One of the many things I had to do while Kent was in Texas was appear in court.
You see, I put together a birthday dinner for one of my friends about a month ago. I was meeting the other 13 or so women at the restaurant. I curled my hair, put on a silk shirt, and took Kent’s car. I was hurrying because I was kind of in charge, and didn’t want to be late.
Parking at this restaurant is a pain on a good day, but this was 8pm on a weekend night, and it was raining. I saw one car pull out leaving an empty spot just as I passed the side entrance. There are two signs that say no U-turn on the road I was on, so I scanned for cops, and spun around. As I pulled into the parking lot, the blue lights came on behind me. BUSTED.
Okay, what’s my strategy here? If you are a woman, and you have ever been pulled over, you have at least considered trying to flirt your way out of it. I hate flirting to try to get something. It’s so obvious and tawdry. And frankly, I’m really, really bad at it. I have been told I have kind of a mildy flirtatious baseline personality, but that’s when I’m being normal. Whenever I have tried to flirt, it’s been a disaster. Seriously, unwatchable. Kent only married me because we were platonic friends for 8 years. If I’d tried to flirt with him, forget it.
Then there’s this whole dynamic of how you need to be hotter than the cop you’re flirting with so he feels like you’re doing him a favor and he’s getting something out of it. Hmmm. I was in my full Girls Night Out regalia, and my ride had not been mommed. So perhaps I stood a chance?
Then Mr. Uniform strides up. He’s super tall, and super hot and 10 years younger than me. He was like a parody of a hot cop. I almost laughed out loud, he was that good looking. Yeah, I’m getting a ticket, I thought.
Naaaaaaaaaturally, Kent had let his inspection expire on the car as well, so boom. Moving violation and driving on expired registration.
“I don’t suppose you can let me go with a warning?” I asked. “We’ll see,” said Hot Cop, and went back to check my driving record.
Friends of mine clicked past, flashing blue lights reflecting on their wet umbrellas, as they walked into the restaurant. Mentally I started going through what light fixtures I would have to lose in the house to pay for this ticket.
“I’m going to let you go on the U-turn, and the expired registration. I’m giving you a citation for the expired inspection. If you get it updated, and go into the court on this date, they will probably waive it and let you go without even any points on your license.”
I gushed! I believe I called him “an angel”. I told you: unwatchable.
So fast forward a month. I enter the Fairfax Court House towing two little blonde boys. The guards go through my purse and ask me what this polished nickel cabinet pull is supposed to be. I sneak in to a very full auditorium and find a couple of seats. The chairs are the kind that your body weight holds open, and the boys are so light, they keep getting folded up in the chair they are sharing. We listen to 40 minutes of shoplifting, drug, and traffic cases being called. The judge passes through each one with lightning speed and decisiveness. The boys are on the best behavior I have ever witnessed whispering in charming baby voices to each other. I think they believe they’ve been taken to a movie theater. I am the only white woman in the room other than the bailiff. I start this long reflection on systemic problems in our criminal justice system.
Judge: Heather Craw?
I leave the boys alone on the back row, and walk all the way down to the microphone.
Judge: You’ve been charged with blah, blah. How do you plead?
Me: No contest.
Judge: What have you done to rectify the situation since the night of this ticket? Did you get the inspection updated?
Me: It was my husband’s car, so I made him do it.
Laughter in the court room. The judge looks completely unamused.
Judge: It doesn’t matter whose car it is. You’re responsible for the car you’re driving.
Me to self: Great. I was trying to be ingratiating, but he thinks I was being a smart-a.
Me: I borrowed it to go to a birthday party, and I didn’t look at the registration.
Another laugh in the courtroom.
Me to self: STOP TALKING! Why are you defending yourself, Moronicus Rex? You knowingly made an illegal U-turn in a car with expired registration. No one cares about your stupid birthday party. You would seriously rather get a laugh from this crowd of fellow miscreants than get this ticket expunged, you inveterate ham. You had one job. I will never trust you again.
Judge: Well, I’m going to let this go with a warning this time, but you are responsible for the car you’re driving.
Me to self: DON’T YOU DARE, DON’T YOU DARE, DON’T YOU DARE! Take all those snappy remarks like, “I caught that the first time” and “I know that now” and “I’ll for sure tell my husband that, too” and bury them deep down in your soul.
Me: Thank you.
And then my row neighbor sort of congratulated me as I collected my offspring, and the guards were super nice and chatty with me and the boys on the way out. I considered getting a selfie of me and the kids in front of the judge, but decided to quit while I was ahead.
Woohoo! I broke the law and didn’t pay for it. Thanks, Hot Cop. You’re an angel.