Monday, November 22, 2010

The Petite Young Blonde vs. the City of Kennesaw & the Georgia DMV

Part One

The Petite Young Blonde’s day started out like most others: she was running late. On this particular day there was nothing out of the ordinary on the drive to work except for the police car that was pulling out of the QT gas station behind the white Honda that was behind the PYB’s minivan. The PYB never likes having a police car behind her. One just never knew what they might do. She was almost going to make the light across the intersection of Pine Mountain and Hwy 41, but decided not to risk getting stopped by the Kennesaw Police; the light had already turned yellow. She waited patiently for her turn and was trying to decide on the Song of the Day…which one was it going to be? The leading contender up to that point was Elvis Costello’s “Tears Before Bedtime.” As it turned out the PYB’s Song of the Day was The Clash’s “Police On My Back.”

After the light turned green the PYB proceeded across the intersection and the white Honda turned right onto 41. That obviously put the Kennesaw Police car right behind the PYB. She consciously drove the speed limit into “downtown” Kennesaw, stopped at another light, turned right on Main Street and that’s when the flashing lights started. She made a mental list of why she could possibly be pulled over and had nothing. Except…maybe there’s an obscenity law in the City of Kennesaw and her “Feel Your Boobies – Tell A Friend” sticker was considered offensive.

She pulled into a dance academy parking lot, turned down Led Zeppelin on her iPod, turned off the car and started searching for her driver’s license and proof of insurance. Knowing that she couldn’t roll down her driver’s side window because it got stuck one day and her Amazing Mechanic Friend, the AMF, fixed it by taking out the motor, the PYB began hoping that her particular Kennesaw policeman wasn’t a skittish one who would draw his weapon when she opened the car door. She explained about the window and he gave an “aw-shucks” look. He looked about 12-years-old. He wasn’t very tall, had a Kennesaw Police knit cap on his head and his nose was red making the PYB decide she wasn’t his only take down this morning.

He went through the routine (yes, hard to believe that the PYB would know the routine, but she does). Not finding her insurance card he politely told her that was fine he can look it up on his computer and took her license. His car was parked behind her van with lights still flashing…how embarrassing! While he was doing his thing the PYB called her job and let them know she was going to be later than expected. The process seemed to be taking an eternity, which caused the PYB a bit of anxiety…

She glanced in the side mirror and noticed the blue & red lights had been turned off, thank goodness. Then she looked in the rearview mirror and no; the lights were still on…there’s another freaking police car! What the heck? The teenager came back to talk to the PYB and the other, bigger, burlier, taller, more menacing cop walked toward the van while looking it up and down and took up his post by the passenger side door. What did they think she had done? Were they expecting her to make a run for it? She had on pantyhose, a dress skirt and sensible shoes for crying out loud. Is his hand on his freaking holster?? What the hell?

“Ms. Blonde, m’am? Did you know your license has been suspended?”
“I. Ah. What? Why? Ah. Well. I. When? ?????????
“Yes, m’am. It was suspended 3 years ago.”
?????????????????????????????????????????? “OH!” The light bulb went on and she quickly tried to start explaining and he was kind enough to at least pretend he was listening.

Background: On July 3, 2007, the PYB and la Premiere Petite Jeune Fille were traveling back from Ohio. They were singing a Killers song at the top of their voices, and not very well, when that horrible, siren noise started up and seemed to be behind them in a split second. Yes, a ticket was given for speeding…that’s what good music can do to a driver on the long, boring road from Ohio to Georgia.

“Yes, m’am,” that kid in cop clothes said ever so polite, “it would be hard to reinstate it if no one told you to do that, but I’m still gonna have to keep your license. Now, I have two citations for you. One is for the brake lights and one for the suspended license. Will you please sign here and here? Do you have someone who can come pick you up?” Yes, no, maybe? “I have to go back and finish up this paperwork.” Just great. Fine. Fine. Fine. Little Teenage Cop, you are so gonna be in my story!

The PYB called her job again and asked if someone could please come and get her. Lynn was on her way.

