My son’s school is a few miles from our house, on the outskirts of an undeveloped chunk of land.

When I drive away from there in the morning, I am frequently the only vehicle in the area.

Today, there was another car.  And it was black and white.

I know I put my foot on the brake when I turned right at the corner, but the cop said I never came to a full stop.

Probably true, but you know my car issues with the boy.  I’m conditioned to keep moving.

And on a basically deserted street, surrounded by open fields and unfinished roads?

Yeah, I’m probably going to take the corner, if no one protests.

When I was pulled over, I had my headset on and was talking to my friend’s husband on the phone.

Oddly enough, he was telling me about his own strange experience on the road today.

I had to cut him short.

Note to Joel:  I still need the end of that story.

The worst part about this was the embarrassment of trying to find my paperwork in the cavernous pit I call a purse.

I apologized for that about seven times.  I don’t think the cop was too impressed with me.

Note to self:  clean out the freaking purse.  And the car too, for that matter.  I felt those police eyes on the half eaten HoHos in my son’s drink holder.

He gave me the ticket and walked back to his cruiser.

I sat and contemplated whether or not I had my thoughts collected enough to drive off without further incident.

I did and I left.

I called my friend and gave her the details her husband didn’t have.

She was just as mortified as I when I told her about the fine, a whopping $450 dollars.  Right before Christmas.  Ugh.

Note to everyone: don’t roll through right turns in California unless you’re sure the light is green, because you can’t afford it.

After we hung up, I got a little teary and started down the self-loathing-I’m-such-a-loser spiral.

I haven’t been pulled over in maybe ten years.  (Not legitimately anyway, but that’s another annoying story.)

Husband wouldn’t answer his work number for a few more minutes, so I called another friend and tried to reach my brother too.

Neither were available to hear my woes.

Left with no vent, I pulled myself back from the whole thing a bit and tried to figure out what about it made me feel so stupid.

I concluded it was the state of my purse and car much more than my failure to stop at the light.

Maybe that’s a self-indulgent concern, but it’s the truth.

I was embarrassed by my portable chaos, in much the same way I am embarrassed for anyone to see the daily state of my home.

I’ll be tidying up for the holidays, of course, but now I’ve got $450 reasons to change my habits for good.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that one of my son’s vocabulary words this week is “slob?”

Don’t answer that.

Now, get a load of Jack.

Day Ten 2010 Pumpkin Demise

Happy Wednesday!