Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Night Frolic — Running Lights and Bulls

Andy Warhol. Cow 1976.

Racing to an appointment in Boston yesterday, the Suburban Soliloquist jumped off the highway and on to a one-way secondary road where she drove beneath a traffic light just after it turned yellow,  attempting, admittedly, to thinly beat the red light get past the light before it turned red. Just beyond the light, she was pulled over by at state trooper. A state trooper. The bulky, thick-necked trooper lumbered over to her car, his wide-brimmed Smokey the Bear hat snug on his unusually large head, his big, brown leather boots clunking like an ungulate, and without a hello, demanded her license and registration as though through a bull horn: License and registration. She promptly handed him the requested items and said, meekly, "The light was yellow as I passed under it."

“Ma’m, the light was red,” he replied in a deep, monotone voice.

“Officer, it was yellow. I wouldn't have gone through a red light.”

“Ma’m, you don’t want to argue the point. I saw it. The light was red.”

The Suburban Soliloquist was clearly annoyed (as was the trooper). Why won't he listen to me? It's like talking to a cow. Or is it a bull? He looks like a bull. “I’m quite certain it was yellow,” she mooed. 

She glanced at her watch as the trooper stamped back to his vehicleclomp, clomplights still whirring red. She was late for the appointment. She was udderly utterly frantic. There was virtually no traffic on the adjacent street (also a one-way)where only a right turn could be made at the stoplight onto the one-way street where she was parked. She had made sure, before she crossed under the light,  that no car was turning right on to the road. She had never received a citation. Well, at least not in the past twenty years or sothat is sort of like never. She had received only warnings. Of which there had been several.

She is not a reckless driver. (She wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea.)

The state trooper sat in the front seat of the grey and maroon vehicle, removed his hat from his mammoth head, and fiddled with electronic gadgets at the dashboard. The Suburban Soliloquist surmised that  he was checking her records. It took a long time. I wonder if he’ll give me a warning, she thought. Window rolled down, she tapped her fingers on the car door's outer side. She was becoming aggravated. Hurry up, dammit. She looked at her watch again. Autos of various sizes and colors whizzed by. She thought some of them might have run the red light, whereas she had merely beaten the red light.

When the bullish trooper returned he did not issue her a warning, as she had anticipated hoped.  Instead he handed her a piece of white paper and said, “I’m giving you a citation for running the red light.”

Her eyes brightened, “I did not run the red light!”

"M’am, I know you ran the red light. I saw you run the red light. So you ran the red light,” said the bully trooper whose speech had become more pressured. He did not look pleased. He looked like he might write her an additional citation. She saw smokey vapor stream from his nostrils. She thought he might gore her.

So, the Suburban Soliloquist thought it best to nod her head and say, "Ok, I'm sorry about that, but it looked like it was still yellow to me."

The trooper snorted, tipped his ridiculous looking hat at her and walked away. She slipped her license back in to her wallet and gazed at the citation: One Hundred and Fifty Dollars for running beating passing through a red light. $150.00! Preposterous. That is highway robbery, she thought. Everything went red.  I'm going to fight this bull!

Then, she remembered she was months overdue for her vehicle safety inspection. Fortunately, the mad bull had not noticed this error. He wasn't that smart after all. 

She drove off to her appointment, for which she was very, very late.

Later, she discovered that some ungulates actually listen (and clearly see):

The New Hot 5 is a New Orleans style jazz band that's getting, of late, a lot of press. This September alone, they were featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno;  Today on NBC (as video of the week); and, Good Morning America, as well as other news outlets. Their Jazz for Cows video has gone viral. And it looks like their new website was launched as a quick response to all the attention and interest. 

But they're not shy when it comes to sharing their talent with species other than the bovinae.  

Dr. Steve Call is a professor at Brigham Young University and is the ensemble's tubist and leader. All of his band mates are former BYU students trained in traditional jazz. The instruments played are the tuba, clarinet, trumpet, tombone and banjo!

Man (maybe even state troopers?) and bovinae patiently await their inaugural CD.


  1. Holy cow, 'Burb! That totally sucks.

    You know, I think the word has gone out for the Staties: Ticket them. For everything. If you want to keep your job. Revenue, boys.

  2. So glad to hear you weren't cowed.

    who will return for a real comment later :)

  3. isn't it interesting when we know we were sorta in the wrong and try to fight it? last night i raced onto the train with my bike literally as it was leaving and then realized i forgot to validate my ticket, and crossed my fingers no inspectors would come on. ugh, they did. he ticketed everyone else who made up all kinds of excuses and after they left was going to write me one and i just apologized, took responsibility, said i knew it was stupid but didn't want to be a female downtown after dark and took the risk. he gave me a warning :)

    ps - great musical accompaniments, as always :)

  4. At least you did not have to endure the lecture of how you are endangering your mother and grandmother like I did. BAD COW! :)

    I love that video too I saw it last week.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  5. You know, when they want to give you a ticket, it doesn't matter if you deserved it ot not. I got pulled over in a speed trap once. I still don't think I was going as fast as they said but I was most worried about getting shot than I was the ticket. I was so nervous, I dropped my pen. I asked him if I could retrieve it from the floor at my feet. He gave me his pen to use.

