Friday, July 8, 2011


As most of you know, I live in Florida, but I'm from Georgia.  My entire family still lives in Georgia, so I make trips into that state several times each year.

My family has a big cookout every year on the 4th of July, so that is one of the times I'm sure to be loading up the Suburban and making my way north.  This week was no exception. 

Everything went great.  We spent the 4th visiting with family and friends, we ate until we thought we might pop.  We fanned gnats and sweated.  A lot.  We watched a dozen cousins play and fuss and bond.

On the 5th, I loaded up my brood to head back to Florida.  As we were leaving, my Daddy told me to be careful because he had seen several state patrol cars and police cars out.  I was very careful to watch my speed, but suddenly, there were blue lights flashing behind me.  I said a little prayer that maybe I knew the officer who was pulling me over and could talk my way out of a ticket.

It has happened before.  You sort of know when the officer at your window leads with, "How are your mama and daddy doing?" that you probably won't get ticketed. 

Or when the state patrolman tries to set you up with his brother-in-law (years ago, before I was married).

Unfortunately, I had never seen this man before in my life.  As he approached the car, I was looking for my insurance card, and just reached around and pressed the button to roll down my window.  I accidentally pressed the button for the back window, so the police officer was looking in the window beside The Boy, Baby Girl and a five gallon bucket of tomatoes I had just picked with my daddy.  The back of the car had about 30 ears of corn and a big bag of Vidalia onions.  Obviously, I looked like a hardened criminal.

I got the right window down, and asked him if I had been speeding.

He said, "No, ma'am, I stopped you because your window tint is too dark."

Now, I have had illegal window tint before.  Like seriously illegal.  Like limo tint.  I loved it. 

I was a rebel once.

But, now I drive a Suburban filled with kids and produce.  The tint on my windows came with the car.  I was in shock.

When he measured the whatever it is you measure on window tint,  (The amount of light it lets through, maybe) he told me that my tint measures at 16%.  Anything under 32% is illegal in Georgia, and although I am a Florida resident, any time I cross the Florida/Georgia line, I am, in fact, illegal.

I explained that my parents live there and said, "So, I'm driving illegally every time I visit them?"

"Yes, ma'am"

Then I asked, "What if I drive with my windows rolled down?  Would I still get stopped?"

He laughed a little and said, "Some will still stop you."


So, I got a ticket for illegal tint.  The officer explained that I could come back to court to protest my ticket.  Yes, I could do that, but I would have to drive there in my illegal car.

I signed my ticket and continued on my trip.  When I stopped to get gas, I couldn't help but laugh as I walked back to the car.  Yes, my Suburban with the pink Minnie Mouse antennae topper, just screams drug dealer.

As I drove, I called my husband, parents and my sister.  My sister used her iPhone to do some research, and she discovered that in Florida, anything above 15% is legal.  So, while I am legal in Florida, I'm just barely legal.

About half an hour after I got the ticket, my sister-in-law called me. 

She said, "Your mom just called us and said you got a ticket."

Then she added, "You don't have a ticket anymore."

Her cousin is engaged to an investigator with that police department.  When she heard what had happened, she called him and asked what we could do about it.  He told her to give him a minute, then he called her back and told her he had taken care of it.

The second I got home, I told my husband my ticket had been fixed already.  He was quite impressed that I could get a ticket and get out of it that quickly.

And that is why I love having connections in small town police departments.

And also why I will most likely be driving my illegal car back to Georgia in September to attend the wedding of my sister-in-law's cousin to the policeman who fixed my ticket.

Maybe I'm still a rebel after all.

1 comment:

Pajama Mama said...

I wish I had connections in Chattahoochee when I got stopped for going 53 in a 35. I could have said I was dyslexic. He was kind enough to write me up instead for a seat belt violation bc he had to write me up for something, I suppose...and probably rolled his eyes at me when I said...BUT OUR SEATBELTS ARE ON!