Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Caught In The Act

Yesterday, in the mail, I received a letter from the City of Seattle Photo Enforcement Program. Hmmm. That couldn’t be good. I opened it up and there was a picture of my ex-Jetta’s license plate and two photos of my ex-car running a red light at 6th and James, in the morning on May 15, just over two weeks ago. The fine was for $124. My stomach sunk and then rebounded as I realized that I had signed over ownership of the Jetta when I bought Buttercup, end of April. It was traded in at the Mini dealer. I had done the transfer of sale on line the day I bought the car so all was in order. Except it’s not. Somebody is driving my car around and hasn’t claimed ownership of it.

I called the Mini dealer to find out what’s going on. I should have thought to ask for Rocky to help me out (sigh….). But I wasn’t thinking. So instead I got transferred a few times until I talked to the Title expert. She assures me the car was sold and the paper work turned in. The sale to the new owner wasn’t finalized until May 21 (week before last) so the violation happened when the car was in “no man’s land.”

Here’s the lump in the throat part. The violation form lists Registered Owner as me and the Wasband. I did a little panicked breath, worrying that they would send a copy of the violation to him as well. And suddenly I felt like I was in middle-school, wanting to beat my parents home so I could intercept the mail before my bad grades arrived. If Mark gets a copy of the violation I could be in trouble. I know that’s not true. #1: I have proof that I didn’t own the car when the violation was caught. #2: So what if I had, and still have been married to him. I am an adult. How come I feel so vulnerable to his wrath if anything was wrong?

One of the things we argued about was my driving. He drove like and old, old man. I drove like a responsible adult who knew how to go places. Whenever he was in the car and I was driving, I’d try to ignore the sharply indrawn breaths and “whoas” that he couldn’t help emitting. But I was quick to snap back on how I knew what I was doing. To avoid the whole thing I usually let him drive on errands, and I would have to self talk or close my eyes so I wouldn’t show my impatience at his old man ways. For example, he didn’t like driving in the HOV lane because he was always afraid someone from the slow lane would pull out in front of him. So on a holiday weekend, as we were heading out of town, our car full of three would be sitting in the jammed freeway lanes right next to the nearly empty HOV lanes. It was torture, I tell you. The times I did drive with him in the car was when we had been out with friends and he wasn’t in shape to drive. I was always the designated driver. You can guess why. And even then he had the nerve to correct my driving. I am a safe driver. My record shows it. I like to drive. I like to move. But he could bring me so quickly to the defensive, nervous, anxious driver and I hated that. I hate that I see this violation and I immediately go to fear and anxiety just because his name is on the form. AND I DON’T EVEN OWN THE CAR.

We had a joint checking account. A few times I misplaced my ATM card. Honestly, I found them in my purse but before I found them I wasn’t worried that they would get in the wrong hands. I knew I had them somewhere. Just couldn’t put my finger on where and so I wanted to cancel and re-order a replacement ASAP. But to do so they would have to stop both our ATM cards and issue new ones. That meant that I had to tell him. When I told him I lied. I told him that the ATM machine ate my card. That was the only excuse I could think of that would not get me “into trouble.” I hate that I had to lie to my husband. I hate that I was afraid of him. I hate that he could make me feel like a bad child when I was just being a normal, functioning working mother.

It isn’t very hard for me to recall incident upon incident where I had gotten into trouble with him. I had cleanly put those things out of my head, and really not thought about that in so long. But this infraction form just sends me right back to that bad place. Thank you Jesus that I don’t live like that anymore. Maybe these feelings will go away over time. I hope so. I’m going to label this a “teaching moment” and get out of it what I can. Anyway, welcome to my world…

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