The Kansas City Paparazzi

In Kansas City, stardom is at the fingertips of every Joe the plumber. And it appears my day has come.

Last week we received a notice in the mail from the Photo Enforcement Program. Ooh, fun, I thought. What could this be? Addressed to both of us, it was a document displaying two photos of our Explorer — one showed the car before entering into the intersection. Light was red. The other showed the car turning right, going on to its destination. Light still red.

Because of my husband’s track record, neither of us paused to consider that the car in the photo was the car I normally drive. He owned the offense. I owned it for him. He watched the video link, over and over, desperately seeking an explanation for his actions. He moped and I sought to hide my annoyance.

But not too hard.

He needed to KNOW actions like these have ramifications beyond our pocketbook! One hundred dollars less for our adoption, was at the tip of my tongue.

Then after about a day of this subtle self-flogging, Nate glanced at the date and time stamp on the ticket, and, as if a light went off in his head: “Wait a second,” he said. “I hardly ever drive the Ford.”

Our eyes met as we both realized that the villain was actually a scapegoat for another.

Well, at least you won’t feel so bad now about all the tickets you’ve acquired in our marriage, I thought. And moved on. No sweat off my back. Everyone makes mistakes, right. Small potatoes in the scheme of things.

It was not until the next day that the skip in my step was threatened. With the mail that day came another notice, just like the first. And then another. Three total. All with photographs of my newly-famed Ford. All in the exact same spot.

Welcome to Kansas City, they say.

They must be duplicates, I thought. But nooooo. Sure enough, starting from just about the time that I began frequenting the prayer room as a part of my regular routine, I’ve been accruing tickets. Sadly, they date back to mid-September. The delay in the letter only meant I should be expecting about 3 weeks more of letters between then and now, when I realized I have a proclivity towards not stopping for right-turn reds.

I did the odds in my head. There had to be some days where the light was green. I surely won’t get a ticket for every day I went to the prayer room.

Then when I totaled up my dues, even given the odds, I quickly formulated my defense. Maybe I need my eyes checked. I have a red-only color-blindness! I knew those brake-pads needed to be checked — they aren’t stopping me quickly enough. I’m a newbie, getting used to new traffic patterns. A country girl trying to find her way in a big city of highways and interchanges. Caught up in prayer, preparing to encounter God.  Eyes fixed on Him — no time to see the traffic light!

I’ve decided to scrap them all and just plead for mercy.

By the time these tickets are due I will likely owe $1000, no exaggeration. Point taken. I screwed up. Again and again. One hand slap would have been sufficient for correction, but the delay in delivery will make for one raw hand. I’m just going to have to play dumb — which, given the circumstances won’t be too hard. Someone at that place has to have a sense of humor.

Nate is eating this up by the way. His sense of vengeance for all the years I’ve shed tears in confusion about how one person could get so many speeding tickets, and kept a not-so-secret tally of how much money his lead foot has cost us, is completely overriding the fact that he may need to start another business to pay for my obliviousness.

All because the big city (traffic) lights are on me.