Did you read yesterday's post?
About the ticket I got over Memorial Day Weekend?
Well that wasn't the first ticket I ever received. I received another one... way back in 1999.
And it was an expensive ticket. $300.00.
That REALLY hurt. It hurt BAD. I was making half of what I make now. It hurt, honey child.
But the good news is that the timespan between the first ticket and the last ticket stretches 11.5 years. With that said, I christen myself a very good driver.
But, I did get that first ticket. I've always wanted to blog about it, but there was no good segue into talking about it.
That ticket over Memorial Day weekend gives me a fine, fine excuse to blog about it.
The year was 1999...
December 31, 1999 to be exact.
~~fuzzy wavy lines, fade to black~~~
Yes, yes... New Years Eve.
An all important New Years Eve, to be exact.
For it was the dawn of a new millineum... the Year 2000.
People were happy. "Party like it's 1999" was the anthem that year.
People were scared. For when the clock struck 12, who knew what would happen? The computers hadn't been properly prepared for this. There was talk of some large cyber crash.
Me? I was on the happy side of the scale. I lived in New Orleans at the time, and I'd planned to go back home to Atlanta to celebrate New Years Eve and spend a couple of days with my friends and family.
The plan was for myself and the hubby (who's the ex-hubby now) to drive up to the ATL on New Years Eve... we would go our own ways then meet back up and travel back home.
(Sorry man, but I wanted to hang out with my family and friends. I did NOT want to deal with his people. He was going to visit with my folks but after that he was on our own. I think that just lets you know right there that this marriage was not going to last).
Anyway, I think we left in the afternoon from New Orleans. It was a 6 hour drive. I remember that much. So somehow, that would put us in the Atlanta metropolitan area around nine or ten o'clock. Enough to get there for the New Year.
Sounds like a plan, doesn't it?
A good one indeed.
Anyway, I was going to spend the night at LadyTee's place up in Union City.
And that LadyTee said what she always said:
"Hey girl, be careful rolling through Coweta County. The cops be up through there, and they will pull you over!"
"Coweta County make that money, honey," she said. "Coweta County make that cheese!"
"Whatever, man," I said. "Bump Coweta County. I've never gotten a ticket. And don't plan on getting one now."
"Alright, I'm just saying," she said.
And I didn't plan on getting a ticket.
So we headed out of New Orleans, and headed to Atlanta.
I like to follow other cars when driving long distance. If someone else is speeding, I figure they will get clocked before me. If several of us are flying, then they can't stop everybody. And there's my standby of always making sure someone is going faster than me.
This worked well. And as a matter of fact, that New Years eve of 1999 was a GOOD traveling day. I hadn't seen one cop all the way up into Georgia. How the heck does that happen during a holiday period? I have no idea.
Yeah I was feeling good, rolling hard... and listening to my Erika Badu CD. I started out driving, and Oldboy was suppose to take over. But I was cool. I wasn't sleepy or anything, so he let me continue driving...
... while he slept in the reclined passenger seat of his gray thunderbird with the tinted windows.
Then... I saw the sign.
I thought about what LadyTee said for a split second. Interestingly enough, I was the only one on the freeway. There were lights way behind me and some way out front.
I was just a singing, eating some chips, rolling hard up a hill and over a hill...
And then I saw them in the darkness in the rearview mirror:
Flashing blue lights.
It was the police.
"Shit," I yelled. I looked down at the speedomometer. It read 85 mph. I hit the steering wheel with my fist. "Shit!"
(excuse the Cuss words. The Good Book of cuss flew open freely so long ago. Not so much now.)
"What's wrong," a snoozing Oldboy mumbled.
"It's the police. I think they clocked me."
"Pull over, then," he said.
"Ugh! I don't believe this," I said as I slowed down and moved over towards the shoulder of the freeway. "Ugh."
Of course he was pulling me over. He pulled up behind me.
I looked over at Oldboy all laid out in the passenger seat like he was in a comfy bed. His hair was all braided up. He had a stocking cap on. He had a tongue ring and multiple earrings in his ears. He had on a white t-shirt and some sweats.
"Ah hell," I yelled. "Look at you, hair all braided up, with your earrings on! Look at you! You look like a criminal! We're going to jail tonight!"
"Girl calm down," he said.
