Sunday, May 21, 2006

Peter's World -- The Bust

Spoiler alert. The last in, first out nature of blogs directly conflicts with a multi-part beginning to end story. So if you haven’t already, and prefer not to spoil the suspense, such as it is, read Peter’s World first.


As it turns out, considering all the stress and distractions, counting backwards by threes isn’t as easy as it seems, particularly given the natural tendency to focus as much on where you are going as where you are. My wife nearly had a panic attack, because she suddenly couldn’t remember where I was supposed to stop, and nearly fainted with the effort of trying to telepathically communicate the correct number to me, since she was convinced I had forgotten it just as much as she had.

Having, I thought, correctly completed that task, it seemed the perp walk was going at least adequately.

Until he said, “Now do the Macarena.”

Oh no. Not the Macarena. Anything but the Macarena. Heck, I can’t do that sober!

Actually, he didn’t request that particular bit of perp peformance art. But given the hoop jumping thus far, I wouldn’t have been the least surprised.

“Okay sir, since you passed the sobriety test, I’ll allow you to drive home.”

Overwhelming relief and certain expectation are not ordinarily juxtaposed. After all, I had been the perfect designated driver, having had only one drink the entire evening, and that a couple hours before leaving for home. In Skipper family speak, I “had the brain,” there apparently being only one between the two of us, which gave her license to become legless-but-smiling, hence the car’s Eau d’ Distillery.

So, with a BAC probably below the threshold of clinical detectability, I wasn’t, absent a sudden attack of St Vitus’s dance, going to bust the perp walk. What did surprise me, though, was the nearly endless series of tasks. One would think that a complete absence of intoxication would be pretty clear right from the get go.

“I’m also going to let you off easy. Instead of ticketing you for running the red, I am going to issue a citation for disobeying a traffic control device.”

Wow. Lucky me.

The remaining twenty minutes of the ride home were filled with worried what-ifs on my wife’s part — she had drunk sufficiently to render her incapable of noticing that my rum and cokes were all latter absent former — and rather more clear headed analysis on my part.

I was convinced the officer, whose manner and appearance were impeccable, had not decided to spice up his shift by jerking me around. The perp walk was the only reasonable response to the car smelling like what Guinness ad would smell like, if only we had smell-o-vision. What was far more puzzling, however, was his insistence I had entered the intersection two seconds after the light had changed. Having a clear view of both the signal and the intersection’s limit line, I knew that the line was under my heels when the light changed.

Close, no doubt. Legal, certainly. But nowhere near two seconds. How was it his perception and mine were so far at odds?

As I pondered that conundrum, my wife read the ticket: “$125 fine, 3 points. Or appear at the courthouse.”

“Which is where?”

“Where” turned out to be smack dab on my way home from work, as was the intersection. Even though I could easily afford both the fine and, with only one violation in the previous 30 years, the points, I promptly decided I was going to fight the ticket. Vindicating myself was the least of my reasons. More importantly, I welcomed the opportunity to venture somewhere I had never been, to walk through the looking glass and enter Peter’s World.

Next: Peter’s World — Time and Money.


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Might be a waste of time.

I got a citation about a month ago for parking too far away from the curb.

Sent in my check.

Yesterday, got it back, the cop had not completed the paperwork and submitted it to court within 10 days.

However, I do recommend that all law-abiding citizens take a morning off to watch sentencings in their local court. I've told the story over at Orrin's place, but when I took my 11-year-old, she watched the proceedings solemnly and as we left told me, 'I get it. You tell them you've found Jesus and they let you go.'

May 21, 2006 11:59 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

I agree with Harry. Generally if it is a he said, cop said situation, the judge goes with cop. My brother tried to fight a speeding ticket in court, and when it was the cop's turn to testify, he said 'radar gun, your honor' and sat down. My brother lost his case.

May 23, 2006 10:18 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I agree with you and Harry.

But you can't win if you don't play.

May 23, 2006 7:29 PM  

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