Been Keeping Me Down Watching My Back?
[Ed.Note: For those who don’t know, Trikeasaurus is my 500W tricycle-with-speakers (click here for more)]
So about a month ago, on one of my Trikeasaurus rides, a bad thing happened: I got a ticket. For being too loud & thus creating a public disturbance. The cop in question was kinda lame about it. Many cops have been cool or at worst have just said “turn it down”. Most ignore it. A few have been mean. This one was just lame in lecture and attitude.
Anyway I got this:
Doh! I can’t say I was surprised. I have been warned a few times, and the cop in question gave me a stern talking-to back in November (when I liked the idea of beat cops in my neighborhood & thought they would deter crime, not fun. Sigh. I guess I still like the idea of beat cops.) But all those reasons aside, I guess I knew that a maverick outlaw type like myself (stop laughing!) is always just one “good idea” away from the hoosegow. Given my DWITS (Driving While In Tiger Suit) incident of 2001, & the “Gloating over Political Victories Can Get You In Jail” episode of 2003, you could say I was way overdue.
Before I go on though, let’s make one thing clear: The fact is, I *am* violating the law when I’m rolling with Trikeasaurus: anything over 50 decibels is illegal.
A more important fact is that everyday numerous obnoxious motorcycles ROAR past my house at sounds way the hell louder and less pleasant than Trikeasaurus and no one ever gives them a ticket. Also, I take multiple steps to be as much of a positive thing as possible:
- I make a point of keeping my sound system moving so as to not annoy anyone for long.
- I’m careful about what time of day & types of days I rock the bike….
- I’m pretty conscientious to try to play music that will make a lot of people happy.
In fact the whole POINT of Trikeasaurus is to make people happy. And it works – the VAST majority of people are VERY happy when Trikeasaurus comes by. They tell me all the time, and now it has gotten to the point where random people stop me in the street with comments like “Hey! You’re the guy with the tricycle – right? Awesome we had soo much fun…. you made my day.”
So anyway, I went to court yesterday. I was expecting to plead my case and make various devastatingly reasonable points such as the ones above. I planned on courtroom drama. I planned on staring at the judge eye to eye. To look at it another way, I planned on losing. And I planned on paying a fine, being disgruntled about “The Man Keeping Me Down” and coming home and blogging about it.
Well here is what actually happened:
I showed up at the Hall of Justice, (disappointed as usual by the lack of Superfriends or even the lame Xann, Jana & the dumb monkey combo) and prepared myself to take on The Systemâ„¢. Very quickly my hopes of presenting a stirring and impassioned court room plea were crushed as I realized that my destiny only deserved a line in the Traffic tickets room that lead to a clerk behind a glass barrier. No Judge, no gavel, no “You want the truth! You Can’t Handle The Truth!” (I had worked that in by this point). Sigh.
So I waited in line for 15 minutes & then stood in front of The Manâ„¢ and frankly he kinda looked the part: late 40s, white guy, officious-if-bored. At least that much was meeting expectations. And so I opened:
‘Deep: “Good morning! How are you?”
The Manâ„¢: “Fine! What can I do for you?”
‘Deep:“Well I have a ticket” <sliding ticket through barrier>
The Manâ„¢: <reading> What? <smiling>
‘Deep: Well I have a sound system on my bicycle…
M: “Sounds fun!”
D: “Yeah – I think so and most people seem to – but this cop didn’t like it”
M: “Well, we don’t like this cop.”
D: “And I was playing Stevie Wonder at the time!”*
M: “Well your choices are the fine, or court”
D: “OK, what’s the fine & what’s the court?”
M: <slight pause, then reading>”This ticket is invalid”
M: “This ticket is invalid – was it a young cop?”
M: “Well it is invalid – you don’t have to pay”
D: “Wow! What is wrong with it?”
M: <gesturing vaguely over the text of the ticket> “Something’s wrong in
D: “Wow – Thanks.”
M: “This is your lucky day….”
And so it was ( a really lucky day! for numerous reasons**).
Thanks The Manâ„¢!!
* Ok this wasn’t true. It wasn’t Stevie. I think it was Asia actually? Luckily I wasn’t under oath.
Nice one Deep. Way to fight the system. The dude behind the glass is always the hardest to take down. Take the pope, for instance…
A few years ago, I received a warrant for my arrest. It was over a $10 fixit ticket that I had actually honored and paid, only the check got lost at the DPT. Whenever I called, they told me that they were very behind and to simply ignore the threatening notices I was receiving in the mail. So when I got the warrant, I decided to go to court rather than pay the $180 bail. Before I could say a word, the clerk reduced my bail to $10. I asked, “Don’t I have to appear before the judge first?” The judge politely nodded and feigned interest as I pointed to the date on my mechanic’s bill or my notes on colorful postits with the dates I called and what the DPT told me… I think that those judges are a bit bored and don’t want to strike fear into the hearts of the law-abiding. But were you really playing Asia? Coz there oughta be a law against Heat of the Moment!
maybe you should look into more cop-friendly music. they clearly hate asia. wonder what’s on the sfpd’s top forty. you should probably have inner circle’s “bad boys” on deck just in case.
btw, do you know how lucky you were to have a personable, cheery clerk?! that guy rules!
I like the “this ticket is invalid” line. Really, why? Oh, it just is….
that’s probably as close to god-like powers as I have seen in recent times.
oh, wait, the Bush administration used that already…
glad to know that it can be used for forces of good.
Gleek is not dumb! Wikipedia sez: “Gleek is also highly intelligent, as he clearly understands spoken English, even somewhat complicated concepts such as the various stages of simple strategic planning.”
Wonder Dog, on the other hand…
Two little notes:
Grace: “Heat of The Moment” is one of the Best Songs EVAR! So nyeh.
Geoff: Gleek was dumb. Seriously.
“I was expecting to plead my case….I planned on courtroom drama…”!!! That was so cute! The bollywood in us never dies – it expects, nay demands drama!! To be cheated out of it – it better have turned out good.
So glad to know logic and the system aren’t poles apart! The trikeasaurus should indeed get a citation and a key to the city to go with it!
Hey, congratulations! That’s pretty amazing.
If you want to go before a judge, you should contest a ticket in Seattle. But you won’t get a courtroom, just the judge’s office.
Great. Now, I have “the heat of the moment” going through my head.
Thanks for the uplifting tale of bureaucracy working for the little guy, even if you didn’t get to have your dramatic moment in court.
The question is, what are you going to do next time you see the cop.
Perhaps you should send him a clipping of SFWeekly Best of the Bay 🙂
I’m glad you got a cool clerk instead of a courtroom showdown (unless the drama would have made the SF Gov TV channel). My brother was just on a jury and he said the prosecution and defense BOTH used “You can’t handle the truth” in their closing arguments. It seems to be as played out as that Asia song…
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