My Almost Red Light Ticket

It’s been years since high school, and years since the days of trying to decide whether or not to skip last period and head to the mall or to the movies. 16 years to be exact. God that makes me sound and feel so old, but hey… who am I to judge and frankly I’m totally embracing the “old.”

ANYWAY, when I was 16 I got my drivers license. It was literally the best. Having a late birthday subsequently led me to be able to go to drivers ed at 15 with all my friends, so that when summer came around and I could get my learners permit, I was ready. I mean, READY. I took the classes, I did the driving time with the instructor, I studied that little stupid booklet they give you from cover to cover for days. So, I show up with my mom bright and early one Saturday to take the test for my learners permit. Now, it’s been a long time since I had to do this and maybe it’s the same still, but back then, you could only get a certain number (four) of questions incorrect and once that happened it stopped the test and basically said “thanks for playing, try again next Saturday.” The reason I know this, is because I got the first 4 out of 4 questions incorrect and through my tears that’s what I remember seeing.

Turns out, the lady working there had directed me to the incorrect computer and I was taking a test to apply for a CDL License. Seriously? No wonder I didn’t remember learning anything about how fast an 18 wheeler should go to get off an exit ramp at a particular angle, but then again, I was 15 so what did I know? After what seemed like a genuine, “oh, bless your heart hunny” she led me to the correct computer but I was an emotional mess and totally failed that test anyways. The Suz was pissed. But, what can ya do… so we went back next week where I passed. Fast forward a few months and it’s time to get a full on drivers license. Apparently, even if they say “ok the test is over go park in that lot” that does NOT in any way imply you do not need to come to a full stop at the stop signs, so obviously, I failed. I was so annoyed. Like, the stop sign was part of the test course and if the test was over, why did I have to stop? I remember the test guy literally telling me “if people were crossing there you’d have hit them” and I remember thinking “you moron, we are in the back of the DMV on a test course, no one is walking here…”

For the first few years of driving- basically through most of high school, I had to share a car with my mom. It was this gold Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, which we eventually deemed “the loser cruiser” because well… it was a gold Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. Okay, okay- it wasn’t awful, and yes I was totally grateful to have any car, but at 16 the last thing you are excited about rolling up to the movies in, is a gold “mom car.” But for my 16th birthday, my parents installed a CD player and I was good to go. Some days I could drive to school, I guess if my mom didn’t have anything going on. Other days I had to get a ride.

I wasn’t a bad kid- I didn’t really skip school. I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities that required me to be present and the daughter of a retired cop, so typically I’d just panic and go back inside, if I even made it to the parking lot. I know, sad right? But one day, in 2001, I decided to go for it. My friend and I decided today was the day that we were going to skip school and go to Annapolis Mall to hang out. I was ready. It was my first time skipping school without my mom knowing, and I had the car that day, so we were on our way. We made it to the mall okay, and just sort of hung out I guess until it was time to go home. I honestly don’t remember what we did, so clearly it didn’t make a real impact and must not have been that exciting. I do vaguely remember running a yellow light because a trucker was in front of me though…

But if we fast forward about a month later, this is where the story gets good. The Suz, who thinks she is hilarious apparently, decided to play a prank on me. She got one of those letters in the mail for a red light ticket. Sure enough, it was somewhere toward Annapolis mall in the middle of the day. I got home from school and this woman jumped in my shit.

Suz: So, I got this in the mail today- want to explain?
Me: What are you talking about?
Suz: The red light ticket, want to explain what happened here?

Now, at this point I was like “shit, I’m SO busted and SO dead” so I just start bawling and confessing (not to skipping school, just the light) and I’m like “OMG, I’m so sorry, there was a truck in front of me and I didn’t notice it was yellow and blah blah blah”

And do you know, the Suz was kidding? YUP, that’s right, I panicked, so she apologized and laughed… and now I was confused. 

Suz: {hysterical laughing- IN TEARS Y’ALL} Oh my God, I’m sorry don’t panic, I was kidding! This is my ticket! It’s ok! You’re not in trouble, it was a joke! see?! {holds up ticket}
Me: What? What do you mean?
Suz: Well look here, at the date and time. It’s a weekday, you were in school- this must be me and grandma on our way to Annapolis for a doctors appointment! GOTCHA! Man, that was good, I really had you going! You thought you got a ticket and panicked…see! I can be funny!


Just to re-cap here, I skipped school and got a red light ticket. The Suz assumed it was her since it was during school hours, but decided to “trick” me and pretend it was my ticket and I was in trouble, but it actually WAS my ticket, but she didn’t know that it was my ticket. So, did the prank really work? 

So, I stopped crying (and talking) at this point, because I mean… self incrimination. Had I literally just gotten off Scot free and –SHE- felt bad for upsetting and tricking –ME-? Was this real life? So…no one knew I skipped school and it was my ticket?


So, the Suz sent in her money for her red light ticket, and no one was the wiser until years later when I finally told her “hey, remember that time…” and we all almost died of laughter. She thought she was SO clever tricking me and it almost worked. I ALMOST confessed to skipping school, but thankfully I’ve learned from the best and know that you never give people more information than what they already know.

Do you guys have any awesome stories that you told your parents later in life? Like once you were an adult and couldn’t get in trouble anymore? I feel like there are SO many stories that my parents still probably don’t know, but at this point I usually tell them so we can all laugh about it. 90% of the time the Suz’s reply is “did you seriously think I didn’t know about that?”… which just proves that moms really DO know everything and are ALWAYS watching.

I ended up getting this little gem for my mom for her birthday one year, because #truth


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