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Ticket better than scolding any day

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By Ben Carlson

As opposed to chronicling this week what I perceive to be the misdeeds of others, allow me instead to discuss a couple of my own.
Twice in the past month I’ve attracted the attention of law enforcement, and not for good reasons. A few weeks back, I got stuck around 4 a.m. at the traffic light at the intersection of US 127 Bypass and Glensboro Road while heading to work. It was Tuesday, my early day, and I was most definitely in a hurry.
I was trying to turn left, but the light refused to turn green. I backed up, pulled ahead and tried all the other tricks to trigger its switch, but nothing worked.
About 10 minutes into my wait, I debated hanging a right and doing a U-turn in front of Walmart, but brazenly opted instead to take a left on red. I looked both ways several times and off I went.
I got almost to the road that leads to my office when I saw headlights coming up behind me — fast. Resigned to having been nabbed, I pulled over and started searching my cluttered glove box for an insurance card.
When the officer arrived at my window, he asked instead to see my license, which I provided along with an immediate apology riddled with cruddy, lame excuses about the red light.
He checked me out, apparently believed my story and allowed me to leave without a ticket, likely because I hadn’t been drinking and that time remembered to wear my seat belt.
Not that I always do. Seat belts and I have occasional issues. Because it doesn’t automatically fasten itself when I drive and my new truck is too smart to allow me to hook it up behind me, I admit being forgetful and sometimes not putting it on.
That’s not going to happen again.
While heading home following a Sunday afternoon trip to the hardware store, I was cruising north on Main Street when a state trooper passed me heading the other way. I looked at him, he glared and me and I just knew he was going to turn around and slap me with a $25 fine.
He indeed pulled a U-turn, but once again I caught a break.
I was nearly to the train tracks when we passed each other and just as I crossed, I heard the telltale bell start dinging, signaling the arrival of a train. I got to the other side but the trooper, still a full 100 yards from the tracks by the time he turned around, wasn’t as fortunate and had to stop.
I continued on, guilty as sin and debating several times if I should do the right thing, pull over and await my medicine.
Instead, I slinked away knowing full well I could turn onto my street without the trooper seeing me because the train was blocking his view.
Nevertheless, I waited in my driveway for a few minutes, nervous that the trooper recognized my vehicle and knows where I live.
He never showed, so I went inside and received an even harsher dose of medicine when I fessed up to my wife, who gave me a stern glare of her own and a “next time, you’re going to get a ticket” tongue lashing to match.
As God is my witness, there will not be a next time. But if there is I think I’ll just wait for the officer and pay the $25 fine.