I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


About a week after I moved to Utah, two years back, I earned myself a speeding ticket. The cop was friendly and professional, even said that he was "doing me a favor" and knocked it down a bit, what with my Massachusetts plates and what not. Except, I thought the ticket itself was BS (of course) and so I brought it to court — twice, in fact, because the City had trouble with the very difficult task of scheduling — and in the end, lost. I was presented with the very unsettling choice of paying the fine and hoping that my Massachusetts insurance rate didn’t reach for the sky, or choosing the legalized traffic corruption option of paying the fine plus a little more to head to traffic school and ensuring that the incident would not be reported to those pesky insurance organizations. I chose the latter.

Traffic school was an effing joke. It was like a bad 80s comedy and I spent the hour and a half keeping an eye out for Bill Murray, John Candy or Jim Belushi, waiting for one of them to pop out, unshaven and disheveled, and recite quintessential lines from “Stripes,” “The Great Outdoors,” or “Mr. Destiny.”

Instead, I got a retired traffic cop who had “seen it all” and viewed the forum not so much as an educational experience, but as the perfect opportunity to hone his amateur stand-up comedy skills. I was surrounded by the finest people SLC had to offer, folks that got pulled over for doing 110 in a 45 mph zone, or that hit a neighbor’s dog so hard, it exploded on impact. It made my court date loss all the more bitter.

Indeed, Salt Lake City’s traffic school actually made me a worse driver because the only thing that I actually learned was this: Per Utah law, if a light at an intersection is turning red, you are legally allowed to pass through that intersection so long as any part of your vehicle is in the intersection while the light is yellow. Essentially, the state is requesting people drive like assholes.

So I did just that this morning. In desperate need of a coffee, I nudged my nose into a very busy intersection, watched the light turn to red and made a left-hand turn. I quickly took a right into the coffee shop parking lot. After getting out of my car, a motorcycle cop rolls by me, literally almost hitting me, and stops.

“Woa,” I say. He doesn’t acknowledge me, but I am pretty sure that I am getting a ticket. His lights aren’t on. He won’t look at me, but he does take out a notebook and starts writing. I give him a minute or so, mentally reciting my traffic school retort: “Sir, I was already in the intersection and Utah law states that…"

Still no sign that he realizes I exist or that he nearly ran me down like that neighbor’s dog. I shrug and decide that coffee is more important and walk away. I think I made the right decision.

While in the shop I hear him throw on his sirens and pull over someone else. A bigger fish to fry, as my mom would say. I return to a ticket-free car and a bad case of paranoia: Is that fucker going to mail me a violation?


Blogger Sara Z. said...

Man, those guys are hot.

9:58 PM

Blogger J said...

whoa, whoa... mr road rage needs to calm down. I cannot believe you possibly got a speeding ticket in the sewing machine. The new RX45zturbo, yes, I can understand. No way you got the sewing machine up to any kind of speed that would warrant a ticket.

7:42 AM

Blogger FlyingMonkies said...

I believe it. The "sewing machine" is trail-rated.

2:20 PM


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