Question Reality

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Question Reality

I got pulled over by a cop for driving home from work, exhausted after trying and mostly failing to sell theater subscriptions over the phone, with my headlights off. Rather than alert me, warn me, let me go, he wrote me a ticket for $194.

One hundred ninety-four dollars buys a lot of theater seats!

"Give me a warning!" I said five times while he looked over my registration and insurance. I was behaving like someone old enough to be his mother although it didn't occur to me to say, "I've been driving since before you were conceived."

Perry Mason's Case of the Restless Redhead (1957).

Today was my day in court. My officer didn't show but I didn't know that until after I'd sat there forty minutes summoning the ghost of Perry Mason, trying not to spontaneously combust from nerves. Because he didn't show, my case was dismissed, but not before:

A 75-year-old Dutch woman with a blonde bob and florid features went toe-to-toe with a young, softspoken black lady officer, very trim in her navy blues. Softspoken was repeatedly asked to speak up until the clerk moved the mike nearer her lips. Dutch needed no such egging on.

Unlike her fellow defendents, Dutch seemed to feel her best defense was to put on a good show. She played the "I've never gotten a ticket before" card, a close cousin to the "In all my years of driving..." card up my sleeve. Her first question to her cop was, "Do you ever wear gray hair?"

Huh? Was she going poetical on the terrors of age? Not a bit! She claimed this was not the arresting officer! Whoa! Way below the epistemological belt.

"The officer who pulled me over had gray curly hair, cut short, and was much older." Did such an officer exist on the force? Who cared? All of us sitting there awaiting our turn at the mike were riveted.

The officer had a video, filmed from her dash, purporting to show Dutch's car passing through a crosswalk while pedestrians crossed. We, the accused, stared as the judge played and replayed the projected video. I couldn't actually see when her car passed, since it was going in the opposite direction and was thus mostly out of frame. The video left a distinctly ambiguous impression.

fauxverneerWho in his right mind would mistake this for a Vermeer? A Nazi.

Dutch's approach, however, didn't allow for nuance. Her "I don't know where this video came from" was an ontological challenge to the court. Proove the existence of everything you say is what her defense amounted to, starting with the identity of the ticketing officer.

The lithe black guy one seat away from me, who appeared to be under the influence of some substance or other, murmured sounds of support, like a respondent in church, like Dutch made sense to him, when she repeated how nervous she was to be stopped, even appreciating her boast, "How did I know what to do? I've never gotten a ticket."

The judge wasn't so easily bamboozled.

Her one mistake? She admitted the car in the video, clearly shown stopped in front of the pursuing cop car, was hers. I couldn't tell if her rear license plate was visible, but if it hadn't been, how could they have prooved... anything?

Ultimately, the judge came down with "Guilty" and a $200 fine. Ouch. Well, you can't win 'em all but you can at least question the existence of objective reality.

Which reminds me of a much creepier Dutch person in the news last week, the infamous Vermeer forger, Han van Meegeren, lengthily analyzed by filmmaker Errol Morris, who interviewed two recent biographers in a series of seven blogs for the New York Times.

Remember ladies, reality is a social construct. Win or lose, we owe it to ourselves to make it a good one.



Comments [118]

annie oakley's picture

Bonjour Madame, just

Bonjour Madame,

just stopping in to say Mais oui! et Je t'aime to Sarkozy. No wonder he has such a beautiful wife:

Sarkozy speaks out against the burka

Erin Blackwell's picture

AO i just saw this comment of

AO
i just saw this comment of yours. verrrry interesting, m. Tsarcozy's stance on burka. merci.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

This is hilarious....... I

This is hilarious....... I commented on Moons ticket thingy, and I'm awaiting moderation!! I smell censorship damn it !! I guess it pays to be the big cheeeeezzzzzeeeeeee..... Laughing out loud

Grace Moon's picture

PS, for the recode it DOESN'T

PS, for the recode it DOESN'T pay to be the big cheese, in fact it costs a lot of money and other peoples ire.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Not2Taem's picture

And time. And my eternal

And time.
And my eternal gratitude.

