It's often said that you learn something new every day. For me, not so much. But when I do flail and flap (as opposed to stumbling) along one of life's grand lessons, I get the point pretty quickly.
Within one week of getting my new car, I got another "new" thing, only not nearly as much fun.
My first speeding ticket.
Yup, that's right. I was going the back way into Prosser from Grandview and missed the 35 MPH sign, so I was still doing 50 when the officer pulled me over. I had only been breaking the law for two-tenth's of a mile. I know this because the fancy new car came with a precise little odometer.
Before this, I'd never even so much as been pulled over but frankly, I've always been a little too curious as to what it'd feel like.
The first thing that happened is my hands started shaking. Jerking is more like it.
I still managed to grin like an idiot because for me, this was what I'd been wondering about ever since I'd gotten my driver's license.
Simply put, I was friendly. And so was he, or so I thought.
My fiancé told me that the paper thingy hanging in the back window of the car until I got my license plates serves as registration, too.
That's not the case.
So I tell the officer what I think I know, and he says, "Uh, no."
He went back to his car and way too many minutes later, gave me a ticket.
Very little conversation took place on my end. I don't even know that I got to say, "You're the first person to ever pull me over. I have never had a ticket...etc."
I know one point I wanted to make was that, hey, had I still been in the 50 MPH zone, I would've been driving the legal speed on a road that people often cruise at 60 or 65 MPH. You'd think that'd count for something.
In a most friendly manner, he said, "I wrote down that you were doing 45 instead of 50 in a 35 MPH zone because it'll be less points against your license. I also thought it would be over the top to issue you another $125 ticket for lack of registration, so go home and get your bill of sale and put it in the car."
We parted ways and I was left feeling like I'd somehow dodged a bullet. Until I was talking to a friend who also happens to be a police officer.
I began the conversation by asking if my spotless record comes up on the screen when I get pulled over. He said no, not unless the officer requests that information.
Then I proceeded to tell him how nice the officer was, all the things he could've done but didn't, including the $125 no-registration ticket.
My dear friend smirked at me. A big and loving smirk. Then he said, "He sold you your ticket."
I've never heard of this before so I asked him what on earth that means. He said officers are trained to sell you your ticket, make you basically feel good about it.
That's one lesson learned.
The next one that looms on the horizon is whether or not taking a traffic ticket to court is worth the time and energy.