I drove blind pig drunk for five accident & ticket free years. Part of that time I worked for the Parking Violations Bureau, doing collections, tracking down & harassing deadbeat scofflaws. At 40, just over the invisible age line of so cute a wink and a nod makes trouble disappear, I moved to Brooklyn and began my own parking ticket collection. I like to think of the NYC PVB as Adult Ed, with tuition payments on an installment plan.
Over the past 10 years I’ve studied:
- Ancient History: If the street opposite the cut in the curb no longer exists, it’s still considered a pedestrian ramp ($165)
- Metaphysics: Bus stops expand to fill the space allotted to them by the next traffic sign, even if that next traffic sign is three blocks away ($115)
- Philosophy: Inspections & registration stickers are equal in the eyes of the DMV, a dashboard & a windshield, however, are not ($65 each)
- Art : The Braille method of parallel parking dents your license plates, rendering them, um, dented ($65)
- The New Math : 15 feet + fire hydrant = 30 feet ($115)
- English as a Foreign Language : A “5 minute pit stop” does not mean the same thing to everyone ($115 – double parking).
- Conflict Resolution, Remedial Level : I believe in my constitutional right to risk my life. If I want to stab myself in the leg repeatedly with a fork (I do not), it ain’t nobody’s business if I do. The officer agreed in theory. In fact, however, he looked at me, cocked his head and handed me a ticket, mumbling about safety, seat-belts, my congressmen & something sounding suspiciously like “crazy old broad”. I repeated this class several times & despite prior knowledge of the questions, I never came up with the right answers. ($225)
- Advanced Economics – transfer credits: Cellphone violations started at $160. I bought a Bluetooth for $20 and went straight to the head of the class
I finally got the hang of parking tickets – okay, not really, but I did get a garage so I don’t get them anymore. Okay, not really, but I don’t get as many. I’ve managed to total three cars without a single moving violation. Apropos of that, I’ve also earned a theater degree without reading Shakespeare and a BA without the SATs. It’s a knack, I’m blessed. Past tense. At 50 I moved to Queens, shifted it all into overdrive and enrolled in an advanced degree in moving violations, points and higher insurance rates.
Speeding Ticket Math
(40 mph > speed limit = 8 points) ÷ (prematurely white hair) = (4 pts) + (chatty call to the court clerk about an imaginary “maniac” chasing me on the highway*) = [-1 pt]) = (3pts) *I pictured Christopher Walken. I picture Christopher Walken whenever an opportunity presents itself.
Running of the Red Lights – a play in one act
He wondered : Where were you going in such a rush?
I thought : Well, the truth is I have to pee, really badly.
I said : I was so close when it turned I was afraid to slam on the brakes. (which wasn’t even close to the truth, stopping hadn’t even crossed my mind.)
He said : Well, the speed limit is 35 and if someone were going slightly over the limit I could see how that would be hard to stop (translation: Please stop talking. Don’t make me give you a speeding ticket on top of this. Only your white hair is saving you ).
I shut up. Finally.
Effective July 1, 2008, the surcharges on New York speeding tickets and other traffic tickets increased from $50 to $60, increasing again to $80 on August 1, 2008. This surcharge must be paid in addition to the fine on any New York State moving violation conviction.
The fine was listed on the back of the ticket ($150). Plus a surcharge ($60) . Paying online I discovered the secret fine print extra extra surcharge ($20). Wait. What? $230? and 3 more points?!?!?
Next time I’ll just pee myself and buy a new pair of pants.