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Not My Era

I received my driver’s licence at 14 years of age. I have had only one ticket in my life — one. This is the story of that ticket:

Past History:

Last Thanksgiving I moved into this dump … uhm, lovely home with considerable personality. I moved on purpose. I decided I would rather have a less upscale address and more creature comforts — like internet, cable, and drunken neighbors. For the most part I am comfortable and, yes, my house is safe.

Moving — the word strikes fear into the soul of every packrat, and I am no exception. I was exhausted long before everything was boxed and hauled, even though I have some wonderful friends with kind hearts and strong muscles. Just the same, there I was down to the wire, cleaning the old place, dragging out the last of the stuff and butt-draggin tired — and the neighbor jerk parked in my spot, leaving me to park in his; but if I parked in his spot I would have at least five feet further I would have to lug the last of the boxes — unless, of course, I parked backward. So, logically, I parked backward.

After lugging the last box to my trunk and dropping exhausted into the driver’s seat, I noticed a little yellow slip on the windshield. Lovely. A $275 parking ticket for facing south bound in the north bound lane.

Several days later I took myself down to the courthouse and paid 60% of the ticket. The remainder was due in 30 days.

Present Time:

The time has come to renew my car registration. Yesterday I opened my glove box to gather my paperwork together — and found the receipt for that half-paid ticket. I stared at it in horror for several minutes, grabbed my cell phone and dialed the number on the bottom of the faded page.

I listen to the phone ring. Officer Really Niceguy answers. I tell him I have an unpaid ticket. He asks my name and for the ticket number, then puts me on hold. I wait two life times for him to come back to the phone and say, “Ma’am, there’s a warrent out for your arrest.”

Oh, dear saints! I left my ex-husband so I’d never have to hear those words. The officer immediately realized I was distressed. (I think it was the hysterical laughter.) He said, “It’s not like you’d really be arrested. The amount you owe is too small. Just come in and pay the balance of the ticket and the fine. We haven’t cancelled your driver’s license or the registration on your car. This is a simple fix.”

I told Officer Really Niceguy I’d be right there — and I drove straight to the courthouse — where I paid the balance of my ticket and a tiny, two hundred dollar fine.

Now I’m going to have to break another law. Prepare yourself for the headlines: Fifth Grade Teacher Extorts Students for Lunch Money.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Oh, this just sounds like your luck. I couldn’t help but laugh and read this to Sheldon. At least your keeping us entertained! 🙂 My Grandma at age 62 had a warrent and ended up serving community service.

  2. I remember those days………when you have a job you always are stretching the ole’ mighty dollar to cover one unexpected happenin’ or another, be it tickets or glue sticks! Some day you will be retired and the boredom will astound you. (or maybe it will follow you all the days of your life and we will continue to be entertained by your chaos!!) CB, I love you…call if you are in a real bind.

  3. Wow Quill… is nice to know that I am not the only person who is losing their memory……I was afraid I was going to have to send a chisel in a cake to cell number 9 or something.

    Good Grief that was an expensive ticket, all in all…….when you do it, you do it up proud, don’t you.

    Cars do that all the time here, and get no tickets……I guess Vegas needs the money more than you do, yeh right.. ……haha

  4. “Ma’am, there’s a warrant out for your arrest”

    You handled the situation with customary grace.

    If they had a warrant out for my arrest, I would be on the next plane to Vegas.

  5. Good thing there wasn’t a warrant out for your arrest. I don’t think they allow blogging in jail. 🙂

    I hope you are having a nice, ticket-free week.

  6. ROFLMBO! Sounds to me like it just MIGHT have been worth it to “lug” those boxes an extra 5 feet! But I’m sure I would have done the SAME thing!!! Too funny!

  7. As a convicted felon I don’t think you should be allowed to claim first prize in Cindra Jo’s competition, I think they should award it to whoever came second.