Erin Blackwell's picture

and adoration

and adoration

Grace Moon's picture

I see absolutely no comments

I see absolutely no comments from you in any moderation folder, pending or spam. so i don't know whats going on with that.

can you describe whats happening when you click submit.

also if you have a ton of links of anything try and take them out.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Not2Taem's picture

Really? Because I commented

Really? Because I commented with no problem. I guess we know who's the favorite. :razz:

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Yes we do....... I smell

Yes we do....... I smell cheeeeezzzzzeeeeeeeeeee. Laughing out loud

Not2Taem's picture

Want a little whine with

Want a little whine with that? Laughing out loud

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I would love a glass of

I would love a glass of Château Rauzan-Ségla Margaux, 2005. Thank you for offering...... Wink

Oh, you said.....whine.

Not2Taem's picture

Since wine gives me a

Since wine gives me a headache and I have no useful knowledge of it, let me rely on my knowledge of you. I am going to hazard a guess that those who are fond of the beverage would find that a very pleasant one. Also going to guess that it might be beyond my purse. :?

But since we have moved onto drink, hmm... wonder how that could have happened, clean cup! Move down. Laughing out loud

Rusty's picture

Not wanting to jinx myself,

Not wanting to jinx myself, but I beat my last two tickets in court. It's a pain in the ass but definitely worth it.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Grace Moon's picture

Damnit I just got pulled over

Damnit I just got pulled over for being on my cell phone, 120 clams... and not the good kind.
wondering if i should go to court over my ticket...

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Grace Moon's picture

let me clarify not that I

let me clarify not that I really need to, when I drive i use speaker phone. and don't drive with one hand to my ear.

I drove past the cops at an intersection... slowly, on a very quite street, they must have seen the light of the phone on the stearing wheel.

I appreciate the patronizing. But I am curious, All those who do use their cell phones while driving, ear piece, blue tooth, speaker or not. I'd really like to know who Never talks on the phone while driving???

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Xanadu's picture

My phone died three years ago

My phone died three years ago ... I never replaced it Shock

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

I practically live on my

I practically live on my phone. I use it hands-on, hands-free, and speaker phone, and have done so since 1995, accident free.

I will hang up or bounce to voice mail under the following conditions:

On surface streets in residential areas, school zones, or urban areas.

Within 5 miles of a scheduled stop, exit, or turn

In Heavy traffic moving > 5mph

While backing, turning, making lane changes, or parking

In severe weather

If the conversation becomes emotionally charged

I do not send or receive text messages while the engine is running.

A rule I added 10 years ago: If I do not know which mile marker I am at (within one mile), the conversation ends. I'm supposed to always know exactly where I am at all times, and anything that distracts from that ends immediately.

I drive an average 12,000 and talk an average 2,000 minutes per month while driving (about 15% of my driving time). I now use a modified specialized headset, designed for someone who can't speak very loud normally and is in a noisy environment.

Robin Rigby's picture

When the CA hands free law

When the CA hands free law was about to go into effect I went out and bought a bluetooth headset and last year when I was nearing close of escrow on my condo it definitely saw a lot of use. Now I'm having problems getting it to sync to my iPhone. Anyone need a slightly used bluetooth headset? Anyhow, unless I'm in the middle of some project I don't talk on the phone a lot so it's not often an issue.

Remember talking on the phone distracts you from your driving, hands free or not. Smile

Not2Taem's picture

The light of the phone on the

The light of the phone on the steering wheel?
Now I'm curious. Do you attach your phone to the steering wheel? I'm thinking that would interfere with the need to make an emergency hard or full turn. I'm sure I'm missing something.

When I need someone to talk my directionally impaired self to their house, I put mine on speaker and wedge it in the little handle grip above the window. Also, when I'm visiting the young or habitually horny, I call from a low traffic point 10 to 15 minutes out just so they remember I'm coming and have time to finish up. I try to be a considerate guest. Wink

mysticsmb's picture

Grace, big OOPS and apologies

Grace, big OOPS and apologies if my comment sounded patronizing--it was just meant to be concerned for your well-being, but I can see how it could come across as unnecessarily scolding.

