I'm not one to weave in and out of traffic and I don't believe I'm a menace to other drivers on the road. Quite the opposite, in fact. I use my blinkers, my headlights, my seat belt, and my middle finger when conditions call for it. I, however, do not use my horn since I drive a Hyundai Accent and people would just laugh at me because my little horn just sounds like a squeaky fart.
My driving record is blemished only slightly and nothing of great importance stands out. I've never hit a pole, another vehicle, or a pedestrian (on foot or on bicycle) though it is quite tempting seeing as how I work on a University campus and these students often think they own the damn place. Which, when you think about it, they kind of do. And I received a ticket today for parking in my own parking lot with an expired permit. I have a strong feeling that plowing into a jaywalking freshman who never learned to look both ways before running out in front of traffic would only get me another ticket. I can't afford any more tickets.
Getting any kind of ticket always reminds me of the first ticket I ever received. It was quite memorable. I was fifteen, unlicensed/without a permit, and driving in an empty parking lot with the owner of the car sitting in the passenger seat. It was after midnight so the darkness of the parking lot lit up like a Christmas tree when the police officer flipped on his red and blue lights. I pulled over and tried to not pee all over myself. I wasn't afraid of the officer. I was afraid of my father who happened to be the officer's boss and would find out about this little oops of mine when he went to work in a few hours.
In all honesty, I had never pulled my father's name and status to get myself out of trouble. Until this night.
Ssgt. Jabar detained me for two hours. I was never arrested, never handcuffed, and never given the opportunity to call my parents (critical mistake number one). Remember, I was only fifteen. A minor out after curfew on a military base.
I kept saying to Ssgt. Jabar, "Look, you really should let me call my father. Do you know who my father is? You don't want to do this without calling my father."
His response was, "I don't really care who your father is. I don't know him." (critical mistake number two)
Oh, but you will. Yes, sir. You soon will. And, by the way, I'm sorry my friends won't get their butts off this nearby curb and stop singing "Pigs" by Cypress Hill.
I was eventually released around 3 am to another minor and was never offered a ride home from Ssgt. Jabar. My citation was for $267.00. To a fifteen year old, that was practically my life savings. So I found a ride home, as a passenger, and walked into my house just before 3:30 in the morning. My father would be waking up in two hours to get ready for work and I figured I'd let him know the trouble I'd gotten the two of us into before he headed into the office at 7 am.
(If you know the military then you understand what I mean by "the trouble I'd gotten the two of us into". Sure, I'd been the one to get pulled over by the cops for driving without a license and being out past curfew. But everything I did reflected on my father. This was one of those infractions that would get his ass chewed out by his Commanding Officer. Military personnel have lost on-base housing privileges because of the dumb shit their kids have done. This was one of those things that fell under that category.)
I woke up my dad and he didn't seem to care. I was the only teenager living in his house at the time and, quite honestly, I was his biggest pain in the ass. He asked how much the citation was written for. I told him. He snickered at me. He then asked what was I cited for. I responded, "Driving without a license on a federal highway."
My dad jumped out of the bed and screamed, "Fuck!" and I knew I was in big trouble.
In the end, my father didn't kill me and I'm eternally grateful for that. We didn't lose our housing privileges and my father wasn't demoted. Ssgt. Jabar was invited to my house around 4 am by my father personally so that they could be formally introduced.
Ssgt. Jabar, meet your boss. I told you you'd want to give him a call. Aaaah, consequences, consequences. Ssgt. Jabar learned a lesson that night, too.
The state of Maryland didn't allow me to obtain a driver's license until I was over the age of 18. I paid the $267 to my parents since they'd paid my original citation in full. On Christmas morning in 1991, I opened a small box containing my original citation with the word "VOID" written in red ink and block letters across the entire ticket.
Awesome!, I thought.
"So when can I get my $267.00 back?", I asked my parents.
"Never! We're opening it. Merry Christmas!"
Maryland has been kind enough to erase this tiny snafu from my record. Actually, this is the only public mention of the incident and because there is nothing to back it up, officially, I could totally be making this up.