Friday, March 31, 2006

House Arrest

Oh Man! Martha Stewart, I feel your pain.

Last month, my cousins came down from Santa Barbara in their huge vehicle and we went to LACMA. Since they are from out of town, I offered to drive. Traffic was terrible and driving was not fun. Besides, it was President's Day.

After our museum visit (And LACMA is pretty great), we were on our way home and I was heading East on Sixth...something I never do...and I needed to make a left turn. So, I was coming up to Hauser and I was all, "Wide open, let's pound this baby through Park La Brea."

I made my left. Then, the cop started following me. I heard the occasional "Werp" of his horn. The lights flashing. Could it be me?

I pulled to the side. The officer asked me, "Do you know why you're being pulled over?"

I had to say, "I have no idea."

"You made a left at a sign that is posted--No Left Turn Between 4-7PM."

I said, "I didn't see anything like that."

"It's there."

(I drove by later and checked it out. It is there.)

Then I said, "Does that 4-7 thing apply on holidays? It says except for Sat. and Sun. right?" (That’s what most of them say. I inferred.)

And he said, affably enough, "Yes."


I don't do well with authority figures in Jack Boots. And as the cop handed me the ticket, I said, "I guess LA has to make their money somehow."

The friendly cop took off, heading north through the Park La Brea complex. I kind of love Park La Brea, but that wasn’t enough to lift my spirits.
I was cranky, but ultimately apologizing for being cranky since I didn't want my cousins to feel too bad, since I was doing them the favor of driving. "No good deed shall go unpunished."

So, after I calmed down, and my cousins went on their merry way back to that good-air-infested Santa Barbara, I just accepted that I had to go to traffic school so I wouldn't get a point against my license. And, I figured I would just actually go to one of those eight hour sessions. At least there are people there. I hadn't been to traffic school since the mid-nineties, when I lived in Santa Monica. I remember a girl with one of those knapsacks made out of a teddy bear.
I remember it was a long day, but oddly fun in a proletariat kind of way.

But then, I got busy and we’re going away next week for two weeks and I realized I couldn't give up a whole day to traffic school, so I decided, "Okay, I'll do it online."

It took me three days. Granted, just an hour or two each day. But three days! It was awful. Eight sections. And there are tests after each section. And you have to get nine out of ten questions right. And at the end of all the sections, there's a final test of 50 questions. And they embed things into the text and ask questions about those, to make sure you're really reading it. One of the embedding things was an off color joke about Michael Jackson. “Why did Michael Jackson go to the Wal-Mart sale? He heard that kids pants were half off.” I can just imagine the pasty, fat white guys chortling over that one out there in Missouri when they put it into the text of information.

Bad jokes aside, you have to plod through all that text, because the questions are annoyingly more difficult than you'd think. And, if you go too fast reading through it, a window pops up and says, “Slow down.”

I did learn a few things. First of all, if you drive a motorcycle you DO have to wear a helmet. I also learned that you can make a LEFT ON RED if you are turning from a one-way street into another one-way street. And, any child under six years of age or sixty pounds has to be in a car seat. Alcohol Blood level: .08 or less okay. If you are 21 or younger: .01

But after reading tiny print for hours on end (I swear, I felt like I was reading the ingredients on the back of a diet bar), never once did I read, "Don't make a left turn if it says No left turn 4-7PM except for Sat. & Sun."

I made one bad turn and I had to reread every thing about driving that you sort of know but don't care to revisit on screen. It was like being imprisoned in my own home. I got an 88% on my final test. I cranked through it quickly and did not check my work. I had to get out of the house.

24-7 Traffic School


Dan said...

Tip: next time cut and paste the text into Word and do a search for the key words pulled from the questions. I have it on good authority that one can complete the whole thing in less than 45 minutes.

Why should it be illegal to not wear a helmet? The government can save more lives by making Doritos illegal.

RebeccaW said...

But my question is, if Sat & Sun are exempted, then weren't you right that Presidents' Day should be a Legal Left Turn Day? I think you could have fought it and won, but it would have taken longer than traffic school.

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