I should really put more trust in my intuition.
When you turn 16 in Nebraska, there’s a law that says it’s illegal to drive with more than one person that’s not a family member. As far as I know, no one follows the stupid rule, including me. A few months after I turned 16, I was driving Jack and Jp home from my house, breaking the stupid law. Jp was late for curfew, so I was speeding to get him there as fast as possible. I had a bad feeling, but I wanted to get him home so he didn’t get in trouble. I specifically remember asking Jack if he saw a lot of cops on 66th street and he said no. So instead of trusting my bad gut feeling, I sped. And I got pulled over.
I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. Jack had to calmly tell me where to pull over. The officer came to my window and I slowly rolled it down. He asked for my license and registration. Luckily, Jack knew what those were. I mean, I knew what my license was, but I had no idea what my registration was. He gave me a speeding ticket for going 11 over, but he didn’t give me a ticket for having too many people in my car. Either he didn’t see Asain Jp being ninja silent in the back, or he didn’t care that I was breaking the stupid rule. I dropped Jp and Jack off, then I bawled the whole way home.
I was so mad. Mad at Jack for not knowing there was a cop, mad at Jp for being late for curfew, and mad at myself for not trusting my intuition. When I got home my mom was mad, not because I was speeding and got pulled over, but because I got a ticket. Mom thought I should be able to get out of any ticket because I was a young girl. She asked me if I cried like this when the officer gave me the ticket, and I said no because the guys were in the car. She said next time I need to cry and say I’m sorry.
Four years later, I’m sitting in organic chemistry the week before finals. Class should’ve ended five minutes ago, but when the professor was answering questions from the practice final, no one can leave. It’s a gift we all had to accept graciously. Julie and I were walking, probably about 7 minutes late, out of class when Julie told me she was going to study in the architecture building. This was code for “I’m too stressed to eat dinner and don’t want people questioning me about it so I’m going to go to my special secret study spot and worry myself sick.” I tried to talk some sense into her, but it was useless and I had to let her make her own decisions.
I finally get on the bus and we pull out into the ever present traffic on George Bush. There was a reason why I avoided driving on the main roads at all costs, and traffic was really bad that day. I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t make it to tutoring on time. Finals were starting, so the tutoring schedule wasn’t very predictable. I had tutoring at 2 when I normally don’t have it until 8. I was pondering the early time when our bus made a really scary sound and crawled to a stop. Everyone started to panic, including me. The bus driver was on the phone with someone trying to fix the bus, but I called Claire and asked her to pick me up and take me to tutoring. I was still explaining my terrible day when the driver got the bus running again. I told Claire not to worry about it and nervously bounced my leg the entire drive.
I got off the bus and fast walked straight to my car, super sad that I didn’t have time to get a snack. I knew I was going to have to speed to make it to tutoring on time. I had a bad feeling. I sent up a quick prayer, asking not to get a ticket. Then I thought about my three friends who had been in recent car accidents and revised my prayer: if it came down to it, I would rather get a ticket than get in an accident.
I was zooming along Munson Avenue blasting Jesus music and passed a couple of girls in my sorority who were on a walk. I was looking in my review mirror, trying to figure out who it was when the truck in front of me slammed on its breaks. I slammed on mine too, stopping just before I crashed into their bumper. I looked for a reason for the truck to slow down so suddenly, and I saw a motorcycle cop sitting in one of my friend’s driveways. Is it even legal for a cop to sit in someone’s driveway? If it is, they still shouldn’t be allowed to pull over the driveway owner’s friends, because that’s just rude.
Anyway, I saw his lights go on and I knew he was pulling me over. I was pissed. So many things that were out of my control led to me speeding to try to get to tutoring so I could get good grades and get a good job and have a good life. I know that’s a little dramatic, but that’s what it felt like at the time. Dickhead Officer Lopez was sweating profusely when he asked for my license and registration. Four years hadn’t changed much because I still didn’t know what my registration was so I just handed him all the papers in my glove box. That made him mad and he kept dripping sweat onto my car door. I explained to him everything that led to me speeding, but he didn’t give a rat’s ass. He gave me a hefty $250 ticket for going 11 miles over the speed limit. Eleven over isn’t even that bad. The speed limit on Munson was 25, so I was only going 36. My sorority sisters walked passed me while I was getting my ticket and they gave me sympathetic smiles. It was Georgia and Candace, so at least I figured that out.
After he left my window, which was now slick with his nasty sweat, I burst into tears, then mentally kicked myself for not crying to get out of the ticket. I could barely seen through the blurry wetness pouring from my eyes and I totally did the wrong order of car on, turn signal, hazards off, merge and whatever else you’re suppose to do. I convinced myself that he was going to pull me over again for doing those things out of order so I cried even harder. By the time I got to tutoring, I would’ve been twenty minutes late and looked like a train wreck so I just went home.
I burst into my room, still sobbing, and told Grace the entire story while she stroked my hair and told me Officer Lopez was a jackass and that I was pretty. It made me feel better, but I was still pissed at myself for not listening to my intuition. I did thank God for not letting me get into an accident, because I totally could’ve rear ended the truck in front of me. When the tear finally stopped, Grace tacked my speeding ticket next to all her parking tickets on our cork board and took me to get Bahama Bucks.
That was May 28th and I completely ignored my ticket until yesterday. I got a notice in the mail that the College Station Municipal Court was going to put a warrant out for my arrest if I did not pay the ticket plus the late fee by the 28th. I had to do a lot of grown up stuff like call the court, request a differed disposition, write a letter, write a check for $300 because of the late fee, and overnight the letter to Texas for $20. I was mad about the $50 late fee because I had to pay within two weeks to not get the late fee, but those were finals weeks so I was focused on school. The angry elf on the phone for the court did not care that I was taking my finals. I couldn’t blame her for being a complete bitch. I would be angry if I was too stupid to work anywhere but the customer service desk at the court in a college town. Her life had to be complete shit if that’s where she ended up.
So basically I paid 320 dollars for driving 36 mph because a bus broke down and I was late for tutoring for my finals. I get that I shouldn’t have been speeding, but I think I had a pretty good excuse. And next time I have a bad feeling that I’m going to get pulled over, I will not ignore it. Especially because I have to drive for 6 months without getting a ticket or my insurance will go up. If that happens, my parents are going to make me pay my insurance and that’s kinda hard when I have a full time summer internship and they don’t want me to work during the semester.
I’m gonna trust my gut and hopefully I won’t get a ticket until after November.
my letter to the court // don’t worry i typed it after my mom told me what to write