  6. Reading you was SO what I needed tonight. Thank you! (And I was totally laughing WITH you.)

  7. Hubby got nailed for doing 37 on a 30mph country road. Everyone in front of him was doing 45+ leaving dust trails. He was even passed by several cars, but he was the one going the slowest - and the only one that got caught.

    183 smackaroos! Must have been quota time.

  8. Nance- Yep. I really am tempted to fight this, but that means showing up in court in Beantown, and is it really worth the time (and cost of getting there and back) and aggravation?

    Honestly, I don't know what color the light was when I was directly under it. It might very well have been red. But I don't think yellow light change that quickly! I wanted to ask him if he had the proof, a video, but thought it best not to. ;)

  9. JES- Oh, but, I had a cow.

    For a real comment? OK, you may take one or leave one. I do like it when you've left one behind though. ;)

  10. EcoGrrl- It's all to easy to rationalize. But for $150.00, I want hard evidence. I don't want to see a photo of my car as it passes through the red light!

    We all know those troopers have quotas. But I also know sometimes we take liberties with a sunny light. If I hadn't been in such a rush, I would have slowed. I "what-if" my kids all the time. About driving, I remind them all the time: when you start driving, never go through the light as soon as it turns green. Look first. People often run--or beat--reds (I've seen enough of those accidents).

    The officer made a point of saying, "What if a car had been..." Boy, did he make me feel like a child. ;/

  11. Jules- You're back in the blogosphere! Oh, that would have been too much. That would have really sent me over... If I'd had the kids in the car, though, it wouldn't have happened!

    He was definitely a BAD COW! ;)

  12. Ellen- So very true! Those speed traps are so unfair. I mean really, pulling over one person out of one-hundred who are all traveling at the same pace. What does that accomplish?

    Maybe it's the impetus to purchase that radar system. ;)

    (Those Staties are brutes.)

  13. Loree- You got it: quota time! In this depressed economy, as Nance noted, it's near guaranteed revenue for the state. Vay!

  14. j- So glad to have elicited giggles and smiles from you. Once we fail to find the humor, well, that's just the beginning of the end.

    Thanks for visiting. ;)

  15. EcoGrrl- I meant I WANT to see a photo of my car driving past the red light. That is if he could have actually produced one. Ha!

    We should be demanding hard evidence. Really.

  16. Time to embrace a first world solution: a chauffeur!

  17. I just have that springsteen song in my head now....'mr state trooper...please don't stop me'...
    yeah i think myself and the local constabulary have finally reached an accord these days...well at least i have...i turn and walk the other way, usually down the nearest alleyway. Not that i have EVER done ANYTHING wrong in my life but i used to get stopped in the street for all manner of things..but thats another story...
    jazz for cows eh? it...and adore that music too ;)

  18. Jayne, its funny how we can do a million things right when nobody is looking. I’m sorry you had to experience that. Everyone knows that a yellow light means “go like Hell!” A hundred and fifty freaken bucks is a ton of money to have to pay. I have to admit that the way you wrote it made it very amusing…but I’m not laughing at you!
    I hate being pulled over. There is NO arguing with a cop; I know this from experience. The more you say the redder they get, like a cartoon thermometer.
    I did love your cow video. I’m still smiling from it;)

  19. Loach- Oh I like your solution. I wouldn't mind that at all. But it'd have to be someone willing to do a lot of short drives--pick up the kids at school, soccer, track, dance, detention, yadda, yadda... Hey, that'd also be an effective way to get them to sit in the back seat like they should! And then I'd have to have a fairy godmother to pay the chauffeur.

    I wonder if that trooper is looking for a new job? ;)

  20. Dan- An accord? You are even smoother than I suspected. But walking down alleys--isn't that where all the trouble starts? I seem to remember a story...

    And by the way, the Burn in Hell CD was delivered to me today! All the way from OZ! Well, actually, it was direct from Portland, OR, but it was at one time in OZ, right? My very first purchase from Down Under. (Now I have that song in my head! :)

  21. Leah- Yeah, no kidding. Do we get any awards for that? Oh, look, you did this right today! Here's your trophy--wait I already wrote about that in an earlier post! And is was about awards being overrated...

    Well, you know, the whole incident was amusing. I was mad as hell but it was still amusing. Of course I'll wait as long as I can to pay that ticket, but I'm in Boston a little to often to blow it off. Last year I got a $50.00 parking ticket and a $100.00 tow for parking my car on a side street at the wrong time of day, on the wrong day of the week, and the wrong season of the year. Cars could park only during certain 2 hour intervals and the sign was impossible to decipher! (Or maybe I didn't bother to decipher and had just hoped that it was my two hours.)

