I Thought I was a Good Driver

31 May

I got an envelope in the mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles yesterday.  I figured it was my vehicle registration or license renewal since I’m close to my birthday.  I opened it up.

“What the hell is this?”  I asked myself.  “Operator Re-Training?”

It must be a mistake.  This morning I called the number on the bottom of the form. I waited on hold for 30 minutes.  Finally someone answered.  I gave her my license number and name.

“You have had 3 violations in the past 3 years.”

Impossible, I thought.  She must have me confused with someone else.  I asked what they were.

The first was September, 2014.  Oh.  I remember it distinctly.  I was driving from the gym to work one morning.  I had my protein shake in one hand and the phone in the other. I was sharing on a wisdom call.

“And, I asked my hairdresser if she could show me how to blow dry my hair.    I actually admitted I didn’t know how,………Wait, oh no, I’m being pulled over, …..gotta go.”   I hung up the phone.  Damn, I thought.  I really wanted to tell them the rest of the story.

“What’s going on?” I asked the officer, confused, after pulling off the road.

“You were holding your phone.  That’s illegal.”  He checked my license and registration.  I couldn’t find my insurance card.  I had filed for divorce and was trying to be independent.  This was one of the things my ex used to do.  SHIT, I thought.  I must not have put it in my car.

“I could take you right to jail for this,” the officer told me.  “But I am letting you go with just a ticket.”  He explained that holding my phone was illegal and that I should use my bluetooth or headphones in the future.

Next, I got a speeding ticket in Ridgefield.  I wasn’t going very fast.  I didn’t think it was fair, but, it was easier to just pay the ticket then go to court, so I just sent my money in.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was putting my weight watcher points into my app while at a red light.  The light changed, and I started driving.  I didn’t think the policeman standing in the middle of the road was motioning to me, but apparently he was.  I was surprised.  I wasn’t talking or texting, I was just calculating my points.

But, I didn’t argue.  I sat on the side of the road where the officer checked my credentials like a good little girl.  I didn’t even pick up my phone.  I wasn’t going to press my luck.

So I sat there waiting for him, hoping my credentials would be ok this time.  I remembered the past August when we were taking Haley, my daughter, to college for the first time.  I was already upset thinking about my little baby leaving home.  And, we had gotten a late start.  We stopped at a bank so she could deposit some cash she had saved.   I looked up and there was an officer coming over to my window.

“Oh, hi”  I said smiling, thinking he was just being friendly.

“Did you know you were speeding?”

“Ummmm, no,”  I answered, stunned.

“You sped right past me.”  he said.

“I DID?”  I put my head in my hands. The stress of the last few weeks overtook me.  We were emptying our house since it was being torn down to be rebuilt.   I was finally moving out of the house, two years after our divorce was final, and this morning, the last of my kids was moving out.   I burst into tears.

“I SHOULD NEVER HAVE WOKEN UP THIS MORNING,”  I said.   “I CAN’T TAKE THIS.  AND WE ARE SO LATE!!!”

“License and registration,”  he said, a little more gently.

I looked in the glove compartment, they weren’t there.  I started panicking.  I tore the whole thing apart and neither was there.  I knew I had insurance.   But I must have forgotten to put the new card in my car.  AGAIN.  And, I didn’t remember getting an updated registration either.  This was not good.

“I could compound your car for this,”  he said.  He shook his head.  And walked over to his car.

Thankfully he could see that the registration and the insurance were valid.

“You can’t drive to New Hampshire without the documents,”  he said.  “I will let you go, but do not go out of state.  Go home and get the papers.”   We spent another hour looking for them at home and then finally got on the road.

I had been lucky, I thought.  A couple of times.  And, thankfully, that afternoon in Bridgeport, my credentials checked out.  I got a ticket, paid it, and promptly forgot about it.

Until today.  This was serious.  I’ve had 3 violations within a 36 month period.

If I get one more in the next 36 months, I will lose my license for 30 days.  No second chances.  No classes to take like this time.  If I get another one after that, my license is suspended indefinitely.

My first thought was:  my life is ruined.  No more speeding.  No more recruiting calls while driving.  How am I going to live?

My second thought was:  it’s not cancer.  It’s not an illness.  Maybe this will save my life or someone else’s.  All I have to do is slow down and not hold my phone.

And, after a few hours to think, I realize I have been lucky.  I haven’t been driving like I tell my kids too.  I’ve been reckless and making jokes about my carelessness instead of taking it seriously.

This is a wake up call.  And, I will survive this.  I’ll just have to be careful.  I definitely won’t be getting to places as fast as I had been.  I’ll have to leave more time to get there.

And,……. maybe I’ll become the good driver I thought I was and be helping make the world a safer place in the process.

 

 

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4 Responses to “I Thought I was a Good Driver”

  1. Samantha Heilweil June 1, 2017 at 1:01 am #

    Good upgrade!

  2. MtnMama June 1, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    I want to “Like” It but it won’t let me.

  3. Jim aldridge June 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    Uuuh baby

    Jim

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