“Oh, and m’am. Your car is parked on private property.”

So the PYB has no license, two tickets and an illegally parked car. Lynn picked her up and brought her to work and she called her best friend, #1TBF. #1TBF had her son’s car that day and agreed to pick her up and bring her back to Paulding County to work on the license issue. At least that’s what the 12-year-old cop said, to go to the county the driver’s license was issued in and do whatever.

Background: The PYB forgot to pay the speeding ticket from Tennessee. It was one of those, “call in ten days and we’ll tell you how much you owe” kind of thing. When the human memory capacity has hit the red zone and there’s no jump drive, thumb drive, or memory stick to back it up to, things are going to fall through the cracks. The PYB’s intention was to pay the fine prior to the court date, as she was NOT going back to Tennessee for a speeding ticket. In early January she received a notice stating that her license would be suspended if the ticket were not paid by whatever date. Oops, a few months late. Finding a credit card she dialed the number on the notice and paid for the ticket. “What happens now?” she asked. Tennessee would notify Georgia that the ticket was paid and rescind the suspension. Sweet! Stamp that OVER.

Not so over.

The PYB and #1TBF drove to the brand spankin’ new Paulding County facility only to find that Paulding doesn’t have a DMV, just a tag office. “Well, where do I go to fix this?” she asked the lady behind the glass. The lady couldn’t tell the PYB, which, she was finding out, was fairly typical. The PYB and the #1TBF decided to go the DMV in Cobb County so off they went burning up the #1TBF son’s gas.

Once at the Piedmont Village DMV located in Cobb the PYB explained the situation for the 3rd time that day and was told that,

“No, we can’t help you without proper id.”
“Well, right now a teenage cop has my id right now. I’ve got a KSU picture ID, a debit card, an insurance card….”
“I need either one thing from this list or two things from that list.”
Gee, the PYB thought to herself (because it’s just suicide to piss of the DMV Lady) I don’t carry around my birth certificate, my social security card or my passport, which is probably expired any way.
“I’ll do you a favor,” said DMV Lady. “Call this number and get your citation number and they will give you the phone number to call in Tennessee.”
Finally!! Someone who has part of an answer. Maybe. Perhaps. She hopes.

At that point the PYB and #1TBF decided it was time for some Chinese food. One can take only so much on a couple of low-fat, high fiber muffins. Once back at the office the PYB called the GA DMV, got the required information and placed a call to Tennessee.

“Sterner’s Hardware”
Without missing a beat the PYB launched into her story for the 4th time.
“M’am, I wish I could help you, but you’ve reached Sterner’s Hardware. You need the court. I’ve got their number – we get calls like this all the time.” Wow.

Truly unbelievable. The PYB tried the new number not expecting much by this time. Tennessee Helen answered the phone with a soft southern drawl and sympathetic ear and heard the PYB’s 5th recap of the day and looked up the information that could mean oh, so much to the PYB.

“Sure enough. You paid us in January of ’08 and we notified Georgia on March 12, 2008 that it was paid and to rescind the suspension.” Hot damn! Redeemed! Tennessee Helen promised to fax the information to the Piedmont Village DMV and would just need to go in and get another license. The PYB then called the City of Kennesaw, blah, blah, blah #6…no, she’d still have to go to court, and no, she couldn’t come in and pick up her original license. They wouldn’t have it until maybe next Monday and even then couldn’t guarantee they could give it to me. “But, that one had a really good picture on it…” Back to her job.

So, try as she may she couldn’t concentrate on work and just continued to get more and more frustrated over the whole scenario. One person’s negligence had wreaked havoc not only to the PYB’s day, but those of her co-workers, clients and friend. Just trying to organize rides to where she needs to be is so inconvenient to so many. AARRGGHHH. And, wait, WHAT’S THIS??? Looking closer to the two new citations did it actually say her hair was….BROWN? Oh, hell, no! Now she was really mad! That was the last damn straw!

