Saturday, July 17, 2010

The High Price of Bragging

I should have known this would happen.

I was taking a road trip with my friend Larry, who is visiting from Australia. As we drove up Route 15, headed to Shirley Mills and then to Greenville and Rockwood, I noticed that Larry kept glancing down at the speedometer. Assuming that he was having a hard time converting ‘miles per hour’ to kilometers, I asked him what was what.

“Well…” he drawled. “I can’t be gettin’ a ticket here. America and Australia have reciprocal laws, and they’d add points to me license at home if I did that!”

I pooh-poohed his concerns, and then thought I’d do a little bragging.

“Hmmmph! Well, in 30 years of driving, I’ve never gotten a ticket! Not even a PARKING TICKET!”

Larry glanced at me in amazement.

“Geez! You’re a good girl, aren’t you?”

I smiled smugly. Yep, that’s me. A ‘good’ girl.

You’d think I would know better than to make such a foolhardy statement.

But really… who knew you were supposed to put money in those foolish things posted along city sidewalks which look like observation binoculars, anyway?

Yeah. You guessed it. Not three days after bragging about my impeccable driving record, I had to go to Portland to meet with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Her office is, of all places, at the Portland Fish Pier. Suffice it to say that by the time I’d driven up and down Commercial Street, in and out of full parking lots and back and forth in front of the waterfront, I was getting flustered. The downtown area was packed with people, flooded with vehicles, and oozing heat and humidity. The air conditioner was not working in my truck, either. I was hot, and I was bothered, and I was lost… so when I saw that twelve foot long parking slot open up, I pulled my twenty-one foot Dodge into it and thanked my lucky stars for the opportunity. I gathered my belongings, locked the truck, and started hoofing it, determined to find Pingree’s office on foot.

Seriously… who knew you were supposed to put money in those things, anyway? I never guessed. It wasn't until I returned home that I realized I'd received the ticket... at first, I thought some civic minded person had given this country gal a map to the city of Portland, politely tucked under the wiper blade of my pick-up. It took the eagle eye of my teenaged daughter Josie to discern that there was an ominous message on the other side of the map...

I think it’s only fair that I blame Larry, my quasi Aussie, for the blight on my record. After all, I never would have bragged about my perfect driving record and jinxed myself if I hadn’t been so intent on impressing my friend with my perfection…

Aw, heck. Okay, so the fellow from Down Under is blameless. I’ll concede that it was my own boneheadedness which resulted in the ticket. And to show my maturity and my ability to take responsibility for my own actions, I’ll try to look upon the positive aspects of the day.

I got to meet a U.S. Congresswoman. As I roamed the Portland Fish Pier looking for her office, I learned how to fillet a tuna. And a pollock and a hake, as well. I made friends with seven urbanites who tried to guide me to my destination using hand-held computers which were no bigger than decks of cards. And I discovered what eating ‘al fresco’ meant. According to Larry, it means ‘sitting in the middle of the bloody sidewalk’. So, the day wasn’t a total wash.

Besides, all is not lost. I’m going to fight the ticket. I mean, that was just plain rude! Charging a woman who is lost and sweaty and red-faced and tense a whopping $15.00 because she didn’t know she had to pay for parking ‘al fresco’ is inhospitable, to say the least.

And after all… I’m a ‘good girl’! You see… I’ve never—not once in my 30 years of driving—ever gotten a ticket for speeding!

Affectionate labeling of photo in this blog posting is courtesy of my good friend, Tom Olds, of Jackson, Maine.


  1. Aw, Man! You had to say it! :-) And you with those big boots and all...

    Heh...great blog, Kazza.

  2. Hey, Jack!

    ... I decided to be courageous in the face of stupidity and challenge the Fates. They wouldn't DARE give me a speeding ticket NOW. Not after a doling out a parking ticket, which was preceded by 30 years with a perfect driving record!



    Heh... quaking in these big boots.


    Thanks for popping in, Jack. It's always great to see your smiling face.


