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Friday, July 15, 2011

That'll Teach Him...NOT!

Alternate title: December's Lead-Footed Husband's Speeding Ticket, The Sequel.

From time to time I try to remember that LFH is an adult and that I am not his Mother. The fact that he is two decades further along on the path of life than me, and I wasn't ever that kind of mother to my real child anyway, should add validation to this thought process.
The speeding ticket LFH got in December arrived in the mail in due course. We were in no position to cheerfully pay $280 from our business account, which is what we've done in the past and it was too soon after the previous one to be qualified for Tragic School". I was pissed at LFH for many other  stressors so, this being a good pennant carrier for the army of angry thoughts at the time, I decided it was not going to be resolved by me, other than to repeatedly remind him that he had to deal with it. And there was ample time to deal with it.
A few months passed and there was a letter adding $300 to the $280, for non-payment of a ticket. I know that if you go to traffic court and apologize profusely, they will reduce the fine back to the original amount, you pay up and all is forgiven. How did I learn this? Hmm. Another life-enriching experience thanks to the man I married.
Traffic Court is not too far away, in fact, we often drive right by it on the way to lunch. My day-planner has a million notations to get LFH to go there. I even started reminding him that his driving license was expiring, on his birthday, in May, and that it would not be renewed with this fine still pending.
The license renewal reminder came with the usual requirement that this particular horrible driver be obliged to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles and sit the written test to give some assurance to the authorities that he had a clue what he was doing behind the wheel; fact brought into question by his behavior on the public highways.
I took some pity and made him an appointment so that he wouldn't have to wait in line. The appointments are booked six weeks out but he was still eligible to get that in order before the speeding ticket dilemma put the brakes on his privileges. On that fateful day, I drew him a map, gave him his appointment confirmation number and sent him off to take his test. (Usually I go with him to smooth out the bumps in the road ahead, not this time. I wanted him to learn for himself). I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly he returned, less pleased when he told me that he had found out that it was not imperative to sit the test that day. "The lady said that I can come back any time" He smugly announced.
Do the math: It takes six weeks to get an appointment. Deduct time remaining until birthday/license expiration, which was down to three weeks, and speeding ticket handcuff deadline, which was less than that. Predicted results: there was a long waiting line in our future.
More nagging continued in the hope of getting him to see the light (other than those blue and red flashing ones in the rear view mirror) and take action. I had LFH in my car one day after a client meeting and kidnapped him away to the DMV. We waited. We were given a number. We waited some more. Our number was called and we joined a new queue at a sign in window. My miffedness was at molten-lave-ready-to-irrupt stage, directed not at the DMV but at the Guilty One who got me here after all.
Of course it didn't help when we reached the sign-in station, a good forty-five minutes later, and the computer spit out a notice that the test could not be taken until the outstanding ticket had been paid. "No big deal" Gallic Shrug Man said. "Except driving without a license, a crime in itself, means you are not covered by our insurance and, if (or rather when) you get pulled over for something else the police will impound your car" I wasted my breath to tell him.
Last week we went to see the Clerk of Traffic Court. The usual line to get in and through the metal detector with the rest of humanity. Some unexpectedly cordial cops, probably as it was just after lunch. Their uniform buttons straining a bit more than usual; raising the internal pressure on their hearts; making them feel falsely warm and fuzzy. Only one person ahead of us and then a seat at the window to hear what additional ransom might be due. The amount hadn't changed, much to my surprise. We were asked if we wanted to get on the Court Calender to talk to a judge and get the fee reduced. At that stage, the option to pay less another day didn't seem like a good gamble for "One Who Was Driving Without A License". He was ready to pay up and pulled out his bank card. That would have worked, although it was a painful sum, except Ding-Dong had had a security verification call from the bank the day before, questioning  if a ten dollar debit request in another town was valid or fraudulent. Of all the transactions we do by phone, they hit on that one. Due to Ding-Dong's language skills they had to conference in a French speaking person at our branch. No one asked me, so it was decided that, what I would have been able to tell them was a prescription renewal, so that my nasal spray allergy meds could be shipped by mail, rather than me going to the pharmacy, must be an attempt to breach our account. Ding Dong was impressed with himself and had confirmed that the bankers should shut his card down. This left us going into a holiday weekend without access to money or medication.
I'm almost embarrassed to say it; I had brought emergency cash with me, just in case, and pulled out six crisp new bills to hand over the counter.
We had to wait a few days to be sure the records were updated before returning to the DMV. That was this week's task. After the obligatory and interminable wait and the horror of seeing so many very young people receiving permits to join us in traffic, it was finally our turn. The androgynous, but also kind and competent person who was lucky enough to serve us barely blinked when I asked if there was a test available in French. He/She went to a file drawer and returned with the same, multiple choice California driving test, in French. I was impressed. He/She then came out from behind the counter to request that the pale teenage bean-pole, with the enormous Afro hair, stand, rather than sit at the one spot allocated for disabled people. Lead Foot settled in nervously and began to test his knowledge. The biggest surprise of the week was that he passed at the first attempt. He did get the maximum number of mistakes allowed but he is back in the land of legal drivers. He divulged his strategy which, of course, did not include studying the rules of the road handbook. It was to answer each question imagining he could see a police car in his rear view mirror.


