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November 21, 2008

No no... thank YOU, Officer.

Yesterday I got a ticket. My very first ever actual TICKET. Mind you I was once caught driving through Mississippi doing 67 in a 35 MPH zone and managed to get off with a warning -- so I am no angel -- but the ONE time I was not actually even VIOLATING THE LAW I got a ticket from an officer whose real name is obviously A. Jerkoffe. I think he was German or something, from the surname. BUT it IS legal to make a right on red unless posted and it wasn't posted, which I pointed out with great dramatic gesturing as I got out of my car and got my camera out to document. So then he changed the ticketing excuse ON THE FLY and made up some bullhockey thing about me not stopping for three full seconds at the red light which was a baldfaced lie, clearly it was quota day and the man wanted his toaster. So he wrote me a ticket as I watched my morning disintegrate as I of course missed the bus but ran to try to catch it anyway and pulled a muscle in my left leg and spent the rest of the day hobbling and also, mad. Really really mad.

And when you tell people about your (stupid and not even illegal-based!!) ticket you immediately discover who has been in Los Angles forever and who has either never visited this ridiculous city or who has not lived here for enough time to grow a scabby wall of malaise around their heart. Yet.

Those who are not Los Angelenos will say, "Are you going to fight it?" or "You should fight it! Tell the judge what he did and they'll dismiss it!" and you look at them with wide-eyed mystery. Because they are so innocent, and hopeful. Like Bambi in the first ten minutes of the movie. You wonder if you were yourself once that innocent, if you were once a person who believed in The System, too. Because it's sweet and naive and you really don't have the heart to explain to them that taking a day off work and sitting through eight hours of traffic court in Van Nuys is about as useful -- and pleasant -- as getting all the hairs plucked off your body one by one with scorching hot tweezers. And in the end of course I am not A) a celebrity or B) a cop or C) the son of a prominent Orange County Sheriff's official, so I would have to pay the ticket anyway. Useless. Painful.

Those who are Los Angelenos, though, listen to you complain endlessly about your stupid (not illegal!) ticket and then say: "Hey! I know a great guy who is still waiting on his SAG card and he's teaching comedy traffic school somewhere off Sunset right now, you want his number?"

Or they say, "Hey! You live in the Valley! I heard there was a new stripper aerobics traffic school in Sherman Oaks somewhere, you ought to try it, I hear it's great for your core! Way better than Pilates Traffic School!" And then they go on to tell you about the time they took traffic school and Sinbad was in their class and kept trying to be funnier than the (not-yet-SAG) stand-up teacher.

And a fair amount of my morning drive in to work (2 hours, ten minutes! Awesome! Thanks, Los Angeles!) was spend envisioning specific parts of Officer Krupke's anatomy falling off dramatically with great oozing pain and only later did I realize that I thought these mean, hateful, CRUEL thoughts with such vigor and enthusiasm that if his penis does indeed detach in leprosy fashion from his body it might be my fault. I knew it was wrong to think such things. I know only bad people have such vengeful, colorful evil fantasies. BUT rather than feeling bad about being such an agent of evil, I just felt AWESOME and hoped to give him syphilis with my mind. Which makes me a crappy human being, I know, and frankly I should feel worse about this. But it's so hard trying to be good all the time, and think good thoughts and wish everyone well especially when you live in a place where it's more likely to get a ticket for NOTHING AT ALL than to have someone answer 911 as your house is being broken into. You get put on hold when you dial 911 here. For HOURS. And the hold music is really bad.

Maybe I 'm just not cut out to be a good person. Maybe I would rather drink 9/10 of a bottle of wine and make catty remarks about fashion with my friends than think happy, healing thoughts about stupid traffic cops. Maybe I am going straight to hell. One can only assume I am on a one-way street with a direct diamond lane to Hades, no right turns on red needed.

Right after I complete stripper aerobics traffic school, of course.

Posted by laurie at November 21, 2008 9:13 AM