A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Small town hazard

Parker, AZ is one of those cities you drive through to get someplace else. It's nice enough, but not on my list of places to see before I die. Anyway, we had to drive through there on the way to Tucson earlier this month. We stopped to get lunch and as soon as Ed pulled out of the parking lot into the street, a policeman heading the other direction did a U-turn and pulled us over. Said Ed was speeding. Going 46 in a 35. Not sure how he clocked it since we had barely pulled out into traffic, but there it was. Having seen many episodes of Mayberry, we knew better than to argue. So Ed bravely took out his license, submitted to the interrogation, and signed the form for the ticket. No warnings, here! After all, we were from California!

The choice is to pay the fine (around $110) or to go to traffic school. Heading back to Parker is not exactly on our five-year plan, so Ed decided to just pay the ticket. Then he talked to his insurance guy and found out that, while this ticket won't increase his insurance, a second one anytime soon might. Ed doesn't get speeding tickets (well, except for that one time when it was very early in the morning, he was the only one on the bridge, and he figured no CHP would be up that early), but now with this pressure, he was almost afraid to drive!

Last week he called someone in Arizona to find out whether they had anything online he could do. And they did. So today is the day he started a four hour online course followed by a test that you have to take in front of a Notary! They don't mess around in AZ.

Ed got on the computer first thing this morning. The test is set up so you can't skip any steps - they make sure it takes you the whole four hours. And, to ensure that you are the person actually sitting in front of the computer, they have a series of "security" questions that pop up periodically and randomly. You are given a very short time to answer them. The answers are based on a list of questions you have to fill in before you start. Once you're logged in, you have to continue until a breaking spot. Then you must log out. Peeing must be carefully scheduled. The tension was mounting.

I was sitting at my computer so I could hear the whole thing. Ed talks back to the computer a lot. When he started out he was totally frazzled. I made the mistake of trying to say something to him at one point and he said, "Don't talk to me right now, I have to concentrate!" So that meant no music, no banter, and definitely no websites that have sound. Now he was starting to wiggle around on his chair, and rocking back and forth like he does when he's stressed. Suddenly one of ths security questions popped up and he freaked! Forgot all his answers! I was afraid that I was going to have to squirt him with cold water or something but he finally calmed down and moved on. I kept hearing things like: "Shit, another security question" or "Damn it, they don't give you enough time to answer" or "I'm logging out for a bit so I can breathe." It's good that I've learned to laugh silently.

Then he started printing. Pages of paper. All the questions that he could print. I think he has one ream done so far and is only 1 1/2 hours into the program. But since his middle name is OCD, this is typical.

I just hope he passes the test! I think he only has 7 days from the time he starts the program until he finishes and takes the test. Since we're leaving town next Wednesday for a long weekend, that gives him four days. Don't know if he's considered that but I guarantee I'm not going to be the one to tell him. Oh, no.

And I really must refrain from saying "Too bad you weren't driving slower, eh." That's just not nice.


Nikki said...

Sandi, my husband is a chronic slow driver...we visited AZ in March and I can't even tell you how many times I said, "can we at least go the speed limit" he'd roll his eyes and put it on cruise control at the EXACT speed limit...then my son will say "man if mom were driving we'd be there by now!" of course I don't get to drive because of that little thing...hehe. poor Ed, he'll get through it. When you said Tanque Verde it brought back Tucson memories...we have to meet in Tucson for real! We can skip the politics and talk Arizona! :)N

namaste said...

oh man! thanks for the heads up about driving in az. when i've been their it was all taxis. tell ed to hang in there. i know he can do it!



Sandi said...

Nikki - At least your husband won't be fidgeting in front of a computer like poor Ed! And, yes, we definitely need to meet up in Tucson.

Maria - If you took taxis, you must not have been in Parker!!

ira said...

Best of Luck Ed!
Do let us know what happened sandy!
I know this sounds soo redundant, but, "You're darn funny! :)"

Jenni said...

Both Mel and Jeff got tickets for speeding along the same route in AZ. I think they wait for Californians because they know most of us will pay the fine rather than go back for traffic school.

Lesson learned. Drive the speed limit is AZ border towns!