(for the record, I don't have a car, only use a cell in emergencies, so the stars have not aligned where I've needed to use a cell whilst infrequently Zipcarring.)

conlite's picture

I never talk on phone while

I never talk on phone while driving, but this is only because there is no cell phone reception most places out here in the boonies. Most of us don't have cell phones. Hope this totally freaks you out. Be thankful that you have cell-phone convenience for when you are stranded at the road side, even if they won't let you talk while driving!

minniesota's picture

Grace, if you think you can

Grace, if you think you can prove that you were following the law, I think you could fight that ticket. The NYS law says on exception to the ban is, "When the driver uses a hands-free mobile telephone, which allows the user to communicate without the use of either hand." It sounds to me as if you were communicating without use of either hand. Hmmm.

The question of whether or not you should be on the cell phone at all is a separate question, for which some would advise, "Don't do it."

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Lake's picture

Fight the ticket.....you have

Fight the ticket.....you have a 50/50 shot the officer will not show...and if you can prove its hands free....you will win.

Good Luck!

Lake

Rusty's picture

Grace, I would fight that

Grace, I would fight that ticket in a heartbeat. Take a photo of your steering wheel at night and bring proof that you have a speaker phone. Make the cop show up in court. If they don't, you automatically win. (In CA that's how it works anyway.)

I'd also check the ticket to see if the cop noted if they'd be on vacation; if so call the court and have the date changed to that time period. (Another CA trick.)

Also, I use my blue tooth, unless I'm in heavy traffic then I don't use my phone.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

puritan's picture

in CA, no holding the phone,

in CA, no holding the phone, speakerphone included. they want your hands free. what else for, i'll try not to imagine.

camomileroses's picture

what do they say about

what do they say about bicycles?

Not2Taem's picture

Do NOT try to make out while

Do NOT try to make out while riding a bicycle! I don't care how skinny you both are, it will end in disaster. Sad

camomileroses's picture

it would end in disaster

it would end in disaster before anyone ever got on the bike!! Laughing out loud

minniesota's picture

I can't say that I've never

I can't say that I've never used the cell phone but only rarely. On my driving trip over Memorial Weekend, my cousin called me when I was on the highway. I did answer but said, "Sorry, can't talk now because I'm in traffic. Will call you back later when I stop." End call.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

mysticsmb's picture

Grace, pay the ticket...or

Grace, pay the ticket...or don't pay the ticket. Just don't do it again--the law is there to protect you, from yourself and others.

Not2Taem's picture

I think its incredibly cute

I think its incredibly cute that you get pulled over by a cop and immediately post on VP. Laughing out loud

By the way, does anyone know if it is Ticket a Lez Month? An awful lot of you ladies seem to be having problems in this area. Just an observation.

itty's picture

:!: Help.... LongBeach's

:!:
Help....
LongBeach's comments are all being 'moderated'...
she's unable to post anything...

Grace Moon's picture

PS. i just checked the spam,

PS. i just checked the spam, and "pending" folder and did not see anything from LBDL.

caught one of mystics and the rest was viagra.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Not2Taem's picture

Thank you! Thank you! Thank

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for sparing us the Viagra :!:

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Thank you for checking,

Thank you for checking, Grace. They were posted a short while after it stated that they were awaiting moderation. I'm pretty sure it was my e-mail address... it wasn't complete. Normally, I can't post if I've entered an incomplete address. I caught it a bit later........ Thanks Laughing out loud

minniesota's picture

The girl, Viagra, sure gets

The girl, Viagra, sure gets around!

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Thanks Itty......... :D

Thanks Itty......... Laughing out loud

Not2Taem's picture

Maybe it was the list of

Maybe it was the list of bodily functions, a la the Pepto Bismal (Am I the only one who always thinks it rhymes with dismal?) commercial in the bathroom thread. Shock

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Why were you on your cell

Why were you on your cell phone while you were driving? Statistics have proven that talking on a cell phone while driving, is as bad....if not worse, than driving while intoxicated. Pay the ticket, you're lucky that you didn't kill someone... or injure yourself.

