Thursday, September 07, 2006

I didn't have a chance...(and things happen for a reason)

This Saturday, Sept. 9th, is World Naked Gardening Day! There's even a website! This just screams for a HNT theme, so let's do it! Next Thursday, Sept. 14th, I want to see how each of you celebrated WNGD! For those of you with real gardens (and you know who you are...) show us what you've got! For those with just a few houseplants, show us how you love them! And if you have to go buy a dozen roses for your S.O. because of a lack of a green thumb, then show us the roses (but watch out for the pricks!). Go play in the dirt and show us your garden!

Very briefly--I'm not in jail, fleeced of $500, and have a 90-day suspension of my car plates, not my driver's license. But all is not bad. I have a rehearsal and a beer to take care of tonight. I'll fill you in later!

CONTINUING THE SAGA (if you missed the first part of the story, go here to catch up)... I go into court. It's me, the city attorney, the two different cops who ticketed me, and the judge. The cops individually take the stand and state that they pulled me over, ticketed me, etc., etc. I actually have no questions for the second cop, but the first one stated that we discussed the fact that I could not drive without the necessary documents. I questioned him about that, seeing as how I was my own attorney (what? I'm going to pay thousands of dollars for this?). He stated again that we discussed it. Well, from that point on I knew I was screwed. His word against mine. I'm the criminal, he's the cop. There's no other witnesses for the prosecution, and I have no witnesses, other than myself, so I take the stand.

I proceeded to tell my tale. I waxed poetic. I was strong. My voice didn't waver. The city attorney seemed bored by the whole thing. The judge wanted to be elsewhere. I finish. Then there's the final arguments. The attorney says, "He was found to be driving without proper documentation. I don't even know why we're here." Period. That was his closing statement. I got to give mine, and I mustered and channeled all the Jack McCoy that I could. Apparently, it wasn't enough. The judge found me guilty. He asked the city attorney for a sentence recommendation. He said the standard would be fine (reminding him of the forfeiture of my license plates). So he fined me $95 for the second offense of driving without a valid license, and $405 for the second offense of driving without proof of insurance. State law also requires that for the second offense of driving without proof of insurance, my license plates for that vehicle are to be suspended for 90 days from the day of conviction (yesterday).

Many of you caught on to the absurdity of that. It's perfectly legal for me to drive any other properly registered/insured vehicle, if I've got my DL with me. I just can't drive MY car. Nor can anyone else. Does this make sense? Am I aptly punished? There's a new provision in MT law, that says if you show the state that you currently have insurance, you can purchase new plates (only the plate fee, not the taxes), and your registration will say "for employment use only" or something like that. Which means I can drive my own car, with its new plates, to and from work. Now comes the gray areas. I work for the symphony, and am expected to be at their rehearsals. That sounds like employment. I also work in a band that rehearses once a week. That sounds like employment. Can I stop at the grocery store on the way home from work?

The only things I can't do is go out for a beer, or go to a football game, or take a trip if I'm driving. No, that's not right. NOT IF I'M DRIVING MY CAR. For those sorts of things, I can take my Dad's Bronco. Or I can roll the dice and try to drive around for three months and keep my driving record clean, and hope that I don't get pulled over. My karma's not that good. Did I mention that Dad's not going to be able to do any driving for awhile? Things happen for a reason!

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