I’m promising myself I won’t swear in this post.
I was heading out to catch up with some high school friends Manayunk, a trendy neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia, just before 10:30 p.m. tonight. My night ended unceremoniously less than a half hour later – with police intervention.
I rolled through a stop sign. Yes, I rolled, no justifications here, but I can’t say I think that roll is worth $120, even if it was admittedly blatant. Considering I have a very nearly unblemished official driving record, gosh I was hoping I might get off for that – god damn – roll-through, which, I admit, certainly happened. (I don’t admit that I was driving a “high rate of speed,” as my citation suggests)
I was two blocks from my home. I never use my car, or more accurately my father’s car. I don’t own a car anymore. But after my grandfather passed, my father took his car, and had nothing to do with his fairly worn 1997 Nissan Maxima with 192,000 miles on it. He figured he couldn’t get more than a couple hundred dollars for it, so the deal was that if I gas it and paid the insurance he pays for it (though my payments are suspiciously delinquent), it can essentially sit outside my home in Frankford until a serious repair needs to happen, at which point we’ll bail on the car and I’ll be back to my happy, car-less self. Really, it seems I only use or the occasional trip to see the folks, likely one of the reasons my father offered for me to keep it.
But now I wanna push it into the Delaware.
So, though I never use the car, I decided to take it out this afternoon to go to a larger grocer – I try to turn the Maxima on at least every week. Then a high school buddy who lives in the area asked me to come out in Manayunk, which is only available by regional rail and a couple busses for me. Considering there is parking there, I frustratedly admitted driving was the cheaper answer. So at 10:30 p.m. I went out for the second time with that Maxima of mine.
I made it two blocks, rolling through a stop sign just in time to see the Philadelphia police SUV pull onto the road that met the one I was on. They flicked on their lights, and I knew I didn’t have a chance – especially when the cop approached my car with a certain degree of aggression and spoke hardly calmly.
I didn’t try any excuses. I didn’t have any. I was hoping a clean driving record, and my mention that I just moved into the neighborhood could do something.
The officer seemed to suggest it did – he did me “a favor” by writing me a Traffic Citation for $120, rather than the moving violation that ignoring a stop sign would merit. [Update 2/12] ]But here’s the thing, turns out because he still wrote on my ticket that I disregarded that damn stop sign, I will get points citation or moving violation alike. Cops, I’m told, lie to drivers about that all the time.
I promptly turned around my car, came home, told my friend I wouldn’t be coming, swore a bunch, and cracked open a lager.
I don’t want to discuss how frustrating the money portion is – I don’t have enough in my bank account to cover it at the moment.