Background: As a woman, there are certain times of the month that leave me with less ability to cope with stress than others. Wednesday was a prime example of one of those days. We are also poor right now. Really, really poor. The kind of poor that makes you drive past your house when you're between two other places just to see if the Publishers Clearing House van is there, waiting to give you a fat check. Wait, am I the only one who's ever done that? Not that I did...
Also, about a week ago I was pulled over for the first time in my life. I was trying to get Eric to work on time and, yes, I really was speeding. I can't deny that. Although, how many times do you see anyone go the speed limit on 800 North in Provo? Not often. Anyway, I was really embarrassed and upset with myself for getting the ticket. This incident set the stage for what happened Wednesday.
I started off by going to the wrong building to pay the ticket and sign up for traffic school. In my defense, it wasn't labeled and I was trying to keep the baby asleep on my shoulder. When I got there I held my composure beautifully... for a while. I knew how much to expect to pay for the ticket, so that was no surprise. She asked if I wanted to sign up for traffic school and I asked for more details. When she told me it was $40 and would keep points of my license I fell suddenly mute. My brain said, "I can't afford to pay for that. It's going to make us destitute and I'll have to feed my baby out the garbage can! And then we'll have to move in with my parents!" My mouth said, "..." My face said, "I'm going to turn red and squeeze my eyes, mouth, and nose together until I resemble the hind end of a cat. And then I'll leak."
Obviously, this is standard procedure for the ladies at the cashier desk. The one I talked to handed me a box of tissues and asked again if I wanted to sign up for traffic school. I dumbly shook my head. The cashier pointed to a room and told me to go there and talk to the lady who would probably reduce the cost of my ticket because I wasn't doing traffic school. I decided to sit on the bench outside the room to hiccup and sob until I could make some semblance of sanity to show the nice woman.
While I waited to calm down two other people came to talk to the same woman to fight their tickets. One was another woman with a baby who told me about the evil dog catchers that sit across the street from their house and wait for them to let their dogs out. I was surprised she was so anxious to talk to a woman who had a face like a wet, withered beet but it certainly distracted me. It also gave me time to find my voice again.
I decided that I really needed to do traffic school, so I went back to the cashier desk to see if there was an option for a payment plan. The new lady was very nice and patient as I snivelled through my question and apologized for being unintelligible. She told me she understood and said she could give me an extension until the middle of July. That, of course, made me mute again and I nodded my head vigorously and snivelled some more. I think I was able to squeak out, "I'd appreciate that." She signed my paper and I said my favorite new word: thank yug(hiccup/sob)keeept. It's a high-pitched word and best paired with a bashful smile while fleeing in the general direction of the door.
Now that it's a day later and I have all my wits about me I find the situation much less devastating and much more...ridiculous. I got everything taken care of. The world looks a lot more rosy and I look a lot less like a mental patient.