Monday, June 28, 2010

There's a formula for this kind of math.

I know I promised camping/rafting photos, but I just have to get this off my chest.

Back in the middle of April, Abbie got her first speeding ticket. She sobbed like the world was ending. Ben and I both welcomed her to the club. Our family has gotten more than its share of speeding tickets, and I won't mention any names but one of us has significantly more than the other (he will, no doubt, defend himself in the comments section of this post).

Ab was driving home from college for a long weekend and was coming through a part of town that has a 25 mph section they put there just to raise revenue. It had been a long drive, she had to go potty, and she got caught. But because she is young and beautiful and an LU student, the cop (an LU alum) only ticketed her for failure to obey a highway sign. Her court date was June 24.

For those of you who've never gotten a ticket, that means you either have to pay the ticket or show up in court and beg forgiveness only to be shot down and still have to pay the ticket, but at least you can say you've gotten some of the judge's time for your money. If that really matters to you. I chose this option once, but that's another story for another day. (Remind me sometime.)

Being the banker of the family, I told Abbie I would pay the ticket online and she wouldn't have to go to court. Guilty is guilty, right? Virginia makes it so easy now. You go to the website, look up your offense, and pay with a credit card. I know this because I've done it so many times. I have the site bookmarked.

When I looked her up, she wasn't listed there. So I waited a week. Still not there. Third week, and still nothing. So I decided to go over to the general district court and see what was up with the easy-pay-online system.

I handed Abbie's ticket to the clerk who also couldn't find her listed in there. She told me sometimes it just takes the officer a while to turn it in, and don't worry about it. If it never shows up, you just don't have to pay it.

Lies. All lies. I should have gotten that in writing.

I kept checking and kept not finding her ticket listed there. Finally, the day before her court date, I checked one last time. Nada. We thought, "How cool! The officer never turned it in!"

Exactly three days later, we received a "NOTICE TO PAY AND OF SUSPENSION FOR FAILURE TO PAY".

My blood pressure shot up 50 points in half a nanosecond. Before I could blow a gasket, Ben snatched the papers from my hands, took the ticket, and said he would handle it Monday.

He made a few phone calls and got a clerk of the court on the line. She looked up Abbie's ticket online and said, "It's right here. I'm looking at it."

Ben couldn't see it from his computer at work.

I couldn't see it from my computer at home, and even took a screenshot of the page so I could prove it wasn't there. (Screenshot is a feature of Macs wherein you get an image of what's on the screen at a specific time. I felt like such a sleuth.)

After another phone call to the trusty clerk, it was determined that Abbie's last name was misspelled, and that's why we couldn't find it. The clerk insisted we were still responsible to pay the ticket though.

At this point, Ben had already paid the ticket, but when he called to tell me the outcome, I started yelling.

"Are you kidding me? I'm just supposed to imagine how they might have misspelled our last name? I have to figure out the 86 trillion different ways there are to write my name wrong? Great! I'll just search the ENTIRE WORLD WIDE WEB for every possible combination of letters, and maybe throw in a few that aren't in there to begin with!"

Hormones may have played a part in this.

I can still feel my blood starting to boil when I think about it. Really . . . figure out how many different ways your name can be misspelled by substituting each letter with one of the other 25, and then what if there are two letters wrong? Or three? It's exponentially mind-boggling. I'm sure I learned how to do this in college Probability and Statistics. I should have paid attention.

Camping photos up tomorrow.

Be thankful ~


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