A First Time for Everything

Oy, what a day. It was fuller than I expected.

It started with a meeting at 10 a.m.; it was only a half hour. Sweet! (We are very conscientious about ending meetings on time; we assign someone to keep track.)

Then a project leader called about supplies for a large project on Saturday (it morphed from a simple mural and mulch project to a huge painting/gardening one for an elementary school). No one had ever trained me as to procedure on how to get supplies to leaders. I’d been copied on the emails between the agency and leaders, and I skimmed them, assuming they were sent as a courtesy to keep me in the loop. Last week while I was out ill, the leader sent a list of supplies needed and ended with, “Let me know if I need to fax this to anyone.” I dutifully skimmed and filed the email. I was playing catch-up, and it got by me.

Yesterday the other co-leader emailed a long list of supplies, and this time I went to a supervisor to ask how to proceed. They needed to get them today, because the entire staff will be out of the office tomorrow. We would have to rush and gather items (paint brushes, trays, drop cloths, rakes, wheelbarrows, hoes).

Ah, but we had scheduled another meeting, and we had to follow through. It ended at noon.

Our agency stores project supplies at a non-profit in Pacifica (who lets us use space for free). Pacifica is 50 miles from my office. We were to meet the project leader there at 1 o’clock to give him access and help him load his truck. However, I was assigned to go to Home Depot on the way to purchase paint sponges and more brushes. It takes about an hour to drive there without that detour, and I had exactly an hour available.

I made the purchase (no thanks to Home Depot staff who didn’t know where anything was). I had clear directions from Google. I was mellow despite the fact I was already 20 minutes late. I motored slowly through the sleepy suburban hills of Pacifica at 20 miles an hour, headed down a hill looking for street signs for Oddstadt Boulevard, when suddenly I heard the whoop of a police car and saw lights flashing.

What? Who, me? I pulled over. Mr. Policeman gets out of the car and walks up to my window. “Good afternoon, ma’am,” he says. I said hello. He said, “Did you not see that stop sign back there? You didn’t stop.”

Huh? No, I honestly had not seen a stop sign. I didn’t even know how far back it was. This is not a bustling town; there was no traffic on the road at all. (It was a 3-way stop at a T-intersection; I was on the main road.) I said, “No sir, I’m sorry, I really didn’t. I’m not familiar with the area. I’m trying to get to the Boys & Girls Club.”

Mr. Cop: “Where do you live?”
“Santa Clara.”
“Well, I believe they have stop signs there too.”
“I’m sorry, I simply didn’t see the sign. I’m trying to find Oddstadt Boulevard.”
“Do you have an outstanding warrants or are you on parole?”
“No sir.”
“Have you ever gotten a ticket before?”
“No, I’ve never had a traffic ticket.”
“Well, I need to see your license, registration, and proof of insurance. I’ll be happy to give you directions in a moment.”

I handed over the requested items (why did my hand tremble?), and he returned to his car. There he sat for 10 long minutes. He returned with a ticket in hand and explained that I need to deal with the office in South San Francisco (crap! so far away!), and that I can probably get the points removed if I take a driving class. I asked what the ticket cost, and he said that’s determined by the court.

As I signed the ticket (which he said “is not an admission of guilt”), he added that police cars have video cameras now, and they are recording all the time. “So we have proof in case you decide to contest the charges.” Then he cheerfully directed me to the street I sought. I was less than half a mile from my destination.

I’ve never ever gotten a ticket for a moving violation. I’ve been lucky, I guess. But I was disappointed in myself. I felt unhappy because here I am, trying to do my job which for the moment has become another fire to put out (driving to Pacifica was not on my agenda for the day), and I’m honestly unsure of where I am, and damn, I get a ticket. So much for the myth of first offenders getting off with a warning. (But at least my life doesn’t bore me!)

I made it to my destination and handed over the paintbrushes, and after that had another meeting to attend. At 3:30 I headed home.

Relieved to get home without being stuck in highway hell, I kicked off my shoes and headed for my favorite seat, the green sofa. There, where I usually sit, was a little pile of partly digested cat food. Oh, a gift from one of the cats (Stella)! In all the years she’s been with us she’s never actually barfed on the furniture. This sofa was the Big Purchase we made a few Christmases ago. It has now been thoroughly christened. I cleaned it up; fortunately it was, er, not one of her wetter, messier bouts.

But still!

I believe these events qualify me for a comfort-food dinner tonight.

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4 Comments on “A First Time for Everything”

  1. TP Says:

    One of TxDPS’s finest deflowered my moving-violation virginity back in November ’03 while we on the way back from Houston. 80 in a 70 on the bypass outside of Lagrange. Apparently that stretch is a reliable source of income for Fayette County.

    Happens to the best of us once in awhile. Hooray for the redemptive properties of the driver safety course.

  2. nikkirae Says:

    You definately deserve the comfort food.

    *cheers* to living life to the fullest. *smile*


  3. Shirl Says:

    Comfort food absolutely!!!

    I’m waiting for Snuzzles to leave me such a present. *sigh*

  4. Marilyn Says:

    I’ll say! What a coupla day you’ve had!