So, I got my first ticket today. No, I wasn't speeding. I abhor speeders. It was failure to follow a traffic control device. In other words, I took a right on red where I wasn't supposed to.
I'd been taking that exit to work for a year, yet somehow I had never noticed what the officer said were "two or three signs back there." Even scarier is the fact that I thought the light was green. I didn't tell him that.
It all happened so fast, too. I turned, my destination -- the building where I work a few days a week in downtown Atlanta -- in sight. Next thing I know blue lights, the fuzz, smokey was right behind me.
My first thought was, "I need to get out of his way, so he can go get whoever he is after."
Then my second thought was, "Oh, he's after me." OK, so I cleaned it up a little.
Then my third thought was, "Well, it must be a tail light or a brake light or something that I can blame my husband on."
But, no, it was moi. All moi.
Then I had to decide where to pull over. I couldn't block the exit ramp, so I cruised on a little farther. Smokey didn't like this very much. He turned on his siren. I held my finger up as if to say, "One minute, please."
I could tell by his face that he didn't have a minute.
Not wanting it to turn into some kind of slow speed white Bronco chase, my mind raced, "Should I run up on the sidewalk to get out of the street?"
Smokey's face told me, no, I should stop now and block the lane of traffic or else.
The officer marched to the truck and informed me of my crime. All I could think to say was, "I'm sorry!" before he grabbed my license and went back to his patrol car.
"Wait, I haven't had a chance to kill you with kindness!" I screamed (in my mind).
While I was waiting anxiously for his return, I thought about grabbing my phone and texting my friend, "I am being pulled over." Then it dawned on me that might not be the smartest idea with the new law in effect.
A lifetime later, he returned.
"I've written you a citation. Sign here."
'You mean, this is a ticket?"
"But, I only drive up here a few days a week, and my building's in sight, and, and, and ..."
That's when I got the "Ma'am there are two or three signs back there" line.
I don't know what upset me the most, getting the ticket or not being considered cute enough to drive away with a warning.
"You mean, you didn't get out of the truck and shake your silky hair from side to side?" my friend teased. (That's a story for another day.)
But, alas, my warning days must be over. I took my yellow piece of paper and drove off, planning to never, ever, even if you honk, turn right on red again.