Back in October I was leaving Dawn’s house and heading home through Sebastopol when I was pulled over. For speeding.
Two things about this were infuriating. Anyone who spends any time in Sebastopol knows the town is a big speed trap. The speed limit tends to drop suddenly in 15mph chunks, and for a town of 8,000, there are an obscene number of traffic cops on patrol. At the time I was pulled over, I had been actively looking for the posted limit, expecting it to drop any moment to a sluggish 20.
Secondly, I wasn’t speeding. Or at least I wasn’t speeding as much as the officer said I was: 48 in a 30. I was probably going 35. And after he cited me I’m pretty sure he followed me all the way out of Sebastopol. Like the nefarious drug runner that I am.
A week later I got my official citation in the mail, asking me to pay a $186 fine!!! Or if I wanted, I could supersize my citation with a day of traffic school for the bargain price of $219—which would wipe my record clean so as to avoid any unsightly increases in my insurance premium. And they make it SO easy to pay—their polite way of offering to sweep this whole unpleasantness under the rug.
Nothing raises my ire more than a bureaucracy set up to put people in a position where they feel powerless to resist authority. It’s like an allergy I’ve always had. My gut response: “I’ll take your unpleasantness and raise you 2.” What the hell, I’ll go to court to contest this.
So in December, I went to traffic court and requested a trial by written declaration. Basically this means I wouldn’t have to show up in court and talk to a judge, I’d just write an essay and send it in. 19 years of formal education, and I can definitely write an essay. Plus I have to admit I got a sadistic shiver of delight when I learned the issuing officer would be notified I was contesting the ticket so that he could respond. “Have fun with that extra paperwork po-po.”
So in January I turned in my Declaration of Facts, a riveting full-page, single-spaced description of my account of the events of that night, along with a full page annotated map, both of which I put together the day before it was due. 19 years of formal education and I still wait till the night before something’s due.
Well today the verdict arrived in the mail: NOT GUILTY! Case dismissed. Hell fucking yeah! I’m ecstatic. That means I save $219, my insurance stays the same, I don’t have to go to traffic school, and I get the satisfaction of beating the system and sticking it to the man.
Take that man. Consider yourself stuck.