As for the taillights her AMF came by her house and worked on the brake lights…no, not burned out, but bad connections were the culprit. His wife has the same van and the same problems. So any time she hits a pothole the PYB will have to make sure her brake lights still work. Maybe AMF should write a certified letter explaining the situation to the judge….hmm. That might help.

Tomorrow will consist of having #1TBF drive her to work, then she’ll walk to the DOL to give a presentation, walk back to work, and by that time #1TBF will be back from her seminar in downtown Atlanta and she can then drive the PYB to the DMV. She hopes it will all go smoothly. But, this is the PYB’s life, so who knows?? Part Two will post tomorrow.

How was YOUR day?

Part Two:

Trip to the DMV went well! Surprise! Three hours and three windows later the PYB is once again a licensed driver! Hurrah! However, the PYB is not happy with the picture - the other license was MUCH cuter, but then again, it was taken 15 years ago when the PYB was a mere babe and could date the teenage Kennesaw policeman.

Part three will be posted after the March 23rd court date. Stay tuned!

Part 3: The Petite Young Blonde vs. the City of Kennesaw

PYB has two traffic tickets to fight; no brake lights, suspended license.

The PYB's Day in Court, March 23, 2010

After dropping off the Petite Jeune Fille Brunette at school the PYB headed to her AMF (Awesome Mechanic Friend) to check the brake lights before heading to the courthouse.  It would not be cool to get yet another ticket for the same thing in the same area.  Yep, they’re out.  He replaces them again; the 2nd time within a month which was completely consistent with the internet research the PYB found.  The base of the bulbs, which is black plastic, is melted – EVIDENCE! She is SO going to win today!

Back at home…what to wear, what to wear?  New blue linen dress with white cardigan. Yes. No. Too dowdy.  Is dowdy good for court?  Hmmm, no, red knit dress with black jacket.  That works. Red is powerful, strong, in charge! Did you know it has been scientifically proven that teams that wear red uniforms win more often? So, power dress, fake Spanx, panty hose, sensible shoes, conservative earrings.  Good to go.

The PYB arrived at the Kennesaw Courthouse at 1:40 for her 2:00 appointment.  The parking was a few blocks away so she found a spot and started the trek to the courthouse. Once she reached the entrance of the Courthouse she was turned away – no purses allowed?? Are they serious? No cell phones, no granola bars. Great. So she turned around and hiked back to the car to put it away.
Sidebar – Any smart criminal would stake out the offsite parking lot and
watch for people returning to their cars with their cell phones and handbags.
Good grief. Talk about the perfect set up!

The PYB heads back quickly to the courthouse and goes through security.  In her pockets she paws out her keys, light bulbs, and pen and puts them into the basket and walks though the metal detector.  Success! The giant security guard who looked like the football player in The Blind Side, we’ll call him Gentle Ben, looks at her with raised eyebrows.  “Light bulbs, m’am?”  “Evidence,” says the PYB, scoops them up and goes into the courtroom.

She finds a seat and takes inventory of her paperwork: tickets, brake bulb receipts, research from the internet regarding the problem with the brake lights, and…hold up! Where’s the letter from Tennessee Helen?? That was to resolve her of the suspended license! It must be in her purse! It’s now 1:55pm so she bolts out of the courtroom and races back to her car…again. Curses! Thinking she only has five more minutes she breaks out in a run in her dress, fake Spanx and pantyhose. Ah, warming up outside, nice.
Uphill, uphill, no bursitis flare up, not now….go go go go….five minutes, just five minutes! She got to the car rifles through her purse and finds the certified letter from Louden County, TN (oh, is that where she got the original ticket that has caused this mess?) and a half full water bottle that had been rolling around in the floor of the back seat for a week or so.  She starts back while drinking the who-knows-how-old-water and feels her big toe pop through her pantyhose.  Sure, why not?  At least she didn’t dump the water all ov…never mind.  At this time the line for the courthouse is out the door and down the sidewalk.  She finally reaches security, and yes, Gentle Ben, she’s coming through again with her light bulbs.

