I spend the afternoon at our new house, unpacking our kitchen, doing laundry, and trying to keep Hattie happy while still being productive myself. Finally, I give in to her whining and decide to go home. I notice that it's 5 pm..."Perfect timing," I think to myself. So I decide to experiment. Rather than take the roads through town and to the freeway that loops around Lubbock, I decide to try Milwaukee, a road near the outskirts of town with fewer stoplights and perhaps less traffic. Maybe it'll prove a faster route between our two houses.
So I coast along, talking with my mother-in-law on the phone, and I see a policeman ahead (You should know that there are an uncanny number of policeman here in Lubbock. I hear there's one for every 100 people and that there is one living at every apartment complex. I see them everywhere). "Hum, I wonder what the speed limit is out here...probably 50." I glance down and see that I'm going about 53 and keep going (Lesson 1: Never assume you know the speed limit). Of course the lights turn on, and I laughingly tell Jessie that I have to hang up.
The cop is very nice...apparently it is a 45 zone (I'm just glad it isn't a school or construction zone). And, just my luck, I don't have my car insurance on me since we barely changed policies. So I am cited for speeding and having no insurance. My first speeding ticket ever, after almost 11 years of driving. Paul laughs at me when I get home.
So this morning I arrive at the court promptly at 8:30, hoping to miss the lines. Somehow, everyone else in Lubbock has the same idea (Lesson 2: Don't assume that the lines will be short in the morning). So after desperately trying to keep Hattie happy, I go up to pay. I bring my insurance with me to dismiss that charge and they tell me my options: I can pay $99 and take a defensive driving course and the ticket will be erased from my record, or I can pay the ticket in full, and be on driving probation for 3 months (meaning I can't get another citation) and the ticket will be erased from my record. She realizes that I have an Oregon driver's license, so it ends up that I cannot choose the defensive driving option. So, $153 later, I pay for my first traffic violation ever*.
They also tell me that I have to get a Texas driver's license, even though my Oregon one is good until 2013. I ask why. They say that then I can select the defensive driving class option the next time I get a ticket. Then they say that if I were in an accident they would more easily be able to identify me and get help. Makes sense, but it doesn't really seem to necessitate the change. I ask again, if those were the only reasons. They say that I could be cited for not having a Texas driver's license if I were pulled over again.
Now, I love Texas, but that seems a little extreme. Getting a ticket for having an out-of-state driver's license? They said that students were exempt, but not wives of students. Has anyone else ever heard of this in other states?
I must admit, I won't mind getting a new driver's license...the photo on my current one was taken on our wedding day, so my hair is formal and my smile ridiculously large.
*I did receive a ticket when I was 16 for running a stop sign, but I didn't pay for it since I went to teen court. I'll have to save that story for another day.