I had a traffic violation – What! Surely not! For what you wonder…texting while driving? Never. Speeding, then? No, hardly my personality or within the capabilities of soon to be replaced Mommy car. Running a red light? Well, almost. Okay, first of all, it was yellow.
It was that dicey intersection off Memorial Drive into Harvard Square – lots of lanes of traffic and some seriously aggressive drivers. I was nervous and felt like I was in the middle of the intersection and had to turn but the flashing blue lights in my rearview said otherwise. Dammit. I never get tickets because I am a rule follower and don’t do anything wrong…well, at least nothing egregious. So I got the ticket and promptly contested the ticket. I was fired up, I was in the right and I was ready to defend my actions…four years ago. Yes, I have not heard back from Cambridge Traffic until June of this year. Really. I was told they did a sweep and came up with my old ticket. Yay. My day in court! Cambridge, here I come! But not so fast, Cambridge Traffic Court moved to Medford (okay, so it’s a long story – skip to the end like you do in Cook’s Illustrated if you need to) and I had to be there by 8:30 am on a Monday morning. Hmm. That sure sounds like fun…traffic through Boston and Route 93 North and the Mystic Valley Parkway during rush hour on a Monday morning.
Long story continues… finally, July 19, my day to expunge my record, uphold my honor, set the record straight …I would triumph with my clear-headed logic and, mostly, being in the right. So scarier for me than presenting my case in traffic court was actually getting to and finding the place. Waaay out of my comfort zone, this. But darling spouse printed clear directions and a map and after I made a few lunches, I was on my way. Note : the Mystic Valley Parkway is not identified on any street sign – evidently and as is customary for Massachusetts – you should just know it is Route 16, well, I did not but thanks to a desperate cell phone call home and a really nice court employee who had earlier told me that it was between Bertucci’s and Gold’s Gym, I found it and was there early. This is only particularly notable if you know that I am never early for anything.
SO. 8 am and time to kill and nowhere to go, barely any shade, no benches – save those across the parkway and that wasn’t happening. I walked over to Bertucci’s – which was not open until 11 – but a very gracious manager (Giovanni Cefalo) let me in and gave me water and access to the ladies’ room. He was kind and gracious and the water was desperately needed – it was so very hot. When I finally got inside the courthouse, everyone was pleasant and professional. I waited and chatted with another woman – this is incredible – she had a ticket from the same intersection! Really! Hmm, a more cynical person might find that suspect… Come on, Cambridge, work on that.
So my name was called and I went into a small conference room where a professional young woman introduced herself and the State Trooper. I promised to tell the truth (even raised my right hand) and then… I was dismissed. What? They couldn’t even find the ticket and I was excused, no fee, no nasty insurance surcharges but no chance to state my case (and I had practiced a little). I was relieved and happy that it was dismissed and they could not have been nicer or more helpful.
Now, I had to figure out how to get home, which I did without incident and substantially less white knuckles on the steering wheel. I was back home by 9:30 and I stopped by the grocery store on the way. Chicken kabobs on the grill, with fresh veggies from a friend’s farm share and the farmer’s market as the celebratory dinner.
Update: My dad used to deliver newspapers along the MVP – who knew? Umm…I guess I kind of spaced that…sorry Dad.