The court room has filled up considerably, but being that she likes to see and hear what’s going on she walks up to the 2nd row and sits at the end next a man.  No, a woman.  Oh dear, this person does not smell good! Old, old, old nicotine smell, slightly sickly sweet, not good, not good.  Nicotine Lady turns around and says hello.  What teeth are left are pretty much black and then she launches into a deep, hacking cough.  This is not going to work, but then court is called to order and the PYB was stuck. Ugh.

The first cases called involved guys in handcuffs and orange jumpsuits.  Ummmm, excuse me, but being that they don’t actually have anywhere to go like back to work or to soccer practice could they not be saved for last? Just askin’. After about an hour of prisoner issues they worked on cases involving minors and/or those charged with drug possession.  The PYB was starting to wonder if she was in the right place.  One young girl, there with her mom, was asked if she could pass a drug test that day.  She was honest and said, “No.”  They gave her another one and, sure enough, she tested positive for cocaine.  Why her mother didn’t beat her to a pulp right then and there on the spot the PYB will never know.

After the drugged out kids the judge announces that he’ll try to have everyone out within eight hours.  WHAT???!! It was 4:00…was he kidding?  What happened to the 2:00 appointment?  Why wasn’t this explained when the PYB called the day before to confirm? “Oh, and btw, m’am; be sure to have a hearty breakfast and lunch and don’t forget to hydrate! It’s gonna be a long day into night.” That would have been good customer service.

At this time the judge turns the room over to the City Solicitor, Dr. Oz, who talks for awhile, blah, blah, blah, blah and then the judge comes back and gives a powerpoint slideshow about traffic court! The PYB is dying a thousand deaths.  Nicotine Lady’s smell is about to choke her and she starting to feel the beginning of a headache.  The traffic court in Cobb County was nowhere near this ridiculous!  Ah… so she had heard. Right. Yeah. Anyway…(the PYB has a heavy foot).

At this point, please allow the PYB to take a moment to  tell you about some of the characters in the courtroom.  You’ve met Nicotine Lady and Dr. Oz.  The PYB would like to introduce you to Porky Pig.  He was a cop who, bless his heart, truly looked like Porky Pig in a policeman’s uniform.  The other courtroom cop was pretty short, older, and balding with what was left of his hair slicked back…in other words, Christopher Walken.  The PYB was quite sure that if anything janky went down in that room these men were NOT going to be able to subdue anyone.  If he had to move quickly, Porky Pig’s gun would certainly get jammed in his ginormous love handles as they covered the holster of his gun.  Not trying to be mean, just the facts.  This being said at the first opportunity the PYB escaped the smell of Nicotine Lady and moved to the last row of seats at the end by the exit.  She would not be placing her life in the hands of Porky and Christopher Walken; she needed a getaway plan.  There was also a woman in a “Budweiser The King of Beers” embroidered jacket and the PYB was really hoping she wasn’t there for a DUI charge. As for the judge, he wasn’t a bad sort and he smiled a lot and tried to make a few jokes.  But, can he be charmed by the PYB?  Not sure about that yet.

After some no-contest cases the rest of us had to sign up to see Dr. Oz, the solicitor, to  review our cases.  Could this not have happened as we arrived?  The PYB’s name was 5th to the last on the list, hurrah! It was proving to be a really long day.  The judge took a break, but the solicitor would continue his interviews and call names.  Ok. Phone in car, granola bar in car, wallet in car…the PYB needed to go to her car.  She stepped out and asked Gentle Ben about leaving the building.
            “But if I leave the solicitor will certainly call my name,” said the PYB.
            “What’s your name, m’am?” asked Gentle Ben.
            “PYB, of course.”
“Ok, I’ll listen for it and if he calls you I’ll make sure you get put back to the top of the list.”
Sure you will, she thought. I bet you say that to everyone.  But she had to go!

Thank God it wasn’t a rainy day! By this time the run in her pantyhose was creeping up over the top of her shoe.  As she walked back to her car she noticed that some parking spaces were opening up near the building so, knowing it would probably be dark, she moved the car closer.  She called the Hunky Husband to explain what was going on.

