How the Holidays Worked Against Me

Before you think the holidays were all perfect, shiny and wonderful… I have a few other stories to share with you.  I was pretty convinced, fairly early on, that the holidays were working against me for sure.  Thankfully, I was wrong… but observe the following strikes that I had to endure in the course of only a few days:

Strike 1: Friday, December 22: My friends Jeremy, Adam, Rafael and I went out for dinner after work, then to Sidetrack for some “Before-Christmas” drinks.  We had a fun night.  I had a few cocktails, but I was feeling just fine and wasn’t drunk or anything. 

I had driven to work that day, so I offered a ride to Jeremy.  We were singing along to my iPod on the way to his place, when all of a sudden, lights began flashing in my rearview mirror.  I panicked for a fleeting moment.  “This is NOT what I need right now!”  I knew I wouldn’t appear drunk to the officer, but with it being a holiday weekend, I imagined they were possibly stopping everyone to check for alcohol consumption.  Getting a DUI for Christmas was NOT the gift I had in mind for myself this year.

The officer came to my window and asked if I knew why he was stopping me.  “No,” I replied, in all honesty.  “You rolled through a stop sign back there.”  He said.  “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize.”  I said. 

I knew I had certainly acknowledged the stop sign, because I always do… but it’s completely possible that I rolled through it.  Everyone does these days.  It’s an unfortunate product of the “rush rush RUSH” nature that we all embody today.  However, there are far worse people out there– people that don’t even slow down for a stop sign.  I’ve encountered loads of them.  Where are the cops when these idiots are on the roads?

The officer took my license and insurance card and returned to his vehicle.  Jeremy and I spent that time to run through all the possible scenarios:  He probably needed to up his ticket quotas for the day and is stopping everyone he sees.  Maybe he will just issue a warning and let me go.  But if he makes me do a sobriety test, what then?  I had a few drinks that night, but I was certainly cognizant and coherent, and I wasn’t exactly reeking of alcohol.  We just waited and prayed to see what would come of this. 

When the officer returned, he handed me a ticket and my insurance card.  He had confiscated my license as bond. (In an instant, I understood the need for a bond card!)  With hardly any further instructions, he left me and Jeremy and returned to his vehicle, and within moments was gone. 

A brief sigh of relief later (at least the DUI was out of the question!), Jeremy and I tried to figure out the ticket.  Honestly, you’d think we’d never seen one before.  In fact, I know I haven’t… I have NEVER been stopped for a traffic violation in Chicago before.  I’d been stopped in Wisconsin a few times, but it had been many, many years since the last time.  My driving record was clean.  But not anymore.

I was cited for not stopping at a stop sign, a fine of $75 if I plead guilty.  I could also plead guilty and take a drivers’ education course for $115, or plead not guilty and go to traffic court to contest the ticket. 

I decided to plead guilty, and sent the $75 check in with the ticket.  Yes, maybe it was not the wisest choice (there goes my great insurance premium!), but I see no sense in prolonging the situation any longer than necessary.  Plus, not having my physical drivers’ license (I can still drive with a copy of the ticket as my license) makes it hard to do a lot of things in life.  The sooner I get that little plastic card back, the better. 

But that was just the beginning of my holiday weekend woes.

Strike 2: Christmas Eve Eve
I take a lot of photos, and I like to give them as gifts.  It’s a great gift that everyone enjoys, and it’s easier than trying to figure out what somebody likes all the time.  So this year I sent a bunch of photos to Kodak Easy Share Gallery to get prints and framed prints.  I also ordered my very own homemade Christmas cards. 

As of today, I have recieved the prints and two framed prints, but not the cards or the large framed prints– both of which are gifts.  So there’s strike two against me.

Strike 3: (and there are more strikes, believe me) This one happened when I finally my car packed up and started driving to Kenosha.  I heard a strange vibrating sound coming from the back of the car, so I pulled into the nearest gas station to check it out.  Would you believe it was a flat tire?  That’s the second one this year… on TWO different cars!  What is it with me and flat tires!?!?

So I filled up the tire and kept going.  I couldn’t exactly change it right then and there, so I had to hope that this would last the trip to Kenosha; then I could exchange it with my full spare during the weekend.  Thankfully, I made it safe and sound.

Strike 4:  I was at Jewel, on the way out to Wisconsin.  I still needed to buy a gift card and Christmas cards for my family members.  Jewel had been advertising their ‘wonderful’ selection of gift cards all throughout the season, so I figured this would be a nice, one-stop shopping situation.  I picked out the cards I needed and got to the register, only to be told that I would need to come back tomorrow to validate the gift card because their computers were down.  My response was “Uh, no, I can’t do that, because I won’t be here– that card is the entire frickin’ reason I CAME here in the first place!”  So I left the gift card and continued on my way. (I ended up getting the gift card at the actual store represented BY the gift card while on my trip up north.  So much for one-stop shopping convenience!!)

Strike 5: On the way to my Mom’s, I tried to play a song on my iPod, and it died for a brief period.  I got the ‘sad iPod’ icon and everything.  At this point, I was convinced that I was surrounded by some really bad karma.  Thankfully, though, something seemed to right itself in the universe, and the iPod started working again.  I think from that point on, everything started to cool off.

But I tell ya, when I’m cursed, I’m cursed really hard.