[For the first part of this saga, read "My Traffic Ticket Dilemma; or: Can the System Be Reasoned With? (Or at Least Stroked Gently Into Submission?)."]
First, a big, fat, inappropriately sexual "thank you" to those of you who offered advice in the comments section or via e-mail about my nerve-wracking, stress-inducing, wanting-to-beat-someone-to-a-bloody-pulp ticket situation. There were two basic camps: those people who believed that I should and could fight the system and those who thought I was pretty much fucked anyway so I should just bend over and take it like a (gay) man.
I wrestled with the issue for a long time, and my thinking pretty much boiled down to the question of how much $811 was worth to me. Was $811 so much money that it was worth the time and effort to continue researching the system, making phone calls, sending letters, and going to the courthouse (perhaps multiple times)? Or was $811 a relatively small price to pay to make it all end in an instant and get on with my life?
Sorry to disappoint the social crusaders out there, but in the end I decided that more trips to court (especially after my recent stint at jury duty) would most likely set me on a path to Ulcer Island (do you know Ulcer Island?; it sucks), so I paid the goddamn money and intended to take Peter K.'s advice of then "taking advantage of as many public services as possible, to feel like you're getting some value for the $811 you just shelled out."
Well, guess what?
After I paid the (let me reemphasize—patently unfair) fine via phone, three different people at the court's collection agency insisted that I had to go to the courthouse anyway to request that an "abstract" be sent to the DMV (a document that said I paid my fine and my license should not be suspended). Plus, letting the DMV know that I did in fact pay the $811 cost an additional $10.
I called the court, waited to speak to an operator (I was the 70-something person in the queue), and begged her to tell me an alternative way for me to clear my name with the DMV without going to the court. After looking up my information, she said that no such alternatives existed.
So...I spent most of my day today going to the court and waiting in line.
Well, guess what?
The clerk told me that an abstract was unnecessary because the DMV had already cleared my name. Okay, so I saved myself $10, but what the fuck?!
There's a lesson here, isn't there? But what's the lesson? Never believe anything anyone tells you ever? I can't subscribe to that. I have too much faith in people.
Is that a sign of a strong, unbroken spirit—or is it an open invitation for you to fuck me over? It may very well be both. But I will be watching you.