Back though security and, no, Gentle Ben said, her name had not been called.  She filled up the basket with her light bulbs, pen, keys, wallet and gum.  She hurried up to wait so more. It was now 5:30 and here come so more orange jumpsuits.  Really?

Now the probation hearings were starting.  Up next, Teenage White Trash Girl.  If you were in court because you messed up your probation and had to answer to it would you actually wear sweats?  This really pathetic child was a teenaged, unemployed, single mom, who was knocked up again, and she had to pass a drug test.  Her sister and father were with her and, come to find out, her dad had just finished a chemotherapy session that morning.  The poor man looked worn out and frazzled. He tried to explain his daughter’s actions to the judge who patiently listened.  Long story short, Teenage White Trash Girl failed her drug test.  Sobbing ensued and TWTG started pleading to the judge about her baby at home and her dad, and she had a lead on a job, etc. This is what the judge said and the PYB almost stood up and applauded,
“Why do you expect me to care about your family, who I don’t know, when you didn’t care about them when you were out getting high and breaking your probation?  They aren’t my family; they’re yours. You are doing drugs and you are PREGNANT.  It’s time to grow up.”
Her dad kept saying it was all his fault and that she was a wild child.  The judge said, no, she has to be responsible for her actions.  Wow. What a concept!  TWTG goes straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. 

Five minute break! Finally! So the PYB takes a trip to the water closet and wouldn’t you know it; the solicitor called her name to come in and see him. Blast it all. Her file goes back into the pile.  It’s now 6:30pm and her stomach is grumbling.  More sitting and waiting.

Her name was eventually called and she was to go into the lobby to sit in a different chair to wait.  This is where the PYB met Daniel Radcliff/Harry Potter, a KSU art student.  He was a very pleasant young man who plans on having his own comic book series.  He had just returned from a semester abroad in Italy.  HP provided the only intelligent conversation the PYB had had all day!  He was just as bored and climbing the walls as she was.

Dr. Oz calls her name to come discuss her tickets and the game was on. The PYB gathered all her papers and put on her brightest, most charming smile and breezed into his office. She felt she was at a disadvantage because it was getting late and he had been at this all day. Surely, he was tired of hearing people’s excuses and stories.  This could go completely wrong!

He started with the suspended license.  Right from the start they were not on the same page. He started talking continuance and she’s thinking, “Oh, hell no I am NOT coming back here again.”  He was talking $780 fine for driving with a suspended license and she was thinking, “Oh , hell no, I can’t pay that! That’s Atlanta Beat season ticket money!” She tried to start from the beginning to explain how it all happened, but he didn’t want to hear it.  She kept saying that no, it never WAS supposed to be suspended because the fine had been paid.  HE was telling her that she didn’t pay the $35 GA reinstatement fee so technically it was suspended, blah, blah, blah.  But what about the certified document from Tennessee Helen stating her fine had been satisfied, etc?? And this went on for at least ten minutes. Fortunately, the PYB had her canceled check from when she had the stimulating visit to the GA DMV to replace the license the 12-year old cop took from her.  She paid all of $5.00. 
“Oh,” said Dr. Oz, “looks like they waived the reinstatement fee. I’ll dismiss
this charge.”

Thank You Baby Jesus!! Beat tickets, yes!!

            “Now, about the brake lights…”

Dr. Oz was not the least bit interested in her light bulbs. Fine: $123.50. 

“So, has anyone ever told you you look like Dr. Oz?”

Back into the courtroom, go see the judge, yes brake lights out, whatever, let’s get out of here, go pay fine, no sign of Harry Potter, hope it worked out for him, get the heck out of this building!

The morals of this story are:
v    Drive carefully and slowly when in the City of Kennesaw. In fact, just avoid it if possible. The PYB has now has 5 tickets issued to her from the eager Kennesaw police force.
v    If you own a 2003 Chevy Venture start socking away money to pay for a ticket.
Your brakes light bulbs are probably melting at this very moment and you are
gonna get in trouble for something you have no control over.
v    Fake Spanx – not worth it.  Splurge for the real thing.