Thursday, April 8, 2010

40 in a 30...

Yesterday morning, I went before a judge at traffic court. There's nothing quite like sitting underneath 18 glaring florescent lights at 7:30 in the morning to make you feel the shame of a common criminal. All I did was drive a little too fast. Okay, 17 miles too fast, but the officer was nice and dropped seven miles off the ticket to put me in what he called "a different class." Yikes. In my defense, I didn't have the kids in the car and got a little carried away when a great song came on the radio. As I sat quietly in the courtroom, I started feeling like the only person in the universe who's ever gotten a speeding ticket. Incidentally, I've been pulled over lots of times, but I've never had to go before a judge to take the magical class that wipes it from your record. I guess they're pretty tough down here.

I waited for my turn to step up to the podium, two arms lengths from Judge Taylor's nose. He was a fairly intimidating guy. The docket went alphabetically, so I watched almost every other person in the room go before me. One woman was ticketed for having darkly tinted windows. The judge looked past her into the room and told us that in Brentwood (just 10 minutes up the road), dark windows are allowed because of all the celebrities, but they're against the law in Franklin. Then he smiled. Ah! Some early morning Williamson County humor. We all chuckled uncomfortably. Most people addressed the judge as "sir" after everything they said -- sometimes saying it ten times within just a few minutes. Naturally, I started wondering if I should too? When it was finally my turn, the judge called Morgan Valch. Decision time: do I correct him? And if I correct him, do I say sir after I correct him? I corrected him. It felt too weird to say sir, but I tried to make my face look pleasant. Silence. He asked in a stern voice, "Guilty or not guilty." I've never officially declared myself guilty in an open court, but I did yesterday. Holy Cow.

My four hour defensive driving class is coming up. That ought to be fun (sarcasm). But I admit that this ticket is a good reminder to be safe and focused. I have precious cargo on board. First I had to scrub all my favorite curse words out of my vocabulary, including seemingly innocent ones like dumb and fart. Then after a near accident three years ago, I stopped yacking on my cell phone when I'm driving. And now I have to drive the speed limit too? Yep. It's just as simple as that. I'm working on it.

7 comments:

Mollie said...

My "4 hour" class in Peoria only lasted 2 hours, so maybe you'll be so lucky. Oh, and if they make you stand up, and announce your violation in front of everyone like I had too, you won't feel so "guilty" with all the hit and runners, and DUIs in the room (not sure why they weren't in jail).

Chelsea said...

They are tough down there, aren't they? Incidentally, Dayven had to take that "special" class too when we lived there. You're not alone!

I must say, I kind of prefer the non-confrontational Canadian way. You just receive your ticket in the mail so you never have to endure the shame of explaining to the officer why you were zipping down the road in such a hurry.

I'm with you - I'm working on it too. What good does it do to get someplace a few minutes sooner anyway? Good for you for not talking on your cell phone. I stopped that awhile ago too when I realized how dangerous it was and I'm trying to convince others. You can imagine how much they love my lectures on this topic! :o)

Johanna said...

I'm also working on it. I find myself embarrassed that it is so hard to learn to clean up my mouth just a little.

The Brown Family said...

Thinking of you Meg! Hope the class tonight went alright. I'm sure it was not your first choice for how to spend an evening. :) But it's done! Can't wait to see you next week.

Jules said...

Megan, tsk tsk. Have I taught you nothing? When he called "Morgan Vlach" all you had to do was turn tail, then claim they never called you in court!! In San Diego they have a gay musical driving school. I am trying to get pulled over just so I can attend!

The Kearns Family said...

They are pretty rough in TN, I got a ticket in Champaign once and went to the defensive driving class and the instructor was my D.A.R.E. teacher from 6th grade. He remembered me and made me help him run the entire 4 hour class. haven't gotten a speeding ticket since(knocking on wood).

AShley said...

Meg!! I can totally relate. I also drive a little too fast when a great song comes on (shakira-she wolf-still loving that song!) Sounds like Nashville is pretty tough...i'll remember that when we come to visit! Miss you and the kids dearly. Your pictures are beautiful! xo