When I was a child, my Dad worked two jobs. On top of his normal job, on weekends, he worked as a policeman for the county where we lived. I hated it. It just made my friends more afraid of him. Our next door neighbor was a motorcycle policeman for the city, as well. The guy also worked undercover infiltrating The Hells Angels. A motorcycle gang. So, growing up, being around police was a normal occurrence for me.
My first encounter with police officers I didn’t actually know, was at age 18 driving home from university for the weekend. A policeman pulled me over. After he wrote up the ticket for making a lefthand turn on an orange 😉 light, he chastised me a bit.
‘You should know that is the most dangerous intersection in this city.’
‘I know.’ I told him sheepishly ‘My Dad was a cop.’
The policeman asked who my Dad was. When I told him, he got more angry with me than committing the violation. ‘Why didn’t you tell me before I wrote the ticket.’ As he ripped it up. ‘Now, it’s more paperwork.’
In Spain, these days I only speak to Guardia Civil on horseback. But my first encounter with them was when they stopped to help me when I was driving back from Lugo to buy the farm and I had a heart incident. They were so kind, held my hand, and called an ambulance. I love these guys.
And Speaking of Medical Thingsw…
This morning, we were late for Jeff’s annual physical. He hates this day and was dragging his feet like a toddler. So, we were running a bit behind. I was driving. When we came around a corner, I was waved to the side of the road by my friends in the Guardia Civil. Apparently, I had been clocked speeding by a remote traffic camera/radar. There is one 100 meter stretch on the N547 that goes from 90kph to 60. Then back up to 90. I was going 76.
The police were lovely and spoke very slowly so I would understand. It took all of five minutes from the stop, to getting the citation. No points off my license, but it’s a €100 fine. I get a 50% discount if I pay it before the 22nd of August.
Immediately, after Jeff’s Dr appointment I went to the Caxiabank to pay the ticket. You can pay traffic tickets at this bank, only. Or the post office. I didn’t bother with trying to get the 900 yr old lady at the local Correos office to wrap her head around me paying for my moving violation. Since we haven’t received our passports yet – nor a notice they were delivered to the US embassy in Madrid – I am pretty sure she would have just covered my traffic ticket in Hello Kitty stamps until she was dizzy, and never recorded my payment with the DGT. Being a fugitive from justice in Spain is not on my bucket list.
So I went to the bank. But they stop taking payments for taxes, fees, or traffic tickets at 11am. They stay open until this afternoon, but 11am is the cutoff. Why? We don’t know. So I have to go back tomorrow. And with cash only. At a bank. Seriously.
This is only the second time I have run afoul of Johnny Law in a foreign country. Although, I live here in Spain, so the foreign part is debatable. I collected a parking ticket once in Edinburgh, Scotland. The ticket was so beautiful I was seriously considering pulling a Robert the Bruce and going on the lam, when I received a wee reminder in the post back home in the US. And they required I send back the original ticket with payment. That was punishment enough.
But, this speeding ticket is not my fault. I know this because we were discussing Spanish driving licenses and the points system with friends over dinner on Friday night. They hold powerful sway with the Almighty, and it wasn’t my speeding, but the conversation that resulted in my brush with the law. Thank the Good Lord we weren’t talking about pregnancy or I would be in a world of hurt right about now. Next time, I will insist the conversation sticks strictly to winning the lottery, discovering the fountain of youth, or a huge book deal. Hmmm. On second thought, they’re both Scottish. A double whammy. Maybe this is Scottish karma for paying that Edinburgh parking ticket so late, after all. 😉