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Chicago, Chicago ...

Mobile Etiquette Lessons, or How Kaffyr Got Schooled
      So I'd just finished dropping off groceries at the house, pulling out of the parking lot - where we don't have a designated spot - to find a space on the street. My new Blackberry is lying on the seat next to me. It rings.
     Now understand, I tell friend, colleague and stranger alike that speaking on a mobile while ... uh ... mobile is stupid.
     But here it was, ringing. And all I could think of was that BB had just remembered something he needed. So I picked it up. While I was looking for a parking spot.
     Well, it wasn't BB. It was a contact I'd tried to get for a slightly unimportant story. She was calling too late to help, so, as I tried to maneuver very slowly up my street toward a parking spot, I tried to end the conversation by telling her I'd contact her later.
     A Chicago cop car drove past me and my internal alarm went *whingggggg.*  "I have to hang up, I'm about to be ticketed for talking on the phone."
     I was.
     The very nice officer handed me a blue ticket and explained that it wasn't a traffic ticket. Go to court, he said, and there wouldn't even be a fine.
     Today was my court date. The el was slow, and I got started late, as usual, and then I got off at the wrong stop and walked in the wrong direction for two blocks. I ended up being half an hour late. 
     It was no problem. A nice administrative aide ran into me as I walked into the little windowless court-ette (too small and cavelike to be a court room), smiled and took my ticket, then beckoned me into a side room.
     Had I been talking on my cellphone?
     No problem, she said. It's just a fine of $100, plus $40 in court costs.
     My usual response to shock (which I hate, but which I can't seem to control even after 53 years on this earth), set in. Tears - no sobs, just silent saline in rivulets down my cheeks. 
     I guess the officer was mistaken, I said.
     My own fault,  I allowed. My own fault.
     So I paid.
     I went back into the court-ette, sat quietly and waited until the Administrative Hearing Officer heard my case and gave me the bill to pay. Then he asked me how I was caught. "How are they doing it now? Did they get you for anything else? No? Just the phone?"
     I went out to the cashier. The cashier was a very pleasant lady. We chatted as she took my money; cops say things like that, like 'There won't be a fine,' she said. "So that they can get away from folks."
     I walked back to the el, came home, and ate a bowl filled with three flavors of ice cream and one flavor of sherbet.
     Here endeth the lesson.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2009 08:28 am (UTC)

It's not illegal to talk on the phone while driving here. It is illegal to text while driving.

Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
In Chicago, it's illegal to speak or text on the phone, texting having been only recently outlawed.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
I have seen a lot of very scary driving done by people with cell phones against their ears. Apparently it is not the cell phone so much as the talking/conversation dragging the driver away from that to which they should be paying attention. I still remember, many years ago, being behind a car with the driver talking animately to the person beside her, barely glancing at the road ahead of her so it is an old problem with a new twist.

Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
Yes indeed. Apparently, having conversations with passengers is safer statistically because (again, on average) passengers either consciously or unconsciously tend to know when to shut up and let the driver concentrate, and they handle their conversation in that fashion. That would exclude the people you saw in the car in front of you.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)

Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks - and I'm glad you got a snort out of it; that's the reason I wrote it that way. Hell, if I had to go through it, the least it could offer me was some writing fodder.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, MamaK (((((HUGS)))))

We've all been in situations like that where we did something we knew was wrong and got caught. It just sucks so bad the cop didn't tell you the truth.

BTW, my reaction to shock is exactly the same. Glad to know I'm not the only one.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
Hugs are gratefully accepted; I am still a little croggled at the cop's story. He really had no reason to do it, because I certainly wasn't making a fuss about the ticket and he had no reason to want to get away from me, as the cashier opined. Ah, well.

(And I' glad to hear that I'm not the only person who deals with shock that way. Sometimes it makes me feel like such a wuss.)
Jun. 3rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)

Huge hugs.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
And huge thanks for the hugs!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
I hate that sinking feeling. :(

I hope you're feeling better today!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have more good news today - but that's for another post. And thanks for your good wishes. Contrary to what old fogies everywhere say, the good wishes of internet friends are just as nutritious and yummy as the good wishes of non-internet friends!
Jun. 3rd, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd better go see the other news...

But yes, I've often found this to be the case, so I'm glad to be able to pass them on!
Jun. 4th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
Oh dear, oh my. I'm so sorry.
Jun. 4th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Much appreciated; I ended up wryly amused at the whole thing, because that's really the only way to handle it.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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