The red light camera quandry


Do I take the free right turn? Do I take the complete stop? Do I ignore the person honking behind me? Can I California roll it? Full Washington stop? All of the paranoia as it’s always watching you judging you. Just keep smiling and waving back.

I personally love red light cameras. Every time I see that bright flash I know a pothole somewhere is going to get filled on someone else’s dime. So awesome! Justice for the other guy!

Then I got one, and all of a sudden I wanted mercy for myself. I felt a little embarrassed. It’s only happened twice, but I remember each time clearly.

The first time was in a school zone. So technically not a red light but it’s the same idea. I had only driven through this Tacoma neighborhood by Kandle Park on the weekends. But one day we were about to go on vacation and I had the day off. I had to run to the post office, and I went right by the school, thinking it was a Saturday, not a Thursday. Bam. Blinking slow-down lights were on, and I was a hundred bucks lighter. Totally my fault for spacing out. Still though, I wasn’t happy.

But it was the second time it happened that I got really mad. The first ticket felt like a trick, like it wasn’t my fault. But this one. This one was at a red light, and it was blatant. And it was my wife’s car.

When it arrived in the mail I showed her the picture, “This is your car! What did you do? Why!?!” (Yes, I had gotten the first ticket, so this wasn’t fair. I was newer married and not that intelligent yet.)

Needless to say I was not happy, mostly because of the money issue. She said was sorry and asked to look at the paper…then she started laughing.

“See the date? I was [some other place] that day.”

She pointed out that the driver didn’t have long hair. It wasn’t her.

It was her dumb husband. She was relieved. Then she just laughed and laughed and laughed. I was glad she laughed. I felt pretty terrible and I deserved that. She didn’t even care about the money, she was just glad it had been me, again. I felt like I was in an “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode.

I had been lost in Tacoma and was hastily speeding and doing u-ies trying to find my way back to the right street. My patience ran out and I sped when I saw the yellow light and I got one of those yellow lights that’s shorter…not longer. That story cost me $101 dollars to make.

So…just to put the camera ticket count out there. Me: 2. My wife: 0.


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