"At least let the seat up," I said.
"No," he shot back. "You need to calm down."
We continued to sit there. I squinted up at the rearview mirror. The blue lights were still swirling. The cop was still in his car. "What's taking so long?"
"He's running the plates," Oldboy said. "Don't worry, he'll be over here soon."
I was still scowling and complaining.
Then I gasped.
"Oldboy," I whispered.
"What?" he said, his voice tinged with irritation.
"The gun. The gun. There's a gun in the car."
I heard a door slam, and saw the cop walking to the car.
"The gun. We got a gun in the car," I said a little louder.
The gun. I suddenly remembered it was there. When Oldboy first got in the car, when we were leaving New orleans, he lifted his shirt and removed it from his waist. He shoved it down between the armrest and the seat. I remember wondering why he needed it. It didn't matter at the time. We had guns all over our apartment and he always carried one.
"What about the gun? We got a gun in the car!!"
"So," Oldboy said. "I have a permit for it."
[Looking back all these years later, I simply don't believe that. We had a TON of guns in the house. He always said he had permits. I never saw one permit].
"You need to calm down," he said.
"They're going to search the car!" I whispered. "And we going to jail!"
"No we're not. You gonna give him your license and the insurance and get your ticket."
He was so calm. I wanted to slap him.
The officer leaned down and shined his BRIGHT flashlight in the window straight into my face.
"Do you know how fast you were going?" the officer asked.
"Oh, 85 miles per hour," I said.
The officer just stared at me... increduously.
He took my license and insurance information and headed back to his car.
The officer didn't even look at or say anything to Oldboy, who was sitting in the passenger seat looking like the poster child for Thug Life. This was Coweta county. The name "coweta" sounds like some craziness in itself. Maybe nothing was said because it was a black cop.
"Why did you tell him how fast you were going?" Oldboy asked.
"Because he asked me."
"You were supposed to say 'No officer, I had no idea how fast I was going.'"
"Whatever," I said. "He didn't have to stop me."
We waited for what felt like forever.
"I'm ready to go!" I said. "What's taking so long?"
"He's running the information."
The longer we waited the angrier I got.
"Man, we got this gun in this car. I oughta shoot him. That's what I should do. Shoot that fool." I put my hand on the gun wedged between the armrest and the passenger seat.
Oldboy let his seat up then. He was alert then. "You'll do no such thing, girl. If you do, I will be out here on the ground cradling his head hollering, telling the other cops 'her name is LadyLee and she went that way. She at LadyTee's house."
"I oughta shoot this fool," I continued ranting. "Gonna stop me for speeding? I oughta shoot him."
Oldboy put his hand on my arm. "Calm down," he said. "Just calm down."
Another police car pulled up behind the police car that stopped us.
"Wait," I whispered loudly. "It's another police car. They gonna search our car."
"No they aren't. He's checking on the other officer. Just calm down."
I listened to Oldboy. He was a former cop. I suppose he knew what he was talking about, even though he was looking very crazy at the time.
I remained calm and took the ticket from the officer. He wrote me up for doing 90 in a 70 mph zone.
We were THREE exits away from our exit. THREE. I drove there slowly and was knocking on her door some 20 minutes later. I walked in talking much trash."
"Girl, that doggone Coweta County! They stopped me! I got a ticket!"
LadyTee laughed. "I tried to tell you. They be all up and down through there. Coweta County gonna make that cheese. Especially tonight!"
"And she had the nerve to get mad and talk about shooting the police with my gun," Oldboy chimed in. "I told her I would send them right up here to your house, Tee."
"And I would've turned her in," she said. "She my girl, but I ain't going to jail over her taking a cop out."
And I'm sure she wouldn't, either.
I had a good time in Atlanta despite my ticket. I checked on the ticket fine later on that week.
Ugh. That HURT.
You know what? And I tell people this all the time...
It is like taking $300 in cash and lighting a match and burning it up. That is how it felt.
I had to save that money up. $75 a paycheck.
I haven't gotten another ticket since then. Until now. A cheaper ticket, but it still hurts. That is money wasted.
And a lesson learned.
Whenever I see the sign "COWETA COUNTY", I slow down... even to this day.
I don't want any more thoughts of shooting cops flying through my mind.
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