I hate getting in trouble.
It's probably fair to say that most people don't like getting in trouble, but I really hate getting in trouble. I'm not really sure why I am the way that I am, but I grew up wanting to make sure I stayed out of trouble as much as possible. In fact, I still remember when I got a warning in third grade and bawled when I had to tell my mom about it.
The year was 1997. I was in Mrs. Raley's third-grade class, and I have no idea what the morning work was that day, but whatever it was, I blazed through it. It was probably something that I'd been practicing at home with my parents. Regardless, I decided to use my extra time to rearrange my Spacemaker pencil box. Elementary school gets hectic at times, and sometimes you don't have sufficient time to make sure your pencils are all facing the same direction before you throw your box into your desk and move on to the next subject, but on this day, I had extra time, so I started working on facing my colored pencils in the same direction and putting my erasers in the same corner of the box.
This is not my actual post. Photo from https://www.reddit.com/r/nostalgia/comments/9lrvpv/i_know_you_all_remember_the_spacemaker_pencil_box/
After I'd removed the contents of my box and started putting my colored pencils back in place, Mrs. Raley looked up and said, "Kimberly, put that away." I guess she wanted me to read a book or do a quieter activity while everyone finished their morning work, but I decided to make an effort to be extra quiet while organizing my pencils instead.
It didn't work.
Mrs. Raley looked up a few moments later, saw that I had defied her, and called me up to her desk, asking that I bring my behavior sheet over to her. I can only imagine that my head drooped like Scooter's does when I fuss at her for getting into the trash can or eating something from the recycling bin, but I took the walk of shame and brought the sheet to her desk. Then, I returned to my desk to watch while she wrote down the details of my misdeeds that I would later share with my mom.
I had a direct view of Mrs. Raley's desk from my desk, and it was painful watching her write multiple sentences about how I had disrupted the class and been a bad example for my peers. I had other friends in my class who had gotten warnings on their behavior sheets, but they were usually things like "talking in class" or "out of seat without permission." I, on the other hand, was on the receiving end of multiple sentences. Maybe it was because I was not a regular recipient of a behavioral warning, but my parents were getting the full dish on how I was rearranging my box, the teacher asked me to stop, I didn't, and then I got a warning. I didn't think choosing to arrange my pencil box was such a bad choice, but I knew I was in the wrong for defying my teacher. Although I knew I was in the wrong, I couldn't help but feel ashamed and a little upset that I was in trouble. This happened more than 22 years ago, yet I still remember that day. I don't think about it often, but I thought about today.
Specifically, I thought about it today because I got in trouble again.
The great state of Louisiana has vehicle inspection stickers, and I'm not a fan. They can be purchased for one year or two years, and the inspection process isn't a big deal at all. In December 2016, I purchased a two-year sticker for $20 and moved on with my life. When December 2018 rolled around, I never made time to get a new sticker. This spring, I made three attempts to go get a sticker and failed at them all; two were my fault, and one was the shop's fault. I know I should've been more diligent about trying to get a new sticker, but I started to notice more and more people in my life who also had expired stickers. I caught a bit of joy whenever I found that other people had stickers that were more expired than mine.
"Ha! This person is more mature/a higher ranking professional than I am, and they don't have a current sticker either!"
I didn't feel pressured to go get another sticker. On the contrary, I became a safer driver in other respects because my understanding was that if I wasn't stopped for speeding or another violation, I wouldn't get a ticket for my expired sticker either.
Well, it was all fun and games until today when I pulled off of Interstate 10 in Port Allen to head toward Highway 190. There was an officer waiting on the median, and he turned around shortly after I exited the ramp.
"He must be going to protect Louisiana's citizens in another area of Port Allen," I thought.
He turned on his lights and got right up behind me, so I pulled over immediately...like right on the side of the road where traffic was. After a few moments, he waved his hand to signal for me to pull over into the nearby McDonald's. I found a parking space between the McDonald's and an adult video store and waited to see which high profile criminal cruising around in a gold sedan the officer had mistaken me for.
"Do you realize you have a 2018 inspection sticker?"
He saw my yellow "18" instead of the red "19," blue "20," or whatever color 2021 happens to be. So, we went through the whole song and dance, including showing my license and registration and receiving a reminder from the officer not to lose my existing ticket in case I get pulled over for the same thing again. If it does happen again, I can show the kind officer that I have until July 10 to get my booty to the inspection station and align myself with the other law-abiding citizens of Sportsman's Paradise.
At the ripe old age of 30, I will say that I didn't feel much different when I received a ticket for an expired inspection sticker than I did when I was 8 years old and got in trouble with Mrs. Raley for rearranging my pencil box. Of all of the things to get in trouble for in life, these are two minor charges, but I certainly feel ashamed of myself. It's so easy to not have an expired inspection sticker, yet I have fallen short for months. I have been taught so much better than this and should behave in a way that shows I was "raised right."
Also, if you've heard that expired inspection stickers are a secondary offense in Louisiana, so you won't get a ticket for only having an expired sticker, let me be the first to say that you've been lied to, and the fine law enforcement officers in Port Allen will be pleased to serve you a ticket for $155.50 if you roll through when someone's looking. If your sticker expired in 2019, you're probably okay until at least January 2020, though.
Something that made today great: Leisurely drink and dinner date with my Work Wife at We Olive!
Time I woke up: 9:30 am