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Repeat Offender

Tarun has never been cited for a traffic violation. Ever in this life. I have been cited eight times. It is brutal to be married to perfection.

In my defense, 8 in 43 years is not that bad, right?! No need to answer that, thank you.

The latest infraction is the most depressing.

I have a new phone that was not on the car's bluetooth yet. I got a call from a colleague and I pulled over to talk to him. My heart swelled with self-worth for making this responsible decision. As I said bye to him, I started to drive with the phone still at my ear. Next thing I see are flashing lights in my rear-view mirror.

When the cop told me that not using hands-free is a violation, my self-worth crashed with a deafening thud. I checked to make sure there were no cars behind or in front before setting off. Clearly, the cop on his motorcycle dropped out of ether.

I could see he was writing a ticket while I frantically googled "ticket for cell phone use" and was relieved to know the penalty without court fees is low. Knowing California, the court fees will likely be astronomical.

In the shakedown, the cop grilled me on why I have California plates and a Virginia license. He said that is a violation because you have to get a CA license within 10 days of moving to the state. I have not moved, I implored. You have a car registered in the state so you must have a CA license, he insisted. I stood my ground. I vote in VA, I visit CA occasionally, I am a VA resident. At that point he backed off and said that even if he ticketed me for not having a CA license it wouldn't hold in front of a judge.

A judge?!

Is he going to write me a ticket anyway and force me to court? In the end, he didn't, but it's a tough day when you come home relieved that you have one ticket instead of two.

This episode made me take stock of my prior infractions.

Two tickets for speeding on "chicken hill" in Blacksburg, ten years apart. It takes a special kind of moron to be ticketed in the same spot multiple times.

One for going through an intersection on yellow and having the light turn red before clearing the crossing. Ok, tell me you've never done that and I will not believe you.

A ticket for driving in a restricted zone in Italy.

One for hitting a car while making a left in very slow traffic. Two speeding tickets in Maryland because the state is run by a devious bunch who stash cameras in trees.

Caught for speeding on I-95 in New Hampshire and let off the hook because it was my birthday.

And now the phone.

Hello, my name is Rumy and I am a repeat offender.

There! I have admitted it. Now let me work on the recovery.

From today when I drive, my phone will NOT be in the center console, my phone will be on bluetooth always. I will not answer if it rings unless I can click a button on the steering wheel. I absolutely will not text when stopped at a red light.

May the universe give me strength to avoid any more tickets and keep myself and everybody around me safe. May I be in recovery for the rest of my life. May Tarun continue to be blemish free to balance out my performance, or the lack thereof.



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