Doing Donuts and Time

One winter up north, snow fell for three days. My friends and I were tired of being cooped up.; we decided to go out for lattes. We loaded into my car, an old beater that was as strong as a tank. I drove cautiously on the ice-slicked roads, and we admired the white branches and icicles on houses as we passed.

It was early yet; there were hardly any cars in the plaza when we arrived. I still don’t know what came over me, but I pressed the accelerator and raced to the empty side of the parking lot.
“Danette!” my friends squealed. Expertly, I cranked the wheel hard to the left. Whee! We spun around in a sharp donut. Hitting the gas again, I cranked the wheel to the right. We screamed in delight—even me—the thrill of almost losing control overtaking me. I hadn’t lost the technique I’d perfected in high school. Laughing, I whipped the car around a few more times, and then decelerated to a demure fifteen mph to park in front of the coffee shop.

But a policeman stopped me before I got to my spot.

“You endangered other people and vehicles,” he admonished as he wrote me a ticket for careless driving.

A ticket? “I’m going to fight this,” I said.

He nodded. Apparently he’d heard this before.

When my day in court came, I sat in the judge’s chambers trying to look like the law abiding citizen I was. “But it was private property, and that parking lot was basically empty,” I wheedled. “Besides, it was an accident.” Okay, I don’t know how that slipped out, but I still didn't think doing donuts meant doing time (or even getting a ticket).

The judge frowned and flipped through the paperwork. She looked directly at me. “The officer reports that the driver and passengers could be seen smiling and laughing through the windshield.”

My mouth opened and closed. I drove carefully home after paying my fine and taking my points.

Bottom line: You can go out for coffee, but don’t do donuts.


Linda D. (sbk) said...

Isn't that always the way? The one time you do something wrong, you get caught.

WordWrangler said...

Awww man. That bites the big one.
Thanks for the cautionary tale! No donuts for me! :)


Charles Gramlich said...

The cop should have had a sense of fun and not written you a ticket. What a fuddy duddy.

Danette Haworth said...

Ha, Linda, so true. (Well sort of. I might maybe have done donuts in other parking lots as well.)

Yes, Donna, watch out for those donuts--and no fishtails, either.

Charles, thanks for believing in my absolution!

courtney said...

Aw. But think! Without the cop and the ticket, would it have ever become such an entertaining blog entry? And this was def. an entertaining blog entry. I love the way you write, Danette!

Ello said...

Ha! don't do donuts! Great story! Great ending! But what a loser stiff stuck in the mud of a police officer! Can't believe he didn't cut you a break. I know the pain of watching them write that ticket. Cause you know once they put pen to paper, it's over!

Angela said...

Danette, Too funny!! I did this in a parking lot that was partially constructed when I was 17 years old in my sunny, yellow VW bug loaded with 4 of my friends. I got out of the ticket by telling the judge that I was confused by the new parking lot design and mis-maneuvered a sharp left turn--Course I left out we did the same left turn about 5 times.

I think that it's cool you do donuts in empty parking lots and then try and fight it. I knew you were cool!!:)

Mary Witzl said...

I kept thinking that someone was going to cut you a break here -- that the judge would smile and understand. But no! At the very least, the cop could have said, 'Look, I know it's fun, but that's a no-no.' I'm sure that would have been just as effective. And cheaper.

My Aunt Margaret could get out of any ticket. She once drove the wrong way down a one-way road and when she got pulled over, she flicked into her Scarlett O'Hara imitation and the cop let her off. I don't have this talent.

Brenda said... fun! Those darn officers are always around when you don't want them to be...sigh...