So okay, outside of my semi-secret attraction to a man in uniform, I hate cops. I'm black so I guess I don't really have to explain that. I'm always being followed, but not really. I get them slowing down and driving 25mph when they're right next to me so I can feel like I'm speeding when I'm doing the speed limit. Or they're in the turning lane next to me but suddenly they have a change of course and they're behind me. And I'm never going anywhere near a doughnut shop. I've been stopped twice for jay walking (!!), and once the light was green but the hand was red according to the assho...er, officer. Another time I was pulled over for having an airfreshener hanging from my rearview mirror. Apparently this is illegal, (who knew? obviously not anyone from El Salvador or Mexico that has flags and rosaries hanging from their mirrors but I will have to get to the oppression of my brown brothers in another blog......probably closer to the election).
Magically, none of these encounters resulted in a ticket. That, I should have known, was not going to last. Of course, one day I'm minding my business driving down Burbank Blvd, (this street may be bad luck since I was about to turn onto this street when I was flagged down by Vanessa and Monique. see: the Bamboozled blog). I'm never speeding, I don't have a red car or anything that makes me standout other than my chocolately exterior that the Po-Po's (and older white men) seem to love. This time, it's my lack of a front license plate that caught their eye. Since, there was none there when I got the car from the dealer I didn't think this was a big deal, and really it's not.
They ask me through that creepy megaphone thing that sounds like Stephen Hawking as the Terminator to pull over to the right. I get over and stop the car and wonder what they could possibly want now. I knew that I was doing the speed limit and that my air freshner was tucked behind my garage door opener on the sun visor staining the beige interior with the blue dye and new car smell so I couldn't think of any other reason that they had to pull me over other than to beat me Rodney King-style. Honestly, I think they were hoping that I would be really difficult and pissed off so they could have that opportunity. When Cop1 walks up to the car he just stood there and didn't say anything so I asked if he wanted me to get out or something.
Cop1: "Are you used to getting out?"
Me (internally): "What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I'm not used to getting pulled over mutha fucka!"
Me (externally): "No."
Cop1: "We'll just have you turn off the car so you don't try to go anywhere."
Me (internally): "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Me (externally): Silence
So after he insults me and treats me like a hardened criminal, (they hate that I have no priors or warrants), he asked for license, insurance and registration. Which I had, but got frustrated when I couldn't find my current insurance. I knew that he could check that it was current when he ran the registration but that wouldn't necessarily keep him from beating me. I wasn't really panicked, but he must've sensed something because he kept telling me to calm down even though I didn't really get excited or show any outward signs of anxiousness. Actually, I think he was covering his bases so when they beat me down he could say that I was hysterical and he had to keep me from resisting.
Ultimately, everything seemed fine. He told me I needed the front plate. The ticket was only a $25 fix it ticket and it would be reduced to $10 if I went to the DMV for the new plate and had them sign off on it. A week or so later I had done this (I'll spare you the details of having to go to the hardware store and get screws to actually afix it to the car since having it in the window wasn't good enough). I made a copy of the ticket and sent it in with the $10 check to the court house and that was that..............or so I thought.
A couple of weeks later I get the ticket and the check back in the mail with a letter stating that it wasn't in the system yet and that the officer had one year to enter it in so there was a number to call to check on it. Periodically. Throughout the year. Are they kidding?
From my understanding the only thing I'd have to do was find out when the ticket was entered and re-send the check, but I knew that this scheme was designed to have me forget and end up having to pay the whole $25 or something nefarious and bureaucratic like that. And I was right. But I had greatly underestimated how low down the system really is.
Fast forward to yesterday (which was Friday). I had taken the day off of work because I was expecting an out of town guest. The plans fell through but I kept the day off because, just two weeks ago I was robbed and my wallet was stolen. I thought I'll use this day to get my new driver's license and run some errands since I have class and a concert on Saturday. I go to the DMV before it opens to make sure my trip is short and to the point. Unlike, most people my trips to the DMV are usually pretty painless so I was completely knocked on my ass when the lady in window 11 told me that there was a "Failure To Appear" on my record and she couldn't give me an new license until it was cleared.
I couldn't imagine where I had failed to appear, but quickly the stupid $10 ticket from a few months ago came to mind. So then it was off to the court house to find out what sort of clusterfuck the $10 ticket had caused. Luckily, I keep an ID separate from my Driver's license and I had that with me because I went straight there without going home to get the ticket and the check they sent back. The court house lady (this time at window 5), told me that I had a choice. I could pay $460 (!!!!), or I could go before the judge. I thought that I must've been hallucinating. I asked her if she was sure she had the price right, and reminded her this was a $10 ticket. At the most I thought they'd ask for the whole $25. I can't imagine what kind of new math they did to come up with that amount. Needless to say, I have a court date in October and I hope my judge is an older white (preferrably gay) male. I'm not afraid to use my chocolately masculine wiles to get my fee reduced.