Smile for the camera
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
I got my picture made in Huntington recently. It was a $50 photograph printed on a flimsy piece of paper. Well, two pictures actually. A blurry picture of a license plate and a dark picture of a red car. We don’t own a red car. At first, I was overjoyed realizing the automatic law enforcer had made a terrible mistake. I couldn’t have sped through Huntington in a 2011 red Impala. I only speed through Huntington in a 2003 tan Trail Blazer. But my joy was soon turned to mourning when I received a letter from a rental car company. I had rented a car for a trip to the airport and the City of Huntington had contacted the rental car company seeking to find the reckless individual who was driving a red Impala like a speed demon on that fateful day.
It was a criminal investigation and my fingerprints were now all over the crime scene. To add insult to injury, the car rental company charged me $10 because they had to forward my contact information to the City of Huntington. It didn’t cost them $10 to send the information. I think the rental car company just wanted to smack my hand a little and let me know that they don’t want pictures of their red Impala on the bulletin board at the post office. They would rather be left out of a middle-aged woman’s rampant criminal activity at dusk in a small West Tennessee town. They hunted me down in an attempt to wrestle $50 from my sweaty guilt-ridden hands.
In a momentary lapse of moral judgment, I considered rebelling against the flimsy piece of paper. What if I did nothing? How would they even know I received the letter in the mail? How could they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the car in question was indeed speeding? Plus, the correspondence was sent from Tempe, Ariz. A company in Arizona was going to make money from my rural crime spree. Something didn’t seem right about that.
Eventually, I decided to look for the positives in the whole situation. You know, take lemons and make lemonade. First of all, the picture was not able to capture anything going on inside the car. That means no one saw the upholstery stain where a big clump of lettuce had just fallen from the hamburger I bought at Parker’s Crossroads. No one saw me smacking my gum and blowing bubbles the size of Sidonia. I was spared the embarrassment of having those crimes revealed to an underpaid hourly worker in Tempe. Also, the electronic speed machine spared me the embarrassment of dealing with a police officer. The forced friendly banter. The humiliation. The attempt to spit my gum into a Kleenex without looking like I’m retrieving a firearm from my purse. Yes, these were blessings to be celebrated. Dear readers, I want my brush with the law to be a warning to all of you to stay on the straight and narrow. Slow down. Make good choices. And if you have to speed through Huntington, be glad you don’t have to deal with a police officer. The Clarksburg police officer and I have become entirely too close. I fear he will soon be inviting me to family dinners and graduations. And that’s not something to celebrate.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.13.11