i like my chicken fried

Last week I had to make a call to the DMV in Washington D.C. Turns out when Caleb was up there in August he got one of those automated traffic ticket thingies for this violation: “SIGNAL PASS RED LITE” which I’m assuming means he didn’t use a blinker while turning at a stoplight?


Everyone knows the rules of the road are different up there than they are down here. Well, actually, they are probably the same, just observed differently. I think its awesome that D.C. is privileged enough to worry about a car full of soldiers from Alabama doing the last of their bomb training before shipping out to Iraq, who forget to use a blinker at the red light. There are slightly bigger things to worry about down here. You can marry your cousin in this state. Just sayin’.

Anyway, its not the point of this post to flay my husband for his traffic ticket. He’s actually a very good driver, in my small town Alabamian opinion. The point of this post is to tell you about the DMV in Washington D.C. which is where I called to get some answers about the fine on the ticket. We never received the original ticket, maybe because the car was a rental from Florida or paid for by the military? I don’t know. This letter I found in the mailbox on Wednesday saying we’d failed to pay and were subject to a fine EQUAL TO THE AMOUNT OF THE TICKET was the first I’d seen of it.

So there I was going through the automated menu for the DMV for the forth time because I just wanted to talk to a real person and they require you to jump through a flaming hoop and promise naming rights of your first child to get that privilege.

When I finally got a lady on the phone I explained the situation and then answer her “yes, ma’am” three times before I remembered reading that some people in the North consider it insulting to be addressed as “ma’am” or “sir”. Oops.

“Well, this is a rental car,” she says in surprise.

“Yes, ma’am.” Oops.

“And you live in Alabama?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Oops. ARGH!

“Okay,” she says. “I’m going to direct you to the form you need to fill out and mail in. Are you ready?”

She then gives me a website, one excruciating letter at a time. After the “W…w…w…dot…” I realize she either thinks I’m extremely dense or unable to type, or probably both. But I keep my mouth shut and wait for further instructions.

“Go to the bottom of the page and select the second word of the menu… then the forth bullet point on that page…”

O-kay. Maybe she things I can’t read either?

“Wait—“ she pauses, as a thought occurs to her. “Do you have internet?”

Um, yes. And my kids where shoes to Wal-Mart too.


Elisa said…
Oh Jackie, I hate that you had to deal with that (and are still dealing with that). Just imagine the kind of people she probably has to deal with every day, I'm guessing she goes that slowly for a reason! I hadn't heard about "ma'am" or "sir" being insulting, oops for me, too!
Jackie said…
Lol, thanks Elisa. I actually found the whole thing entirely entertaining, and I got a really good laugh out of it :)
Karolena said…
haha, yeah my sister-in-law lives in Pennsylvania and has gotten yelled at for saying, "yes, ma'am." Good story.