OK. So now that I have the drivers license, the cops have got nothing on me, right?
Driving to visit Sari and her kids at Oh Rusey Market the other morning, I went a slightly different route than what I’m accustomed to.

Entering into the tangle town that surrounds the market area I found myself at a “T” in the road, wondering whether I needed to turn left or right. It’s hard to tell when all around you are people moving in all directions. I chose to turn left.

Immediately, as I turned onto the intersecting street, there was a cop standing right there waving me to the side. It was as if he had been expecting me or something. So, as I rolled the window down he stood there holding up five fingers and saying five dolah… five dolah.

Of course, I was brimming with confidence knowing that I had my license. I asked what I was being charged with. He pointed back to where I had turned and said I could not turn left there. So I glanced back at the corner and strained to see what he was referring to. I said, “What sign tells me I can’t turn left there?” Then I looked closer and noticed that there was indeed some small sign above one of the stalls on the side of the street. I’m sure that if I had, before turning, the presence of mind to stop, exit my vehicle and climb above the obscuring tin roof, I would have known not to turn left there.

Guilty as charged. But I mentioned to him that, as far as I knew, the law did not allow for traffic violation fines to be more than $2.50. And the locals would never expect to pay more than 50 cents. So he backed down to $3.00. Then he asked for my license which I showed him. We ended up giving him $3.75 because we were having trouble coming up with just the right change.

Now, I had heard that the cops must provide you with a receipt or you could NOT be fined. That is the government’s way of trying to keep the cops honest. When I had asked our relative a while back about the receipt situation and whether I should demand one, he said that it would be foolish because they might start trumping up more charges against me. Based on that, I did NOT ask for a receipt.

Now, when we finally got to our destination at Sari’s parent’s house, we related the story and her dad basically said I was nuts not to demand a receipt because that would have given me even more leverage to get the fine reduced to a dollar or so.

Who do you listen to? Next time I’m going to ask for a receipt and haggle down from there. Next time I’m going to check all unknown intersections carefully for no left turn or do not enter signs. That cop has a great thing going. He just stands there and waits for the next unsuspecting bum to make their fateful turn smack dab into the long arms of the law.

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