In April, the month of stink flower and fresh knees, on my way to the Department of Motor Vehicles, driving the car I grew up with, a champagne 1979 Volvo Bertone, under a twist of highway on 120th avenue, I was pulled over by a police officer on a motorcycle. He sauntered up to my window, peered inside my the car and asked me if there was a reason I wasn't wearing my seatbelt. Honestly, I said, I thought I was. But that excuse wasn't good enough for him or his frowning blonde mustache. He wrote me a ticket spelling my name with a z, handed me his card (in case I needed to get ahold of him for any reason - wink wink) and a blue sheet of paper with the dates and times of a seatbelt safety class I could take to avoid fees or traffic violations on my personal driving record. Though the idea of sitting in a hospital classroom while a cranky nurse shows me and a group of other safety belt delinquents the horrific consequences of what happens to people who don't wear seat belts seemed enticing to me, I never got around to it.
So today, at 1:30, I made my way down to the courthouse and met up with the officer who pulled me over and an amiable judge with a pom pom head. I told them I had been ridiculously busy, buried in trees, pixels and paper, panic endured, and headstands fallen. I thought I'd end up paying 123 dollars and 46 cents to the state of Oregon. I thought I'd use rolled coins, just because, and felt them weighing my arms down, but instead the judge granted me another chance - 6 weeks of chances in fact - to take the safety belt class.
As punishment for not abiding the seatbelt law my favorite consumer advocate, Mr. Ralph Nader, wrangled into being, the week after next, on Tuesday or Thursday between 7 and 9 pm, I'll be eating a mushy dinner out of aqua tupperware while watching simulated car accidents on a flat-screen TV.