    $150.00 seems to be the magic number in Boston. ;)

  22. Truly a soliloquy. State troopers aren't known for their sense of humor.

  23. Getting pulled over is such a hit-or-miss kind of thing. I have to admit, sometimes I think I deserve a ticket and watch my rear view mirror, sure that they caught me. But they never come.
    My husband plays his sax for the cows across our road. If he plays one long note they'll sometimes moo in return.

  24. So Sorry about the ticket! That is frustrating.

    Funny read, though. You presented the story well and I was interested to find out what would happen

  25. Woohoo J Girl....I will let the boys from Hell know about your successful purchase and unadorned love for them and their musical meanderings. They will be tickled pink!

  26. Munk- Really? I had no idea. ;)

    (Maybe more of a rant than a soliloquy!)

  27. Leonora- I know those moments. Who hasn't had them? (Unless the only thing you drive is a golf cart on the fairway--and even there, I've seen trouble).

    I just love that your husband is playing for the cows! So thoughtful of him. And they provide a little harmony, I see. They're also good with the bells. :)

  28. Jade- Live and learn right? Wait, I'm old enough to have already learned this lesson. Oh, well, live and learn. Again. ;)

  29. Thanks, Dan! Listened to it this afternoon. Good raucous fun. ;)

  30. My daughter went through the same thing. Infuriated she showed up in court. Time after time she heard the judge pronounce the same thing regarding all the cases in front of her: "... a yellow light does not mean 'proceed with caution', it means the light is turning red and you need to stop".

    She just paid the fine.

  31. When I talk about myself in the third person, my fiance threatens to have me committed. You, on the other hand, tell a damn good story with it. Even if the account does get my blood a-boiling. Whether it was simply power abuse, or lying to meet his ticket quota, few things get me pricklier than unjust traffic citations. I feel your pain!

  32. Inappropriate laughter. Sorry.

    When they are on a quota there is no arguing about the color orange.

  33. Robert- But sometimes you can't stop! Sometimes it would be more dangerous to stop short and hard! Meh, the judge is always right. (But the same is not true of the troopers.)

  34. Beer- Well, Brandon, I guess it depends on what your are talking about... not that I wish to be privy to those conversations. ;)

    I think, in this case, the trooper and I were probably both bending it a bit. But it shouldn't have been that expensive a twist. A real crook it was.

  35. Antares- There's no such thing as inappropriate laughter here. Laugh, laugh! Please--be my guest!

  36. Sheesh, that's steep! Blimey, I always beat the red (doesn't count if it flashes red at your tail-light, if the nose goes through on yellow, it legal). He's soooo full of cow-crap.

    Poor you.

  37. In my day-job incarnation with a municipal government in the Deep South, among other duties I field citizen inquiries/"suggestions" regarding things related to streets conditions and traffic control. Long recognized as one of the worst cities in history -- yes, HISTORY -- for red-light-running, we recently instituted an electronic gotcha system: run a red light, we snap a photo of your car. Hello, moving violation.

    You wouldn't believe the nitpicky "suggestions" which come in through my Inbox, from people who insist e.g. "Traffic signal X is supposed to stay yellow for 3 seconds but it changed after only 2, which caused me to get a ticket!" and "The stop bar painted on the pavement at intersection Y is two inches narrower than I think it should be, creating the illusion that I had crossed it when in fact I was ON it." Etc.

    So when I read this account I was torn. Believe my own experience, or believe the account of one of my favorite people on the Interwebs?

    Chalk another one up for the milk of human (and bureaucratic) kindness. You may pass, ma'am, and have a nice day.

  38. DB- Clearly. We may need to add a new color to stop light spectrum. ;)

  39. Shrinky- Moo. Indeed he is. Or is he? Either way, it wouldn't matter, they don't want to hear anything except Yes, sir!

  40. JES- Day-job incarnation? That's good. I'd like one of those. Actually, I'd like just a plain day job. That pays. (I say that, but I know I should be careful what I wish for.) Lately, most of my work has been pro-bono for hubby.

    How I would welcome such electronic gotcha system! Accused citizens should be provided with proof!

    Your response prompted me to go to Boston's official website, wherein, under "Traffic Signal Plans & Specs" it is stated that: "Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the high quality and accuracy of the content on this site, the City of Boston (“City”) makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the content of the site." Now why would one continue reading further beyond that statement?

    And I don't blame you for being torn. I was torn. How do I know what color the light was as I went under it? Though I do know that it was yellow as I approached the intersection--but, hmm, probably on the far side of yellow, and from the officer's perspective it was red (the early side). ;)

    See, this is why we need cameras.

    (Thanks for the pass! :D)