Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“Karma’s Bitch? Party of One, your table is ready…”

So, I’ve lost my drivers license. When I say I’ve “lost” my driver’s license, I don’t mean in a casual, yet annoying “I have no idea where I left it and now I have to spend an afternoon at the DMV waiting in line to get a new one” kind of lost.

In fact, “lost” isn’t the right word at all, since I know right where it is. The State of Colorado has had it since I was caught doing a rolling stop at that damn stop sign on Berry, and the police officer took it with him when he left me with a ticket. And? It’s not like he took it with him by accident either. Suspended would be the right word.

See, I had coffee with my brother on Sunday morning, which has nothing to do with the rest of the story… except to let you know why I was out driving and returning home from that particular direction. As I was driving home, I suppose I was a bit in my own little world, thinking about the week coming up and how Husband would be leaving town that afternoon.

I didn’t even SEE the police car at the new-ish stop sign. Now, ever since Sister Wife Martha notified us that the new revenue generator had gone up, I’ve been oh so careful. In our neighborhood I'm usually pretty careful anyway – ever since I got caught going 35 mph in a 20 mph school zone at 4:45 in the afternoon one day about 4 years ago. I argued to the DA that it was ridiculous that the school crossing light would still be flashing at quarter till five in the afternoon and obviously it wasn’t my fault that the light hadn’t been reprogrammed yet to counter the effect of daylight savings having just ended that weekend – but I still had to go to before the judge, pay a $250 fine, attend driving class, and write an essay before they would consider the ticket taken-care-of. (Oh yes, I did actually have to write an essay on what I learned in class that day. Thank you to the Jackasses in the Centennial Traffic Court for adding that humiliating little bit of homework to my traffic trauma.)

But I digress…

I do try to be careful, because I know that stop sign is there for no other reason than the City of Centennial needs pesos. This was confirmed when, in the beginning of my meeting with Officer K the other day, he offered to simply give me a zero point, $75 no-seatbelt fine and leave it at that. I thought that sounded, if not fair, at least kind. Then he took my license, registration, and proof of insurance back to his car.

I ought to have guessed something was amiss when he didn’t come back for 25 minutes.

He approached my car with several pieces of paper, and told me that “we” had a problem… but his attempt to soften the blow wasn’t working. I knew that in truth “we” meant “me”. He couldn’t tell me what the exact cause of the problem was, but that his computers were telling him that my license had been suspended 09/02/07. So, not only could he not give me my license back, but that deal we had discussed about a no-seatbelt fine was also out the window.

I have been driving on a suspended license for just shy of a year now.

WTF? Did they finally READ the essay they made me write and decide that I didn’t get a passing grade or something?

It being Sunday, all I knew was the State of Colorado was closed and my answers weren’t going to happen that day. Husband had the joyous task of calling his boss to tell him why he couldn’t be in Phoenix for his job this week – because our kids attend a school that is 11 miles away and there has been a new law passed that says if you are caught driving a car with a suspended license they will now have the ability to impound your car with a $2500 impound fee attached. Plus, he was worried that emergency after emergency would befall the girls if Mommy couldn’t legally drive.

I only had to wait on hold for 45 minutes Monday morning before I am told that this suspension is related to a speeding ticket that I got the last week in May 2007. I’m blank. “Can you refresh some of the details for me on that?” I ask. I was caught going 33 mph in a 25 mph zone (there but for the grace of God goes every single one of you, btw) on a street near here, and the ticket had never been “taken care of”. Oh right, I’m sure I paid that. (It does not even strike me as unusual that I had forgotten this ticket. It was a pretty small deal, not like my other ticket or filing taxes or something long and drawn out... or so I had thought.) I do remember filling out my information on the back of the ticket – which was pink – and writing the check. Do I have any proof the check cleared? Ummm, nope. Now that I look though our records… I find… nothing. (Probably time to admit that I’m not the greatest record keeper on Earth, and there is a reason I’m not a CPA.) But, in my defense, I also didn’t get any notification that my license was suspended and they are supposed to send those out by certified mail. Although this information makes me feel a little bit righteous, it does nothing to advance the cause of getting my license back.

Now I have to pay the original ticket, obtain an OJW clearance form, pay for and file a Petition to Reinstate, take the written driving test in order to get a drivers permit (which I don’t have to have for any length of time, but I do have to have it in order to…), take an actual driving test – with an instructor – which I haven’t done in 27 years. I might actually be legal to drive again sometime next week. And then? I have to go to County Court in October to be punished with a 4-point violation in regards to running a stop sign, and I have to present my paperwork vis-à-vis the license suspension and most likely get fined for that also. I'm expecting at the very least the judge will be disappointed with me and will make me whither under his glare. I must appear in court, I may not settle this any other way.

So what have we learned from this fiasco? (Circle as many as you think are true)

1) That the City of Centennial is actually run by ex-priests with a funny sense of humor about secular penance?
2) That one should always use certified mail when dealing with government business so they don’t wonder if they are losing their minds when they can’t remember what happened to the paperwork and did they really ever mail it in?
3) That I probably shouldn’t have teased my husband about setting our fence on fire? (…and shouldn’t be shocked that “Hey, better you than me” came back to haunt me?)


4) That my mother (God bless her soul) now has “the powers that be” on her side, and is being rewarded by her new bff upstairs for all the times she probably should have taken her snotty daughter’s license away from her during her bratty teenaged years… but didn’t have the will to also punish herself by keeping me around the house?

I fully expect that, when I see her again someday, she’ll be all laughing and like, “That one was pretty funny, right? Come on… admit it… you deserved it!” By then? I may be able to look back on this and laugh.



birdymunch said...

I am literally speechless. What a load of crap that you have to dig out of. I fully believe that Ammie has that 'smurk' on her face now. Love you.....

Vanessa said...

Oh wow, what a bunch of crap. Sometimes I think the city creates red tape just to amuse themselves by watching people try to get what they need to live a normal, functioning life. Good luck resolving this mess, hopefully someone will see the load of crap this really is and expedite you getting your license back.

Martha said...

And here I was, waving happily at you and Mr. M. coming home on Monday in the van-morrison...thinking "How sweet is that, they both took Little Darling #2 to her first day of school".

Little did I know it was our version of "Driving Miss Dodi!"

Hey, remember: there is always that nice neighborhood school within walking distance (snicker snicker...Mrs. Kravitz, back me up on this PUHLEASE!)

Good Luck digging out of this mess. Revenue generating or not, it is a pain in the arse!

ganelle said...

If I had to be home without the ability to drive, I think I would LOSE it! How I ever managed to survive until I was 16 is beyond me!

Dodi said...

It is the lack of "alone time" that is getting to me. I've not been alone since Sunday - not really. I've been by myself in parts of the house that are quieter than others... but I do miss my driving-in-the-car-by-myself time, or being home in an empty house. I LOVE that Husband is home, so the driving by myself part is the part that is really getting to me.

Next week he does have to be gone - which will mean I am more trapped than I am this week. And, next week I have to do the bulk of the legwork on getting the license reinstated. Wish me luck!!!!

Mrs. Kravitz said...

Of course I back you up, Martha! I would love to see the darling daughters walking to and from school with my youngsters.

This has just made me so much more aware of all the times a complete stop is not really what it should be and I've been a little impatient in the school zone. Thanks for being such a great voice of warning to us all.

Good luck with all the red tape. I'm here for you next week -- I'm more than happy to chauffeur you around! (But I WILL make you sit in the back... hee hee!)

Dodi said...

I'll gladly sit in the back. Baby Kravitz has funnier stories!