I’m helping to solve California’s fiscal crisis, but not because I want to.
Just last month, as I was heading back home from Danville's Blackhawk Plaza with my elderly mom, aunt and uncle, I got pulled over in Windemere, where I live, and a very polite San Ramon police officer asked me if I knew why.
“Do you know what you are supposed to do at flashing red lights?” he asked. I realized then that slowing down and looking both ways in the intersection where that light was out wasn’t the right answer, which is what I had done.
I took the high road and confessed, despite the protests and advice of my front and back seat driver family members. My aunt was posturing for a fight; my uncle recommended the silent treatment, and my Mom was fixated on the fact that I should have known better.
Traffic school, here I come, I thought. My mind wandered as the officer took his time writing my ticket. Will I choose improve or comedy school? (Really? What makes traffic school funny?) So many choices.
I swore my family members to secrecy before I pulled back onto the road. No spoiling the weekend by telling my husband. I needed to find just the right moment to reveal the secret, or better yet, devise a devious interception of the ticket.
In the end I did tell all, spurred by the fact that I didn’t feel that bad since my husband had been slapped with a ticket after dozens of years with a clean record, and I had already ragged on him about the eventual bill and his insistence in fighting it to the bitter end.
Little did I know the price of being a scofflaw had gone up — a lot.
I was on a business trip when I spotted an email in big, bold, all cap, red letters — my husband’s warning shot. $541 was the subject line.
$541 for a ticket?
Then he rampaged about the California financial crisis and the state’s thirst for revenue. Scofflaws like me are paying the price for the bailout of our financially-strapped state and city.
Traffic school, here I come. But no funny business. I'll take the straight stuff, online.
Next stop: the poor house.