Warning: My first lengthy post.
Here is the long delayed post. I went with my brother and sister-in-law to Detroit last weekend, it's about 5 hours from Chicago. The onward drive wasnt all that good due to a bit of snow and rain. Because of this and due to the bad traffic and thousands of detours on Interstates 96 and 94 (close to Detroit) it took us nearly 7-8 hours to reach Detroit. And as I said earlier, Detroit downtown is one of the dirtiest places that I have seen in the US. It made me think that Madras was a lot better. After we came back to Chicago (the return journey was a lot better without rain or snow, although the detours were still a hassle as the signs werent posted properly), I went over to my brother's place for some tea and my usual grocery shopping (thats where I seem to be getting my groceries from nowadays - whenever I go there I come back with food for the next week or two, these carefully prepared by my sister-in-law. One of the several advantages of being a bachelor).
On my way back to my apartment, I was fiddling with my Dell JukeBox MP3 player to change the playlist - this is where I lost the concentration on the road. I was driving at 65 mph (miles/hour) on a 45 mph zone and didnt even realize it. Usually that road is empty (and it was a Sunday evening too) and people do 60-70mph quite normally, so it wasnt that much of a deal. But I am usually quite cautious on the road and somehow sense the presence of cops quite often, this has saved me from a ticket for the nearly 5 years that I have been driving in the US.
I knew this was bound to happen someday or the other but when it actually happened, I was feeling a bit stupid for my carelessness. The cop's flashing lights went on and I moved to the right lane (the slower lane) and then he directed me from his loudspeaker to take a right turn and pull over, which I did. Then after the formalities were done, I told him that this was the first time I was speeding, he then seemed to understand and said "let me see", and went back to check my driving history. But when we came back, he came back with a ticket in his hand and gave me the directions for paying it. Then I thought it was a total "bulb" situation and took the ticket. From the moment I got the ticket, I have been checking my speed more than 5-10 times every minute and wherever I go, I seem to be spotting the cops' car instantaneously. I am controlling myself very consciously against revving up my engine when the signal goes green. I used to get a kick by moving past the slower cars at the signals - this habit might have to sit back and rest for a while. And a couple of days back I saw a young guy roaring up his Cobra engine when he was frustrated at the guy in front of him who was pretty slow. I was then laughing at myself and at him at the same time: at him because, I got the feeling that it wouldnt be too far off before he gets a ticket, and at me because, I should have done the same exact thing several times and someone else could have been laughing at me all along.
So much for a simple speeding ticket! The ticket is for $75 (plus $30) for the driving class (if you take this class you can avoid this ticket going into your driving hisory). And after getting this ticket, I happened to talk to a friend of mine from California and suddenly my $100 ticket didnt seem like a big thing at all, as he had just got a ticket for jumping the red light and he now has to shell out about $500 for it. All this for jumping the light by 0.2 seconds!!!