I Fought the Law and the Law Won

I’m the dumbest person I know.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m allowed to live unsupervised in an apartment with a stove and sharp objects, and I’m consistently amazed I haven’t accidentally starved to death yet. A couple of weeks ago, I was pretty sure I was going to jail for being stupid, and frankly I wasn’t surprised. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect from a boob like myself.

It started when I forgot about the back half of my car. It’s easy to do when you’re an imbecile.

Reasons I Forgot About the Back of My Car

  1. I conduct my business in the front half of the vehicle. There’s no reason for me to think about anything that happens behind the driver’s seat. Since my legs are short (and also because I’m an idiot), that means I never give 70% of my car a single thought.
  2. I once had a car named Ruby, and she was the love of my life– the most beautiful thing on this cold, dark planet. Great love stories always end in tragedy, though, and Ruby and I were no exception. I left her (because I’m an idiot), and now I have Beryl. I respect Beryl, but I’m not in love with her. I never look at her back half because it brings up memories of Ruby’s curves.
    "Curves" might be the wrong word.

    “Curves” might be the wrong word.

  3. Shortly after Beryl and I became an item, my job required carting a group of photogenic elderly people around on short notice. The backseat was buried under Taco Bell wrappers, campaign signs, and heaven knows what else (because I am an idiot with poor nutrition). I didn’t have anywhere to dump it out, so I scooped it up embarrassedly and threw it in my trunk while the attractive old people judged me. I cleaned it out later, but the damage was done. I never use the trunk because I associate it with deep feelings of shame.

One evening in March, a friend and I decided to make an ice cream run. Ice cream is not even on my Top 10 Best Desserts list, but we desperately needed to get out of the apartment. I had just finished elucidating on what a safe driver I am when a siren started behind us.

I started running through a list of things I could have possibly done wrong. We’d watched Breaking Bad all day, and my neurotic brain instantly decided we were being pulled over for meth. I’d clearly been driving meth-ily. When the officer came to the window, I did my best impression of a person who doesn’t do meth. It should have come naturally because, you know, I don’t, but I was suddenly hyper-aware of how suspicious every single one of my nervous tics looked.

Fortunately, he had not pulled me over for methamphetamine. Unfortunately, while I was busy ignoring parts of my vehicle, some of those parts were expiring. When I say my license plates were old, I don’t mean they were a week or two past the renewal date. I had successfully avoided looking at them for more than six months. The ticket was close to $100, but I was just grateful no one thought I was on meth. We drove back to the apartment, ice cream-less and sad.

I sent my check in a week later to the wrong court, so it was returned. I put it in a file labeled “IMPORTANT THINGS”, made a mental note to send it again ASAP, and immediately forgot about it. Then two weeks ago during Trivia Night at a bar, my friend Ashley said, “Did you pay your traffic ticket? I forgot about mine, and a friend at the court said there was a warrant for my arrest. I bet you have one!”

“Ha!” I said like a person who regularly has warrants issued for her arrest. “I don’t care. That’s my fifth warrant this week.”

I did care, though. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child, or maybe because I’m a civilized human, but I like rules. If I lived in a totalitarian country, I’d be the jerk who’s always bringing up how efficient and well-organized the government is. I was useless for the rest of Trivia Night. I kept wanting to yell, “HERE’S A FUN FACT: I’M GOING TO JAIL.”

I spent the next two days  desperately calling the court, but I kept getting away messages. With every unanswered call, I became more convinced I would be arrested.

Prison does things to a person.

Prison does things to a man.

Things You Do When the Cops Are Coming for You

  1. You think about the best way to explain your arrest during future job interviews.
  2. You start looking at your friends differently, trying to gauge if they’d be a good choice for your phone call.
  3. You obsessively Google things like “How much will my bail be?”, and “How to tell your grandma you’re in jail”, and “Which prison gangs are the most fun?”
  4. You consider trying to escape once you’re inside, just to say you did it.
  5. You wonder if you could shank someone if it came down to it. You decide you probably could. You start to worry less about jail because you think it will teach you about yourself. You start to look forward to it a little.

After three days, someone finally answered the phone.

“Hello,” I said. “I forgot to pay a traffic ticket and I’m dumb and I don’t want to go to jail because I really like rules and I’m generally well-behaved and I DON’T EVEN LIKE ICE CREAM THAT MUCH SO I DON’T KNOW WHY I WAS OUT THAT NIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE!”

“Hmm,” the lady on the other end said. “That ticket was dismissed. The officer didn’t submit it before the court date.”

“Oh,” I said. “So… no one wants to arrest me?”

“No,” she said. “You don’t even have to pay it. You’re lucky!”

“Yeah,” I said. “Lucky.” Then I hung up and went back inside to my office and my boring, boring life.

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14 comments

  1. donofalltrades

    I’m the anal retentive police officer who always tells his friends that they have a tail light out or that their license plates are expired. I find writing tickets to be exhausting, so it’s just easier if everyone fixes things right. I wouldn’t write a person for expired plates until it got to be a couple of months expired. At 6 months, you’d have to be AWFULLY cute and funny to not get a ticket…I guess you weren’t? Lol, sorry.

  2. laurenmichelle13

    Same thing happened to me except I found out that my license HAD been suspended for about five months because I had forgotten to pay it as well. Luckily I didn’t get pulled over but it did cost me 200$. You definitely lucked out CONGRATS!

  3. Tyler G.

    The real question of the days… Did you renew your plate or are they continuing to grow in the degree of expiration?!?!

  4. dreaminsomnia

    Awesome that you didn’t get a ticket. I act like this and people say I have no common sense. I always respond “Please, can it be something else?” :P

  5. eventer79

    Sweet, another completely unobservant person — I’m not alone! I swear I would not notice if everyone started wearing clothing made out of large hippos. I would just wonder absently why there seemed to be conspicuously less seating space.

  6. rscherian

    That was an amazing read :) I am sitting at my office desk and laughing like crazy..since a few minutes now. And getting strange looks from colleagues..but it’s totally worth it :D

    Do keep writing. Have a great day.

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