It’s a citation, not a ticket

As most of you know, yesterday was BJ’s birthday. She’d kill me if I announced her age in writing online, so I shan’t do it! Thanks to all of you who sent her email. She was definitely surprised and pleased!

Aside from her very pleasant birthday, I’m incredibly frustrated. You see, I got a traffic “citation” last night returning to the apartment after spending four hours painting. It was late—nearly 10 p.m.—and BJ and I were tired and dirty and I just wasn’t paying attention. Before you ask, yes, I was speeding.

And I think that’s the most frustrating part—I just wasn’t paying attention. Yes, yes, I was paying attention to the road and where I was going and all, but not to the speedometer. For one thing, it was late and there was nobody on the road. For another…I was tired and ready to get back and take a shower and go to bed.

The officer was very nice. She told me that since I had a clean record I could call a number and they’d tell me about a class I could take and the ticket…citation… wouldn’t go on my record. Well, I called. The class will cost $50 and I still have to pay the ticket…I mean, citation fee. I just can’t see myself paying $50 for a ticket…I mean, citation or a class about it if it isn’t going to do anything other than remove it from my record. She’d already said the record was clean (I knew it was) so why charge that kind of money? The lady on the phone said it was because I was over 21. Sump’in jes ain’t right ’bout dat!

This is my first ticket…citation, that is, in almost exactly 10 years. The last time I got one was on August 31, 1998. Yes, I remember the exact date because BJ’s last day at MSU was Aug. 31, 1998 and her first day at UNA was September 1, 1998. She clocked out one day in one state, and then clocked in the next day in a different state! Brittany was all of 3 and we were on a practically deserted stretch of Hwy 72, just across the Alabama state line. And yes, I was speeding then, too, but not by much. I actually had my cruise control on and it picked up speed going down one of those very long hills. The Alabama Patrolman was very nice then, too (we ended up joining the church he belonged to!). He asked us where we were headed so late (it was midnight and my car was PACKED with luggage). I told him about BJ’s job and how we were moving to Alabama. He ripped the ticket…I mean, citation…off the pad, handed it to me and said, “welcome to Alabama.” That was a $120 welcome! And Brittany was just old enough that she went around for the next several weeks telling people—with some joy, I might add—that Daddy got a ticket.

I did get pulled over about six months or so ago. Brett and I were alone in the truck and headed to Arkansas for a visit. After passing through Kennett, MO., the last town before crossing the Ark. State line, the speed limit goes from 25 MPH there in town to 55 MPH on the highway. I was a little quick on the trigger coming out of town, I guess. Again, it was late at night, probably 10-ish or so. The Missouri State patrolman took pity on me. I guess he could see I was tired and just told me to slow down. I did. But, Brett, being 7and like his sister before him, proudly told everyone that Daddy almost got a ticket.

He was especially quick to tell Mommy!


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