Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ranting and Raving! And Some Music

I want to have a rant about the fascist charming cops in California and, more specifically, Novato! Have the police got nothing better to do that harass normal, everyday folk as they go about their business?! Why do they feel the need to lie in wait, like praying mantises, waiting to jump out on an unsuspecting public? God forbid we don’t rock our cars completely back on their tyres at one of the interminable stop signs that litter the roadways of northern California.

A friend’s neighbour, in her 80’s and a slow and careful driver, was even caught in a ‘sting’ operation by the local police. Amazingly, they gave her a ticket for driving through an intersection after being waved on several times by the ‘pedestrian’ waiting safely in the central island. What is that all about? My son's teacher recently got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, even though he was! The policeman just couldn't see it clearly as his shirt and the belt were both grey.

And what about all those people who drive around drinking cups of coffee, with fluffy the wonder dog yapping on their lap, while texting at the same time? Do they get pulled over and given a ticket?

The reason I am Mrs Angry today is that I just got stopped for the third time in three years. Before living in America, I had a blemish free license after over 30 years driving, and let me tell you, it's a lot more difficult to drive in England. It’s like I’m a magnet for mean Californian cops with nothing better to do with their time. In some ways, I suppose (grudgingly), it means there is so little crime in Novato that maybe they don’t have anything more pressing to do than hide on corners or set up speed traps. The cynical part of me thinks that they are just trying to make up for the bankrupt mess California was left in by the fiscally brilliant Arnie.

Last time I got a ticket it cost me $450!! For not stopping completely when turning right at a red light when it was clearly visible there were no other cars in sight. The cop even agreed that I was a safe driver and wasn’t driving dangerously as he wrote out the sodding ticket! In the UK the whole point is to keep the flow of traffic moving, not stop and start every other minute! Surely that’s not good for the environment either.

I tried Comedy Driving School to avoid our insurance premiums shooting through the roof, but don’t get me started on that fiasco – HA! – two jokes in eight hours does not a comedy make!

I used to absolutely adore driving and I now find that I am anxious and tense when I get in the car, constantly wondering if I'm going to get stopped for some tiny infraction. I know enough about the Law of Attraction to know this is not good. I try and make positive statements about hassle-free, safe journeys, but all the while my head is swiveling in every direction. I try my best to be a better driver. I stop at stop signs in the middle of nowhere at the dead of night. I wait longer at red lights before turning right, even when I get tooted at by the car behind. I drive like my grandmother on the freeway. But still they get me!

After listening to me rant on for a while my wise and wonderful sister (the Buddhist nun), who is practiced at tuning out my foul vocabulary, suggested that maybe I could look at this current incident in a more positive light. Postive?! How the hell could getting another ticket be positive? Well, she thought, because the Novato speed police were so overzealous, would that mean that drivers slowed down more? Yes, I suppose so, I replied. Would it mean that young kids drove slower?  Hmmm, hopefully. Would that mean it was safer for pedestrians? Probably.  (I was starting to see where she was going, and I wasn't sure I liked it.) Would that mean it might be safer for my kids, when they walked out of school? Um ... maybe. Wouldn’t that make it less likely that one of them got knocked down by a car? Oh, alright then!

I took a deep breath and realized she was right. There is no excuse for speeding, even if I was on a quiet country road with no pedestrians in sight. I am still cross and pissed off about it, but at least I can think about her words and try and find a more positive attitude.

What about you? Have you been stopped recently? If so, what did you get a ticket for? What is your experience of the amount of cops on the road stopping people for having part of their tyre over the line, or not coming to a complete stop, or not wearing a seat belt? Do you think they do a good job or are they just a little over enthusiastic?

To make me feel a bit better, however, and because I am not a nun, I decided to feature a couple of anti-cop songs for the weekend! Enjoy :)

The Clash
Police on my back

The late, great Bob Marley
I Shot the Sheriff


  1. They are overzealous and yet at the same time they never seem to be around when some jerk is on the phone, reading a map and applying lipstick at the same time as they are swerving down the road. That said, Navato is nice. My sister's ex-sister in law lives there.

  2. Ain't that the truth! Apart from the nazi police, Novato is a great place to live. I love it.

  3. Ouch, sounds expensive! I've never got a traffic ticket. Not that I've never done anything wrong, I've just never been caught. I've ended up working for the police. There are two schools of thought on traffic tickets:
    1. They're a voluntary tax. Don't want to pay, don't do anything wrong.
    2. They're jury-f*ckrs. That is, the most common interaction most people have with the police is being given a massive ticket for making a tiny mistake. And they remember that when they're on the jury.

  4. Blah that really really sucks. I got one for not coming to a complete stop once dirty rotton sob was behind me with his headlights off at night..haha

  5. Jen - interesting, not heard that about the jury, but not sure I like that!
    Pat - wow, that was sneaky, maybe you should have turned round and made a citizen's arrest for him driving without lights!!

  6. $450? Wow, that is insane. I'm a new follower. Thanks so much for checking out my book trailer today. Love your blog.

  7. That's a steep fee! I think cops hand out a lot of tickets here because that is revenue for the state. I've had two tickets my whole life, both for speeding. And I was really, really speeding!

  8. Ciara - Thanks. I'm a new follower of yours too :)
    Alex - I agree. How fast were you going then?? I was hardly speeding this time, the cop said 40 (in a 30) but my speedo said 35. Anyway, the fee this time was only (ha) $283.