You CAN Beat City Hall (part 1) -- Thursday, March 16, 2006
So here's my morning post:
You CAN Beat City Hall (part 1)
I'd gotten a ticket in Louisiana--70 mph in a 55 zone--in an ittybitty city of 250 called Village of _______. I'd been driving 60 mph behind a cement truck in a two-lane highway. Now 60 was good, comfortable. I liked 60, but I couldn't see beyond the truck. And I like a clear view of the road to spot danger ahead. So I passed the truck at 70 and got ticketed by I'm sure the city's only police officer, who waits at this 15-second stretch of city highway to catch offenders and refurbish city coffers.
$199.00?! That's more than three days of work for me! (I substitue teach and pretend to be responsible with children.)
Am I going to work three days and pay this stupid ticket? No way! I'm going to go to jail like my (unnamed relative) does and gets rid of hundreds of dollars worth of warrants for unpaid traffic fines. He gets caught, goes in for a few hours, and wipes out $800 + . How hard can that be?
I convince my husband that a 250-person city jail can't be that bad, and he either must be hard up for money or is gonna teach me oooooone gooooooood lesson (or both), but he doesn't fight me. So I call Village of ______ to announce my plan.
The city secretary sounds 78 years old. She is momentarily speechless at my request to go to jail. They don't have a jail, she says. Maybe I'll have to go to the county jail instead. Anyway, come talk to the judge.
" The county jail?" the (experienced unnamed relative) asks. "Oh MAN, I don't think you want to go there." Now I'm scared. No matter. I'm cheaper than I am scared, and $200 is $200!
Fifty bucks in gas and three hours of driving lands me at night court, held every second Tuesday of each month at 5:45 pm. I'm dressed in my best suit, shoes, and scarf to show that I'm no ordinary jailbird and to perhaps get some sympathy and kidglove treatment by the jailers.
I have special food packed--a cooler of frozen, fresh-squeezed juice that hopefully a nice jail in a small little county will allow.
But just as I reach City Hall, my (unnamed relative) calls to tell me his lawyer's reaction: "Louisiana? She'll be lucky to get out of there alive." I waver a little; but then I think of the $200 I'll save, and I'm strengthened.
Well, blarny! This was supposed to be an unfinished draft. I must have pressed the wrong button. (My husband would say here, "You're supposed to apologize. You never apologize." Well, I'm sorry, ya'll.)
Go here for part II.
posted by Susie Hovendick Chan