  3. I went for some 10 years without a ticket until last October when the fuzz got me on the highway doing 115kph in a 100kph zone.
    Then another ticket for failing to give way to the left when I wrote of Benz 1 last March [talk about adding insult to injury]
    Have lost 6 points on my licence and only got 6 left until october this year when the first points lost drop off.
    Of course you sound just like Lady Chatterley who whenever I get pinged reminds me that she also in her long driving career has never been booked for anything whatsoever. So that's 44 years for her.
    quite sickening isn't it...women...sniff

  4. 115 in a 100? Isn't that only something like 6 miles per hour over the speed limit? Sheesh... fussy fellows!

    Lady Chatterly is a lady of such perfection that you shouldn't ever compare yourself to her, Ali g. Instead, simply bask in her glory... and be glad you'll have someone to cart your bones around when you next get into trouble!


    Have a great day!

  5. birds of a feather you chooks aren't you

  6. Quietly and contentedly clucking from 10,000 miles away.


  7. I can empathise with Ali g regards the insult to injury.

    I was involved in a bad smash in 1993. Got T-boned on the drivers' side by a kid doing 140. Died twice; 55 days in hospital; six months occupational therapy; eight months on crutches; roughly another twelve months limping.

    Got done for not giving way to the right. Magistrate took pity on me, though (the fact I was still on crutches might have had some influence) and he fined me the minumum; $120.00 plus costs.

    This was in Darwin where they don't have a points system for drivers. Now I'm here in Victoria, pleased to say have not lost one single point the 8 years I've been here.

    Parking tickets are another story. Wish we had to pay only $15.00. Here, it's $65.00.

  8. Owwww CP.. We got T-boned by a truck. Amazing watching the Benz disintergrate [sob] around us in slow motion. Luckily we didn't even get a scratch thanks to the safety cage of the Mercedes. We were lucky I guess unlike you!

    Damn parking tickets in NSW are $81. Thieving bastards.

  9. Yikes. CP, it sounds like you're lucky to be alive (which makes me lucky, as well!) :o)

    I suppose you know, darling man, that you are now doomed to receiving a speeding ticket, having back-handed the fates like that? I do feel sorry for you, but perhaps (since I did the same foolish thing) we can compare notes after the fact, and see whose ticket price is higher.


    A friend of mine from Tennessee would look at me and say 'Duh!' right about now...

    Yep, you and Ali g appear to be your own brand of 'birds of a feather'... both T-boned, and both (kind of) at fault. I am very, very thankful that you are both around and still kicking. You enrich my life, you know.

    Okay, sorry... I'm feeling very melancholy after taking my Aussie to the airport this morning. I worked my a$$ off trying not to cry in front of him all last night and this morning, but I'm a soggy mess, now. I never realized how hard it would be to say 'goodbye'.

    So bear with me while I try to move past this penchant for acting like a girl. I'm terribly fond of my friends Down Under, and it really stinks having 10,000 miles between us.

    Oh, and Ali g? Don't be surprised if Larry looks you up. But remember... the man likes to exaggerate, something fierce! You should only believe about half of what he tells you about me (and I get to choose which half, okay?)


  10. have sent you a clinical graph which may help you understand your emotional state brought on by Larry's departure....hope it helps.....

  11. Snort!!!

    Hahaha... yeah. That helps, sweetheart! (I may have called you a name under my breath when I opened and saw that, but I'm not sure...)

    Hehehehe... you're a good 'un, Ali g. Thanks.


  12. Oh CP, what a terrible time you had there - thank goodness you're okay now !

    I hope you're feeling better today Karen & that Larry will return soon for another visit. It's horrible farewelling friends at any time so feeling soggy is understandable.....

    Chin up gorgeous girl !!

  13. Hey, Dozy dear. Chin is up... but I'm still sad. It would have been a lot easier if he wasn't such a great guy.

    Thanks for popping in, sweetie. Will talk soon!


    P.S. Oh... your t-shirt is FINALLY in the mail! I'm just beginning to catch up on all my tasks, now that I am (boo hoo) Aussie-free...

  14. It's okay to feel sad, you're missing your friend. Just keep the chin up & a smile on your face (I tend to keep my chin tucked in however, that way no-one can sneak in a wallop)

    My postman will be pleased about my t-shirt.....I usually chase him away (he's always bringing bills) or try to scare him off, now I'll be awaiting him eagerly.....heheh.

    Big hugs - Talk again soon !