Friday, March 6, 2009

1-C

DISCLAIMER: Those who are new to my blog, please read the small definition of my blog above. That might help you understand why I wrote this. Secondly, am sure many of you wont like this. So, I would really appreciate if you could write down your criticisms in the comments section. Finally, 98% of whats written below is true , its upto you to figure out the rest 2%. And lastly, the title of this blog is inspired by Leon Uris's QB-7. If you are unaware of QB-7 than never mind!
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PART I: THE CAUSE

It was Nov 29th 2008 , a bright sunny day, and I was on my way to the JFK International Airport, to drop off my girl friend who was flying back to India. With the infamous NY traffic always at the back of my mind, I tried to cover up as much time as possible before we cross the state border and enter New York. Now here I need to mention the car that I was driving, because it's the main protagonist in this story. I was driving a Chevrolet Impala LS with a 3.5 L V6 engine, which had been on the road only for 6 months! And for someone who drives a V4 Toyota Camry everyday, it was quite an adrenalin rush!

So, here I was on I-84 and along with many others, was going at about 85-90 mph (the limit on this stretch has been 58-65 mph for years!). Although am a very sober guy with just a few ounces of hooliganism (which is exposed after 8-10 shots only) and although I had no intention to cross the speed limit by more than 10 mph, but yet I did it , and I sincerely think that the damn CAR is to be blamed!!!. Because had it been my old horse, it would have warned me once I go beyond 75 mph with its characteristic mild vibrations!!

Just as we crossed a town called Waterbury, the car in front of me slowed down (I was on the left lane!). Its frustrating to be on the left lane and go at a snails pace! So I lean on the gas a little to pass him, and I'm back on my merry way.

That was it ! the moment I cut the old man or may be a Chinese (that's a guess coz he was below the limit!), I could hear a squad car behind me and then could see the 100 flashing lights from 1 car ( a waste in itself!). Immediately, my GF gives me the biggest "I told you so... " speech of all time. I already felt like the biggest bonehead in the world. I thought I was screwed. ....
Needless to say that I didnt want my birth certificate to be useless from that day, and so like a law abiding driver, I stopped.

"Sir, you were doing 85 on a 58! whats your problem?"

"Dyslexia!" .. .. I wish I could say! Instead came the reply "Oh! really ! am sorry about that!" (yeah right it should have been 'short term memory loss' instead of dyslexia!)

"You don't know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?"

That was my LESSON# 1 : Never F*** around with cops ... coz you never know which one turns out to be intelligent!

Anyways, despite my best puppy dog eyes, he takes my license goes back to his car , makes me wait for 10 mins (I had all sorts of thought in those 10 mins- from license cancellation, to jail to being deported) while the "I told you to .." speech continued in the background ...
Finally after the most painful 10 mins he comes back with the infamous "pink slip" .. a $ 400 ticket ! My offenses: "going 85 in a 58 zone"- $300 and "passing on the right!!!!!!!!!" $ 100. This second offence made me realize that USA still have officers who watch a lot of "Imandaar Police officer" movies!

"You can either pay the amount in full or contest the ticket in court, sir", said the man in uniform.

PART II: THE EFFECT

With two options in hand, I selected the the second one i.e to go to the court and try and reduce the amount of money I had to pay. A lot of thoughts, discussions, tips and advices finally led me to this decision. I was almost termed as a psycho who walks in the corridors of the health center building and stops any known face and asks "Did you ever get a speeding ticket? Did you defend it? ...". To my surprise everyone seemed to have an idea about speeding tickets!! Even the guy whose stories of delaying people by being in the car in front of them are legendary .... had something to tell me bout speeding tickets !!!! Thank god .. human beings are so very helpful!
Beside all these what really led me into this decision was the fact that according to reliable legal analysists, for every idiot who wins a case, thousands of other imbeciles don't make it that far!!!!!