  8. One certainly needs druken neighbors. Sounds like a good move. I hate box packing and we aren’t done yet. I have only had one ticket for speeding. The car I had then couldn’t speed on the straight raod but I was coming doen hill. When I went to pay the ticket the clerk said I suppose your going to try to get off like the rest of the clergy. I paid the fine as I never expected to get off.

  9. Sometimes it’s better never to clean anything. I have found many things that need immediate shredding.
    Actually, there’s the biq question lurking- how long would this have gone on if you hadn’t found the ticket? 😉

  10. Oh my God…CB,I’d have been panic stricken. Glad it worked out, but sorry about the financial outlay, yuk. Love you xooxxoxo

    Bazza is just too funny with that comment! I love it!

  11. Jaime, anything for a friend; pft

    Cindra Jo, money troubles come and come, I have yet to see them “go.”

    Caryl, Thanks, you are a wonderful sister. I think I’ll be fine.

    Nea, I’m thinking early onset Alsheimers.

    Jenn, teachers always have class!

    Gary, that was my biggest fear!

    Goldennib, no picture, no kiss.

    Melli, yes, that was one expensive attack of “lazy.”

    Dr. John, the clerk said that as a teacher I could get out of the ticket if I pled innocent, but then I’d be lying and the fine for perjury is pretty steep …

    Dabich, that thought had crossed my mind.

    Inamini, I did wonder that myself.

    Jackie, panic was next, after hysterical laugher, but Officer Niceguy helped me stay calm.

    Charlie, they don’t consider it minor, I guess. They said I was endangering children in a school zone. Ooookay. It was after 6 p.m. AND a school holiday, but whatever ….

    I am $475.00 wiser — and poorer. For lunch today I will just munch on what’s left of my pride.

  12. Very funny! I’ve only had one speeding ticket, but I did get arrested once for “failing to file city income tax”. I had no income as a housewife back then, and had no idea there was such a charge. The officer that interupted our Sunday School picnic to take me to the slammer was so embarrassed!

  13. Once you get your second ticket, it won’t bother as much. Maybe you’d better watch some Old Jimmy Cagney films and his roles in the big house. Maybe if Nea needs some help with chisels in cakes I can help, maybe put one in some Corn Chowder.

    I don’t know if you have the Photo Radar or Red Light Cameras in Las Vegas but we do here. I don’t think these bit of law enforcement really work as people still speed had jump red lights in Calgary.


  14. Bill, people run red lights here all the time. I get honked at a lot because I won’t roll until I am certain they are stopping. And yes, we have the cameras at almost every intersection. I don’t know any stistics on them. I try very hard not to speed. Tickets here always come with na$ty numbers.

  15. Oh man…. i would have freaked out, too! I am glad you were not arrested, we would miss your posts…unless they let you post from prison. Hey, then you would have a lot of time to complete Dr. John’s marathon.

    Just trying to look on the bright side of things…

  16. i started driving school in my 3rd pregnancy and pretty far into it..only because i had no other choice and had to get my first born through the snow and slush of our winters to school..and i wasn’t getting very far…since then i have had 4 tickets. 2 speeding, both within 2 wks of each other when in my last few wks of working at the kids old school..the argument i was having with the principal on the cell…and just last month 2 within 2 wks of each other,parking for parking facing the wrong way (50)(sound familiar) in my front curb and the other because @ Walmart they couldn’t see my handicapped tag (150)….grrr….grrrr…..grrrr…

  17. Hey Quilly, my fellow felon! My offense was failure to re-license “our” dogs. Probably because procrastination is what I do best sometimes. A State Trooper showed up in our yard about three days before Julie’s wedding. I think I almost fainted when he said he had a “bench warrant” for my arrest. I could just see the headlines in the most local paper, “Mother of Bride unable to attend daughters wedding due to…” I had to follow him(at least he didn’t cuff and stuff me into his car) down to Farmersville Center to the town hall and do what I should have done months before-license the dogs.

  18. and they aren’t even “my” dogs- they belong to our sons- I just “harbor” them, which apparently means I’m responsible for any and all debt they incur…

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