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Officer 225

Finally, I have something in common with Bo and Luke Duke. The flashing red and blue lights of police cruiser were set ablaze for me.

They’d never been for me before. I’ve witnessed many other people on the sides of roads or stopped askew in a lot, patrol car parked squarely behind. Speeding, red-light-running, tail lights out—the reasons are many, the excuses many-er, I was sure. So sure.

I received my first speeding ticket about 2 weeks ago. Not only was it my first ticket, it was my first time being pulled over. I enjoyed 24 years of driving with a perfect record. There is a wide line between having a perfect record and being a perfect driver. The line is painted the color of Sheer Dumb Luck.

I maintain I was snagged in an obvious speed trap. You won’t see me on YouTube in gritty black and white protesting about how I was set up, though. Set up, I tell ya!

The speed limit went from 45 to 25 to 45 in the course of about 1/2 mile and I was caught doing 43 in the minuscule portion that was marked 25 and it was night and I was in an unfamiliar town looking for a street sign on the left and and and.

It’s still my fault. Nobody else’s black criss-cross Mary Jane was pressing on the gas pedal.

The buck stops here briefly and then will be sent to the proper authorities who represent The People of the State of Colorado.

Reading my actual paper speeding ticket, canary yellow and marked with a big red DEFENDANT, is the most humbling thing of all. I see the numbers of my life: My weight from 2002 when the license was last issued, my mailing address, a court date, a birth date, a license plate, the approximate time of my violation, a fine. My life’s identifiers are more number than letter. I am merely Gretchen Lastname, Unemployed SPEEDER.

All of this was written in hurried block letters by Officer No. 225.

Teddy was screaming in the backseat by the time Officer 225 returned from his patrol car with the little clipboard and the cards from my wallet. I signed and shared it was all new to me. My first ticket, ever, you know…

When he tore off my portion and handed it to me, I said thank you without regarding what he handed to me. My polite nature is housed in my jerking knees.

Later, I wondered if Officer 225 thought I was being sarcastic.

I said it out of habit that night on the side of the road, but I mean it every time I get behind the wheel and drive with more care than I have in years. It’s not like I was driving like a Duke boy. Many of the cars I see pulled over are moms in minivans and SUVs. I understand how the daily drive becomes monotonous and mindless. When you are familiar with every bump and curve in a road, it’s easy to go on autopilot.

So Officer 225: Thanks, again. And a teeny, tiny, itty-bitty little heeeee-haaaawwww.

12 comments to Officer 225

  • But do you climb into your suburban through the driver’s side window? Because that would be even MORE awesome. Sorry about your ticket. At least you didn’t cry like I did after I got my first ticket. The rule follower inside of me was mortified that I had broken the law and I was humiliated at the idea of being pulled over in front of our small town.

  • Oh how I hate the sinking feeling that accompanies those flashy lights in the rear view mirror! My DH loves to gloat when he sees someone pulled over by the side of the road (I swear he was a cop in another life), but I always feel sorry for them. Sorry you got nabbed!

  • amyptucson

    I can so relate! It was two years ago for me, my first moving violation, in which I turned left after my light had gone red. I got the ticket in the mail and, indignant, went online to see the video so I could argue my case in court. But there I was, chatting on my cell phone like some fool, turning when I should not have. I went to traffic school the day after Thanksgiving with a room full of very hostile people, and learned that drivers incur more than 2,000 infractions on average before they are caught. Oops. I was overdue.

  • “Unemployed SPEEDER.”


    I’m glad you can rise above the now-tarnished record to share so humorously with us. Always so thoughtful (and polite).

  • I just got a speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago, too. (Sadly, not my first. Or even my second. *blush*) The “best” part this time was my 4 y/o son in the backseat… “Mommy, why are you stopping?” “Why does the policeman need to talk to you?” Well, no time like the present for a breaking the rules life lesson. Ha ha.

  • MamaLiz

    I, too, received my first ticket this year. Mine was in June in GJ, for not wearing my seatbelt properly. I was driving my mother’s vehicle and had slipped the seatbelt under my arm while sitting at a red light, in order to reach for my 2yo’s drink that had rolled toward the front of the minivan. He made me and my 3 boys sit in the June – Grand Valley heat for 36 minutes while he “waited for the computer”/made me sweat (literally and figuratively). I drove away in tears, with 3 hot and crying children, with a $89 ticket and no points off of my license. I would have fought it, but it was in GJ on my son’s birthday in July. Sometimes, those “nice police officers” that we tell our children that they can trust, make us say things under our breath that would make our children fear them. Good luck with your new found Duke-boy attitude! Yeeee-haw!

  • Oh you poor thing… from one unemployed speeder to another… Luckily we don’t get pulled over, as far as I know (but I am not really familiar with the whole experience)!!! We usually just get a photograph in the mail of the offense. I have only ever gotten one speeding fine and I had been driving quite a bit more than half my lifetime before I got it… But when I did get it I did it well… All roads that are not a highway have a 60 km/per/hour limit and there is a road on our almost daily route that feels like a highway and everyone whizzes along there, to go at 60 would be setting your self up to be squashed by vehicles trundling over you… Needless to say, my natural “tune out mode” was not trundling at all but literally flying!!! For all my friends that get little fines from time to time, well I made up for lost time in one precious photograph. I can’t believe how awful I felt… totally awful… I don’t understand how folks take fines in their stride it knocked the wind right out of me and I have been unemployed and a lot more staid ever since.

  • amy

    The time I got a ticket for speeding on I-70, I also said thank you. I wouldn’t have even noticed if Cara hadn’t pointed it out to me later.

  • I say thank you too. I’m very deferential when dealing with a cop who’s pulled me over. And my hands shake for the rest of the day.

  • trixiefan

    I was stopped once by a very condescending officer. He did give me a ticket and it took all my effort not to say ‘thank you’ when he handed it to me. Why would I thank him for that? Just the way we’re brought up, I guess. : )

  • Amy

    Welcome to the club! I get pulled over about once every five or six years. In every case, the officer will say something like, “You were only going 3 miles over the limit, but I haven’t written very many tickets this month, so…” The next thing I know I’m paying a $150+ fine and signing up for driving school. Sigh.

  • I said thank you to the officer last time I got a speeding ticket. Why do I do that?? I loved the part about the line being painted the color of sheer dumb luck. Seriously. Although it’s been a nice long while since I’ve had a ticket (only 1 so far in my driving career) I definitely could have easily have gotten several.

    Speaking of safe driving, now that I have a smart phone that does things like texts, I’ve had to be really intentional about NOT texting or checking my email while driving. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.

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