When you read the title of this post you might think I'm all excited about getting a ticket. Well, I am, but not in a good way. See, it's not like a ticket to a basketball game or a lottery ticket or a ticket to travel across the country on a train, this is a traffic ticket. For the first time in my 51 years of driving, I've gotten a traffic ticket. Frankly, I'm really peeved about it. It was so unnecessary. Six months ago my driver's license expired. For whatever reason the state doesn't send you a message stating that it's expired, you're just supposed to remember that after five years, you need to renew your license. Well, let me ask you, do you remember to drain some water out of the bottom of your water heater tank every year? In the fall do you change the filters in your furnace? Are you remembering to check the belts, hoses and filters in your car every time you change the oil? Do you change the oil when the manufacturer recommends, or do you wait until the idiot light comes on? It just seems like it wouldn't be too difficult for the state to send out a reminder every five years before your drivers license expires. I don't know, maybe I expect too much. Its just one of those out of sight out of mind things. My wife remembered though, and frankly, she's told me more than a few times to get online and renew it. Because we live in a remote Alaskan village where there is no motor vehicles office, we are allowed to renew online. Sounds great doesn't it? If only it was. Yesterday I finally remembered that I needed to get the job done. I got on the state DMV website and filled out all the information. I hit the send button and promptly got a message that my information didn't match the records the state had. I copied the info right from the license that they had issued me five years earlier. Thinking that I might have copied something down wrong, I entered the info again. Again the same message popped up. After the third time it happened, I looked up the link to contact them. There was a message from the state mentioning that due to the high volume of business because of the new Id's that the feds require, that the state encourages you to do your business online. Yeh.... OK... I sent whomever a note mentioning my problem. To my surprise someone wrote back and asked if I had put in my height and weight correctly. I responded that I had. Then they wrote back and asked if I had entered my birth date correctly. I responded that I had. Then they didn't write back. I guess because it was Friday and they wanted to get an early start on the weekend. So I didn't get to renew my license online like I was planning and indeed was encouraged to. That was the beginning of sorrows.
Earlier this year when I was driving my "92" Silvarado, I heard a noise coming from under the shift column on the floor. I managed to drive it up to the only mechanic in town with a shop. He climbed underneath and saw that a rod of some kind that connects to the shift lever had come out of it's yoke. It was a mystery to him how that could have happened. Of course he'd never seen anything like that before. Go figure, if it's never happened before, it will happen to me. Anyway, he got it put back where it belonged, but after that I had no four wheel drive. I don't think it was anything he did wrong, it just happened. In any event, we've had snow for the past week or so, and without chains or four wheel drive, it's almost impossible to drive on the ice and snow. I couldn't even pull out of my driveway yesterday. My daughter is out of town so we're watching her two cats, and she said to use her car if we needed to. It has all wheel drive and gets around fairly well in the snow. Anyway, the cats are at her house, and the streets are really slippery, and not wanting to fall and end up in the hospital, Jan and I decided to drive my daughters car to the house to feed the stupid cats. I decided to drive out to the airport to warm up the vehicle. It was pitch black out, so I had the lights on. As I was returning to town to deal with the cats, a car was coming toward me. I shut off the brights, not wanting to be rude and blind the other guy. As it turns out, I shouldn't have been so courteous. The car passed me, turned into the driveway of the forest service building and proceeded to turn on his red and blue flashing lights. It turns out that my daughter's car doesn't have low beams on the drivers side of the car. Sooooo... I got pulled over. Let me tell you, it's totally humiliating to be sitting on the side of the road with a cop car pulled up behind you with the lights flashing. To make matters worse, the lights are brilliant and reflect in the mirrors, blinding you. I turned the rear view mirror up so that it wasn't reflecting in my eyes, and ended up putting my hat on the drivers side mirror to try and save my sight, but I couldn't do anything about the passenger side mirror. To top it off, the traffic stop lasted in excess of forty five minutes. It turns out that the cop's computer was running really slow. Of course, what else would you expect where I was concerned. I accepted the ticket when I finally got it, and let him know, just for future reference, that in the event that they have to stop any old guys, keep in mind that most of us are dealing with a prostate problem. That means after about fifteen to thirty minutes, we probably have to pee. As I explained last night, I know you're supposed to stay in the car during a traffic stop, but given the choice between peeing my pants and getting shot when I stepped out of the car to relieve myself, I was strongly leaning towards dry pants and a bloody torso. I was fortunate that I hadn't had iced tea for supper and had used the bathroom before we left the house or the night might have ended much differently. As I mentioned, none of it had to happen. If my daughter had her light fixed, I wouldn't have been pulled over. If I had been able to download the license as I should have been able to, I wouldn't have gotten a ticket. As it is, I'm going to be out $95.00 just because we had to go feed the cats. Maybe I can start a go fund me page. I can use the money to educate police departments across the country about the aging population and the effect of age on the bladder. Any extra money can go to buy Depends for the baby boomer population for use on any road trips longer than fifteen minutes.