So I finally got a hearing date on March 6th 2009 .... after 3 months of my crime! In those 3 months, I always had the fear of being busted even when driving on the most nondescript streets in town!
And, despite some very ingenious advices like "Dont show up and they will forget the case" or "Tell them that it was a racial discrimination" (yeah right... when the cop himself was an african-american !!! ), I went to the court with a PLAN. the plan was to tell the judge that I was "over the limit" because of the following reasons: The car, My "first" drive on the highway, my GF's flight to India (I got the boarding pass scanned from her) and then to request him to reduce the charges.

Never in my life I had been to any kind of courtroom before! So naturally the moment I entered court room 1-C, I was a little disappointed! Why? .. because I could not find much similarity between this one and the one I had in my mind (as seen in movies)! So I was kind of "not feeling at home" ! Looking around I couldnt see any scary convict in chains or any judge wearing that funny headgear ! Instead it was a big hall , more like a church, and in place of jesus there was a small dais with 3 simple chairs and a table (without any occupant). And on the right, below the dais there was this 50 something man with a bunch of files (he was the hearing officer). My sense of guilt was considerably reduced when I found that there were almost 100s like me who had similar tickets! And that included some hot babes , elderly ladies, suited-booted gentlemen and snobbish asses!!!!!

Anyways, after waiting for about 15 mins, finally the time came! It was my first and last chance to explain to the officer that unavoidable circumstances literally forced me to cross the speed limit by 27 mph !!!

So, as previously planned and rehearsed, I started:

" Sir, I agree that I was going over the limit but am here to explain that it was completely un-intentional. I was delayed for the airport .. blah blah ... not driving my car .. blah blah ... the car in front of me slowed so I just tried to cross him hence pressed the gas .. blah blah .. its not that I was speeding all throughout ..and finally (with those puppy dog eyes) .. I am a grad student and cant pay the amount .. "

"Am sorry to hear that !!!!!" .... wow ! my trick was working, I thought !

"But unfortunately, you started late for the airport hence you got delayed, ... you chose the car, ... and if you cant look at the speedometer while you drive , I must send you to the driving school once again! Also, the officer had been following you for over 600 fts before he stopped you .... again you didnt notice that ! You didnt show any respect and further pressed on the gas !!!!!!!!!! "

LESSON# 2: Always show respect to the cops

... I could feel my stomach .. again the jail > being deported etc etc scenes were coming back !!!! ...

AND then the final blow:
"You know, you should have paid the full amount .. that would have saved you from getting a point in your license because a point in your license means your insurance will go up .. and its a recurring expenditure!!!" ....

The final Verdict: Pay $ 130 , go home .. with a point in your license.

While coming back, as I crossed that same spot where I was ticketed 3 months back, I told to myself, "Thank god! the speed radar was not accurate! otherwise 90mph would have been a 'reckless driving' charge" !!!!!

LESSON# 3, 4, 5, 6: ... Don't look for small profits ... think long term ! Learn to identify squad cars ! Have your GF sitting beside you and not in the back seat ! AND ALWAYS REMEMBER - for every idiot who wins a case, thousands of other imbeciles don't make it that far!!!!!

6 comments:

sudarshana said...

well i think i figured out the 2%....but that's not imp the question is i thought u dropped one of ur gfs @ JFK so which is this one to newark?

Souro said...

ohhhh !!!!!! what a mess !!
I stand corrected !! :P
it was un-intentional !!

Subha Sarcar said...

Guru darun sikkha pelam , from now on i will respect mamas and their cars
:)

Anonymous said...

She was sitting in the back seat? why is that? For me this one looks like 100% non fictional, am I missing any fiction? I like your take home messages section.

Souro said...

To answer Mr. / Ms / Mrs Anonymous:

1) She was sitting in the back coz I always always get confused with NY roads/exits hence needed someone beside me who knows the exits very well.
2) Thanks for your comments
3) Why dont you identify youself !!! afterall you are not abusing me !!!
Please identify yourself ... i would be obliged :)!

Papa said...

Thats really good lesson for the hurried young chaps like you. Well not to bother about that. I don't know about US peoples, how they make it possible. But its quite tough to follow a limit when you are in a hurry and not concentrating on your driving. Though its required.