on your driving record, your insurance will go up . . . or you can pay us more money and listen to us tell you what a bad driver you are, then we will conviently forget about it. (Of course it will still be in our computer for black mail purposes Waahaahaa haa)

Tristi Pinkston said...

Yeah, it did feel like extortion! It was pretty expensive.

I think they should have a nicer traffic school for first time offenders.

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