I'm only saying this because I care... Wink

Robin Rigby's picture

I don't think that's entirely

I don't think that's entirely accurate. Sorry, auto insurance claims person here. Distractions in general are bad for driving. There is absolutely no evidence that talking on a cell phone is any more dangerous than talking to a passenger or adjusting the radio. There is also no evidence that using a hands free device is safer than not using one if you're driving.

The one thing that is as dangerous as drinking and driving? Driving while tired. From personal experience I can tell you that is one statistic that is definitely accurate. :grin:

itty's picture

Talking on cell phones is one

Talking on cell phones is one of the leading causes of distraction...PERIOD.
No one said it was the ONLY cause of distraction.
I witness it everyday...
people talking on their phones going through red lights...
drifting into other lanes of traffic...
swerving off the road...
it's NOT a safe thing to do.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

Cell phone usage is no more

Cell phone usage is no more or less likely to cause an accident than the many other distractions available to drivers.

I see drivers blowing through lights INTENTIONALLY, because they are in a hurry, think they're too important to have to stop, and that the rules simply don't apply to them.

BTW, when I'm forced to get the police involved because someone's driving is that bad? The number one cause for their erratic driving is READING, either written directions, a map, or in most cases, an actual book the got interested in and "simply could not put it down." They outnumber cell phone users 18:1. I could swear they were impaired, but no, they were just stupid. So far, there isn't anything to keep stupid people from driving.

Not2Taem's picture

I want glow in the dark ink

I want glow in the dark ink for my printer so I can read Map Quest directions in the dark,

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

My computer just tells me

My computer just tells me when the next turn is, saves a lot of money on ink.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

"There is absolutely no

"There is absolutely no evidence that talking on a cell phone is any more dangerous than talking to a passenger or adjusting the radio."

Oh please. Tell Sacramento about that about your 'evidence'.....And, the Los Angles County Sheriffs Dept., and the Los Angles Police Dept. The statistics are staggering. I remember seeing them when Sacramento was debating the issue of outlawing cell phone use while driving. Then texting while driving..... I'm not talking about hands free, or not. I'm talking about phones. Period.

I'm sorry Robin, I don't trust or believe insurance company's, or their 'evidence'.... please don't take it personal.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

Actually, I've seen the

Actually, I've seen the "statistics," as well as the evidence that is used to generated them. In most cases, if there is a cell phone in proximity to the driver involved in an accident, the cop rights it up that the cell phone was being used. Two or more cars involved? Two or more cell phones in use.

Sold a huge number of headsets, though!

As a professional driver, accident investigator, and medical first response instructor, I can assure you cell phones are the least of your worries.

1) Speed to fast for conditions is the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents.

2) Impaired driving is a close second (chemical impairment, fatigue, medical emergency)

3) Aggressive driving (tailgaiting, unsafe lane changes and turns, failure to yield, failure to signal intent, usually in combination) is a distant third, but coming up very fast (2008)

4) Inexperienced or panicked driver

5) Mechanical failure

6) Sudden severe weather change

Cell phone usage is no different from other distractions in a vehicle, such as changing radio stations, passengers (especially screaming children), eating, putting on makeup, reading a book, playing with one's self, letting the dog steer, or the millions of other bizarre things I see drivers doing every day. I don't see any laws being passed to make those a crime.

Make it simple. One law that covers distracted driving in general, and make people personally responsible for the consequences of their behaviors. This would be much easier than having to legislate each and every behavior in detail, just because some idiot thinks the basics of safety don't apply to them.

Robin Rigby's picture

The state of Washington has a

The state of Washington has a motor vehicle code that forbids 'romantic embraces' while driving. So don't get caught fornicating in Washington in your car. Smile

camomileroses's picture

in some states driving

in some states driving includes being on the side of the road with your engine running...oh yeah, the ignition on too.

Robin Rigby's picture

I've driven a car where I

I've driven a car where I could remove the key while the engine was running, but never one where I could turn off the ignition and still have it be running. Where are these crazy cars?

*Teasing. Couldn't resist. Smile

camomileroses's picture

these people have just got to

these people have just got to turn their engines off even if they leave their ignitions on. The steam in the windows from those turned on engines is a hazard to other drivers. Wink