I got a $180 ticket yesterday for having a beer.
Pamela and I often go to various places in the Ocala National Forest. There are many springs, and yesterday we went to Mill Dam which is a lovely picnic spot with a small sandy beach on a small lake. Like all places in the Ocala National Forest, it has signs saying "No alcohol".
Well, me being an old fart pirate and all, I read that to mean "Don't get drunk 'n shit". Certainly it doesn't apply to the adults who go there. Simply keep it out of sight, don't get drunk, loud, and rowdy. That sign is meant for kids who would have keggers there otherwise, not retired old men.
Pamela and I are on the little beach. It is hot, as it is everyday in Florida. After swimming, I go to our little cooler, pull out a beer and slide it into its coozy. I sit in my beach chair, and PQ says to cover it. Here comes the cops, two of them. I stick my hat over it.
"Sir, is that a beer?" says the lady cop.
Me, being me, say "It is a ginger ale." Hey, it could be. I haven't even opened it yet.
"Can I see it?"
I take the cold beverage and hold it up.
"Slide it out of the coozy please."
"You only packed ginger ale, right honey?" I say to Pam. I slide it out. It is a beer. "It is a miracle!" No smiles from the lady officer. The man officer chuckled.
"Sir, I'm going to need you to put that cooler in your car and show me your drivers license."
Uh oh. Seriously?
Long story short, they gave me a ticket. Oh, they were nice about it, and I wasn't a jerk about it either. I joked around with them.
"Did you see the signs?" they said.
"Sure. But I thought it was intended to keep rowdy drunk kids from partying, not an old man from having a beer on a steamy hot Florida afternoon."
So they handed me a ticket. $150, plus a $30 processing fee. WTF is a processing fee? It sounds like bullshit to me. I pay $30 for the honor of them taking my money?
But the cops were indeed nice about it and not jerks. After they handed me the ticket, I said "I feel like I should thank you, but I can't thank you for giving me a ticket. But you were nice about it, so thank you for being nice about it."
I really thought I could joke my way out of that one. Nope.
So from now on, I'm going to do what everyone else does and put my beer in a Slurpy cup from the Kangaroo.