I was curious to see in the mail on Wednesday an ominous-looking envelope from the Parking Violations Bureau, Red Light Violation Monitoring Program. Dum da dum dum. On the drive out to Rockaway on Saturday, I had, in my impatience, not been able to bear to stop at the umpteenth light that turned red at my approach. My passenger, the delightful and generous (if stubborn) MQ, had said, “Red light!” Enough red lights, already, I’d thought, and barrelled through; I’ll stop for every other one. (I may have been spending too much time in Italy.)
The document inside the envelope was a first in my experience. It showed three photographs: one, from the rear, of my car entering a crosswalk in the split second after the light had changed; another, taken 1.15 seconds later, of said car proceeding through the intersection under the red light; and, lest there be any doubt that it was my car (I recognized the lineup of fishing permits on the right rear bumper), there, in damning closeup, was my license plate. Ouch.
On closer examination (I’m used to examining these things closely, in case there’s some mistake that would be grounds for dismissal), I realized, first, that this light, on Cross Bay Boulevard at Liberty Avenue, seemed to be the first one I blew through, which MQ didn’t comment on. (The second was farther south, on the other side of Howard Beach.) And then, noticing that it was kind of dark in the photos, I saw that the so-called Notice of Liability documented a violation not on last Saturday afternoon but on the evening of Sunday, April 22nd, at 19:36:31, when I was northbound on Cross Bay Boulevard, returning to the city, alone, with no cats in the back seat and no restraining influence in the passenger seat.
I had been alarmed at the city’s efficiency, so in a way it was a relief to realize that the violation was a month old. Then again chances are pretty good that I’ll be hearing from the Red Light Camera Monitoring Program again.
I don’t have to go directly to jail, and I will not receive points on my driver’s license, but I do have to forfeit fifty dollars. And mend my ways.