I’ve been absent from blogging because I’ve been dealing with a long-range logistical challenge. Specifically, I got a speeding ticket back in August, my first in 15+ years, and since I was speeding, I just paid it. I came to learn that when you are going a particularly large number of miles over the speed limit, and you do not fight the ticket*, there is a more or less automatic 15-day suspension of your license** regardless of your prior record.
In the greater scope of things, I understand that this is a somewhat classic first world problem in my situation. I had a lot of help and I was never in danger of losing my job for not being able to get there. However, it’s easy to see how this sort of thing can be devastating to someone’s livelihood. There but for fortune and all that.
So, we live in the suburbs. My kids need rides to daycare, and I am responsible for that. Sometimes they go to two different places. There are, theoretically, buses that come near my house, but the reason that I almost always drive to work is because the buses to my house are extremely inconvenient to my work schedule. How to manage this suspension?
Answer: I mean, of course, it’s a chart. I made a chart of who needed to get where and when, and then started coordinating rides to get everyone everywhere. Ben had a week of vacation scheduled, and we were able to do it so his vacation was a large part of the suspension. (This unfortunately meant that he had to drive on our whole vacation, but he claims he didn’t mind.) My parents live close by and they were able to drive the girls to school most days.
Thanks to some volunteers, I was able to fully participate in life as well, so it wasn’t a sort of house arrest situation. Marshall took me to kickball two times (which was vital since, you know, PLAYOFFS). Zach took me to hockey. Gina picked me up and took me out for beers. Joslin took me to work two times, and Sharon took me one time. Elizabeth & family took Elena to school one day. I took a cab home (this, apparently, is possible in Pittsburgh). I am eternally grateful to these people, since most of them were not necessarily people who would normally carpool with me and all of them went pretty far out of their way to help. [EDITED! I almost forgot that Darlene took me to a baby shower in the wilds of the South Hills.]
Why didn’t I just say, screw it, and drive anyway? A couple of reasons: (1) as soon as I realized the potential catastrophic results that would happen if I were to get into an accident as an unlicensed, and therefore uninsured, driver (especially with the possibility of having kids in the car with me), I was pretty much done; and (2) I guess since I’m a lawyer and all that I should probably obey the law and stuff.
At any rate, I received my license back in the mail on Saturday, much to my surprise, since I fully anticipated that this would be drawn out administratively and it would be November before I could drive again. I drove the family around all day yesterday, and we took the long way home.
And now I’m back.
*I did not fight the ticket because I have not had a speeding ticket in 15+ years and because I was speeding. Stupidly, I thought this was the right thing to do
**I understand that this is not everyone’s experience. I have had several people tell me that they know people who were given the option to take a driver’s exam after getting DUIs or whatever. I specifically asked about taking an exam and this option was denied. So I don’t know if it was just the guy that I dealt with, or bad luck, or what, but in my case, it was a more or less automatic suspension.