  1. Lordy. And this person is still not your ex??? What was that medication you're taking? I want some.

  2. "...answer each question imagining he could see a police car in his rear view mirror." Might it not be a good idea for him to drive this way too?

  3. I'm coming back as a man the next time. And I will have a handmaiden to see to all my needs.
    You could wring their bloody necks at times!

  4. This post has me bewildered. I cannot think of one thing to say. You did not ask for advice; you were venting and sharing a continuing story about your husband. All I can say is I wish you well, and I hope you outlive him. He has it made.

  5. Some days I go through my whole day imagining police cars are in my rear view mirror. Old habits die hard, you know.

  6. I was infuriated just reading the story. I can't even imagine living it. You have the patience of a saint to put up with this silliness.

    He is more like a teenage boy than an adult here--one who simply cannot learn from his mistakes. I don't know what the cure is as usually they outgrow it. *sigh*

    My condolences. At least you don't have to drive him wherever he needs to go--although that might be the only way to avoid future violations.

  7. HOLY @#$%... that's one spendy speeding ticket!!

  8. Dear Lord .
    I've said it before .... I've got one like that too .
    "No one really needs a passport" segues into "Dog licence?" which is followed by "What red lights?" .
    And you're right . It's no use , however tempting , to leave them to sink or swim . The untangling of the resulting drama would be even worse !

  9. Vesna, I should probably take some responsibility for creating this monster:)

    Sue J. I am far from Handmaiden imagery. More Girl Scout Pack Leader.

    TechnoBabe, You are wise. I'd better darn well outlive him!

  10. Steve, you can imagine that I have frequently suggested this.

    Magpie, you have seen the consequences in person.

    Jean, I'd rather drive than be his passenger and teenage mentality is pretty apt.

    Jenny, Horribly wasteful!

    S&S, that's what I learned. He didn't learn a thing.

  11. This also left me a bit nonplussed...

    The overgrown "Peter Pans" among us lost their allure for me a long time ago. I hope you don't suffer unduly from the dent to your bank balance.

  12. Blimey.

    I wouldn't let him out alone. I'd be too worried about the bills he brings home. Don't you have a secure lock-up? Let him have an easel and paints, by all means.

    I wonder, is this true love?

  13. The awful part about this is that by leaving him to his own devices, your life is made worse. I think your situation was the reason the phrase 'between a rock and a hard place' was coined.

  14. e. we'll just keep flailing along.

    Jimmy, there's no alternative but to look on the bright side. Now, what was that bright side?

    Friko, He has mentioned prison as a dream destination, due to the lack of distractions. Of course his imaginary prison is a clean, well-lighted place with all the materials for painting and good French food and wine. Reality-Check anyone?

  15. Deborah, you nailed it. I also think "Damned if you do and damned if you don't" fits the bill.

  16. After reading this story I wonder where is the bright side too.

  17. My miffedness was at molten-lave-ready-to-irrupt stage"

    Hahahaha! My husband once received a speeding ticket in Minnesota. We lived in Colorado. My dad told my husband to see if MN/CO were reciprocal states before disregarding the tickets. He didn't. Ended up costing us a suspension of his license and about $3300 in car insurance from Joe Smow's underground insurance plan. I can so appreciate your ardor in this venture.

  18. I'm impressed by the openness and frankness with which you describe and share the story about your husband's rather irresponsible deeds. Don't loose hope; things might change for better.

  19. Duta: anybody with a husband knows that is wishful thinking! :)

    Thank you for the reminder that I need to renew my driver's license. I will wait for a day I have combed my hair properly...

  20. Vagabonde, most days the bright side is that I have my own car and can mostly avoid the terrifying passenger seat.

    Midlife, at least I don't feel alone.

    Duta, you are very sweet but, as Maggie answered for me, I should use my quota of hopefulness elsewhere, on something that might actually change:)

    Maggie, always glad to be helpful.

  21. good grief!
    I was recently pulled over (much to my surprise, who knew that the hairdryer in the cop's hand was a radar gun?) and informed that I was speeding. Aside from being pleasantly surprised that my little French car is capable of speeding, I was happy to be offered a choice of either a £60 fine and three points on my licence or a Speed Awareness Course lasting 2 hours and costing £95.
    I was tempted to quip that there is nothing the Thames Valley police can teach ME about speeding but thought better of it.
    I don't usually speed, I'm the one with the trail of frustrated motorists behind her but that day I was not so careful.
    An expensive mistake, isn't it?

    PS You must have the patience of a saint

  22. Hello Mouse, That quip was almost worth expressing out loud. I'm not sure the police are allowed to grin in those situations. Early in my relationship with lead-foot, he was speeding in, what turned out to be, an unregistered vehicle. When we were pulled over he immediately told the Gendarme "It's her car".