so i just got finished doing something rather unpleasant.

on january 16, 2008, at 4:41am (if you were wondering), our township issued me a parking ticket.

which i never received.

but that’s apparently beyond the point.

now, we’re no saints in the parking department. there have been several occasions where we have parked too close to a stop sign (there’s no indicator WHERE “too close” to the stop sign is, but WHATEVER), or we haven’t moved the car before 9am every other wednesday for street cleaning. STREET CLEANING. in the middle of the suburbs. twice a month.

but when we get these tickets, despite questioning the premise of the ticket, as soon as we RECEIVE the ticket, we pay them right away. because we’re good citizens.

the process for paying tickets in jersey is electronic. so when you go on-line you can see ALL of the tickets that you are up against. but for us, like i said, we pay our tickets off right away. RIGHT AWAY. so there really is no queue to speak of, just the ticket we’ve just received that we’re paying RIGHT AWAY.

then, last week, i get something in the mail with big bold letters on the front which reads, “OFFICIAL LEGAL NOTICE.”

hmmm.

i open it, peruse the letter, and see that there was a VIOLATION, and that i FAILED TO APPEAR IN COURT, and A WARRANT MAY BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST, or YOUR DRIVING PRIVILEGES MAY BE SUSPENDED, and i would be SUBJECT TO CONTEMPT OF COURT.

whaaa???

but i pay my tickets.

i did not get this ticket, folks. i promise you. THE TICKET WAS NOT ON OUR CAR. or i would have paid it. right away. (good citizens and whatnot…you get the point.) and even if something happened to the ticket, like it fell off of the car, or the bunny who eats our zucchini flowers got the munchies and needed some additional fiber in his diet, it would have shown up on-line when i was paying the other tickets at some point over the last year and eight months since it was issued, right? RIGHT?

ok, so there’s got to be a good explanation for this.

for instance, a couple of months ago i was on the ticket payment website, paying a ticket we had received a week beforehand (RIGHT AWAY), and noticed that there was another ticket on our record. the ticket was for a violation (a hit and run. small matter, right?) that had been made in a county we had never been to, in a car i’ve never seen that was owned by somebody else. my heart starts to race immediately. WHO DID I HIT? WHO DRUGGED ME TO DRIVE ANOTHER CAR? IN A FOREIGN COUNTY? wait. what? no. we didn’t do that.

so i immediately called the court attached to the ticket, and explained the situation. 5 minutes later, with a new jersey apology given from that county’s court office, “<grunt> ok. i took care of it. <grunt>” justice was served. i felt extremely proud of my accomplishment.

which brings us back to the new small little dilemma of: WARRANT MAY BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST. mike and i both decided that some similar error was going on with this ticket. so i decided that i would call our town’s court office and get it taken care of. once again.

so this morning i call the court’s office, and i talk to the woman in charge, explaining the entire situation.

she responds, “gosh, gee. that doesn’t really happen, so i don’t really know what to say.”

i’ve got something i could say.

i compose myself, and say, “well, this sort of thing has happened to us before, where a ticket has wrongly been placed in our ‘ticket queue’. could this have happened?”

her: “no.”

me: “but it has never shown up in my ‘ticket queue’ and i never physically saw the ticket. i’m fairly skeptical about this ticket since the system has messed up before.”

her: “yeah….hmmm. that’s too bad. i don’t know what to say.”

TELL ME IT’S YOUR ERROR.

me: “so what should i do about this?”

her: “i guess you should pay the ticket, because it would show up on our end if it had been entered in incorrectly. thank you, have a good day.”

GGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

my only other option at this point is to go into court, object and plead not guilty.

and while i know i’m incredibly witty and smooth (ha), i don’t feel confident that those qualities would translate while pleading ‘not guilty’ in court. i’m just not going to go if i don’t have to go.

so i pay the eff-ing ticket. i am 45 bucks poorer this morning because of some stupid non-existent ticket.  and now i’m whining to you.

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