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rant

Go to vote, get a ticket

Alternative title: My Moron Moment of the Day
Of course, I have no one to blame but myself.
Each election cycle, Denton County, in its infinite wisdom, changes the polling place for our precinct, and apparently for all precincts in the county. This election was no different. So after finding out we would be voting at Bridlewood Elementary, I set off to vote.
I have passed by the Bridlewood development several times, but have never been inside. There is a golf club as part of the development, and part of the fairway parallels Bridlewood Boulevard. I followed my Yahoo! Maps directions, and turned off the main road to get to the school. After navigating a couple of turns, I find myself on Remington Park Drive, the street the school is on. I’m doing about 30, and slow to 20 when I hit the school zone, which starts near the top of a rise. As I begin to crest the rise, I see the school on my left, and a red sign with “Vote Here” in black and a large white arrow directing me in to the school’s parking lot. I come down the rise, put on my blinker, and turn left in to the school parking lot. Then I hear the “Whoop!” of the motorcycle’s cop siren. He does a single blast, and that’s enough to get my attention.
I pull over to one side of the aisle I’m on, wondering what I’m getting stopped for. It couldn’t be the school zone speed limit. I was doing twenty. I know I was doing twenty, because I’m fastidious about keeping it at twenty while in a school zone. Did I bump up to 22, maybe, coming down the rise? He’s going to give me a citation for that? These are the thoughts running through my head as he walks up to the window.
Driver’s license, insurance, I hand them over. He checks to make sure the insurance is current and hands the paper back. Then he asks if I know why he stopped me, and I tell him, no, I don’t. “You missed a stop sign back there, Mr. Turner.”
I did what?
Yep, never saw it. Sure enough, as I was leaving the school after I voted, there it was. Just on the down slope of that rise. I allowed my attention to laser-focus on the school and that “Vote Here” sign, and I totally missed the stop sign. (Stupid developer, putting a cul-de-sac right there in the middle of a down slope…)
So now I get to do the payment + defensive driving course (hopefully I can do the video version) thing, to keep this off my record and from affecting my insurance. It’s not good to be unemployed and broke, and have to cough up money because you were stupid. So again, totally my fault for not paying attention, and this voting experience could have been better.
On the totally geeky side of things, the officer had a handheld computer which allowed him to scan in my license info–thanks to the handy magnetic strip on the back–then punch in the violation, then I signed on the screen a la signing for a package from UPS or FedEx. He punched another button, and a paper version of the citation rolled out of the top. Nice to see the Town saving a little money by doing away with cases of duplicate/triplicate citations. I’m sure there’s a time savings, too, for the officer when he turns in the citations at the end of his shift. If I had to get a ticket, pretty nifty way to have done so.