The Traffic Citation

Sarah and Jason

About a month ago a dear friend of mine, Sarah, was having surgery. On the morning of the surgery I went to Mass and offered my communion up for her, but I felt a tugging in my heart to go and be with her. I drove directly to Kaiser Hospital in Anaheim, parked God knows where and went up to the surgery floor. I could not find where Sarah was, so I called Jason, Sarah’s husband, who told me to meet him in the cafeteria. I was on  the second  floor with a clear view of the cafeteria, but I did not see Jason. I called him again only to find out I was at the wrong Kaiser Hospital. Sarah was at the Kaiser is Irvine, about half an hour away. I went home, had my coffee and Ezekiel toast, and then drove to Irvine.

The long ticket

Using the GPS on my phone, I typed in the address. The direction instructed me to exit on a toll road. I was not going to fall into that trap because I do not have the proper tags to use the toll road and did not want to pay any fees. I exited on the next street, which is a really crazy busy boulevard, leading to the Irvine Spectrum. I started to pray because as the GPS was rerouting, I had to made a huge decision as to which of the five lanes to take. I was a little preoccupied with making sure to turn in the right direction when a motorcycle police officer flashed his light on me.  The officer and I went through the usual formalities, then he left my presence for a few minutes. When he returned, I was surprised that he had a really long ticket for me. “Why are you giving me a ticket?” I asked. In a stoic voice, the officer answered, “I almost hit your vehicle because of your sudden stop.”  “So you’re giving me a ticket? I was stopped because I was allowing the pedestrians to pass.”  Officer: “If you were turning, your wheels were not indicating that, and you were not completely in the turning lane.”  I asked him if he knew how much the ticket was going to cost me; he answered $200. The unfriendly officer suggested I attend traffic school. The last time I got a ticket was over 25 years ago.

I finally arrived at the right hospital and was able to pray for my friend before her surgery.  The Devil is always up in my business; my attacks come in unexpected ways to discourage my walk. I was upset about the distraction, but I put my emotions on pause to do what God asked of me. I stayed with Jason until Sarah was out of surgery.

It was a beautiful day, and as I exited the revolving doors of the hospital I took a deep breath and thanked God for Sarah’s successful surgery. Then I remembered the stupid ticket.

My husband never accepts this type of news well, so I was going to spare him, and not tell him… yet. The week before, a back part my front tooth had fallen out, and my other tooth needed redoing as well. This expense was well into the thousands, so we were just getting over the shock of  the unexpected expenditure, right before our trip to Europe.  To add this ticket to the pile was just going to be another week of Mike reminding me not to use the credits cards.

Before I told Mike about the citation, I wanted to get the ticket in my hands and investigate the full cost. About a week later the ticket arrived in the mail. Mike was out of town and I had gone to lunch with my friend Helen. As we turned the corner to my house, Mike’s car was in the driveway; he arrived earlier than expected. Well, what happened next is what God always does to me  in His humor.  Mike had the mail in his hands when I walked in. I felt like that character in the movie “The Color Purple” asking Mike, “Did anything come for me?” Much to my surprise, Mike handed me  the odd -sized envelope with the citation.

I opened the mail only to discover that the citation was closer to $300. I quietly left the room with the biggest pit in my stomach. I called for more information; aside from the ticket, there were court fees, and let’s not forget about the traffic school charges. I walked back into the room and told Mike. He exclaimed,”I just got the bill for the dental work, and now this!”  I was brave and answered “Yeah, but it really wasn’t my fault!” I was lying, and I knew it was all my fault. Finally the air cleared, and the conversation turned to, “Please do not use the credit cards until I can knock them down, especially,  TJ Maxx!” I could live with that.

I need to go back to my youth to explain why I operate like this. I have this innate fear of approaching these delicate matters. It was instilled into me by  my mother. When a young man would ask me out on a date, I would inform my mom early in the week, and she would say, “It’s Monday, and too early to ask if you can go out.” So when Thursday rolled around, I’d asked again, and her answers would be, “Why are you asking at the last minute? You should not go out with boys if they ask you out a day before!” My mother’s ambiguous reply scarred me. This went on most of my dating years, so this fear has transcended into my adult life. My daughter Sonja said that I reacted the same way with her. Sonja claims that when she was invited to sleepovers, I told her she was too young, and when she got older she claims that I told her she was too old.

The not so funny Comedy School traffic school
Almost done with traffic school

So now I’m almost done with my online traffic school, instead of the 6 hours, it has taken me over 9 hours. The good news is that I’ve become a better driver, because I never want to get another ticket again, and the next time I’m taking to toll road.

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