The City of Rolling Meadows, Illinois is Dead To Me

September 6, 2016

Freedom of Speech
The great thing about the internet is that you can talk about whatever you wish.
Freedom of speech in full effect.

We, as citizens in this great nation, are privileged to flex that right how we see fit, hopefully for good. All of us essentially have free access to our own television channel, newspaper, & radio station. Just go on youtube, wordpress, or start your own podcast and push it out thru itunes.

With that in mind, I want to tell you three stories with a common theme. Crime and punishment.

Ohio
Over the weekend, we took a road trip to Put-In-Bay, Ohio. If you’ve never been, think of it as an island in the midwest. The tourist board officially calls it The Key West of The North. I’ve never been to Key West, but Put-In-Bay was a fun experience.

It’s a tiny island north of Sandusky, Ohio, full of bars, food, and beaches. You can take a ferry from Catawba Island and a short scenic route later, you’ll be on this popular tourist spot.

You can lug your car there via ferry, but the better option is to rent one of their hundreds of golf carts and ride around in style. It really is scenic and feels like you’re on some faraway tropical island.

Coming from the Chicago area, we drove on the interstate through our neighbor Indiana, onto Ohio.

One thing we immediately noticed upon entering Ohio was the number of state patrol cars pulling people over on the highway. I don’t want to exaggerate but it seemed like every mile, there were cops pulling people over. There were state police cars hidden in every crevice of the highway. This scene was especially apparent because we noticed nearly no police cars in all of Illinois or Indiana.

We were luckily not pulled over, because you know, these aren’t the droids they were looking for.

On the way back a couple days later, we noticed the same thing.
Ridiculous amounts of Ohio state police cars pulling travelers over. I cannot exaggerate enough to prove my point, there were cars pulled over every mile or so, with other cops situated in the middle divider pointing their speed radar guns both ways.

We tried to think of theories why this was happening.
Our best bet was that this was their way to make as much money as possible on a busy holiday weekend. During labor day, it must be like shooting fish in a barrel for the police & state. Assuming $75 revenue per ticket, with all their sheriff cars at work, this was their Black Friday.

Technically, they did nothing wrong.
Speeding is illegal, punishable by fines. The speed limits are posted frequently on the road. The officials were simply doing their jobs.
So this passes the rule of law test.

It did not, however, pass the gut test.
Something about the way they handled business on the highways of Ohio seemed cheap, like a ref who calls ticky tack fouls in a basketball game. Let the players play! Especially since many of the drivers were guests from other states. Quite a few of the plates I saw were from Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and even California and New York.

This is how they treat guests in their home state?
Have they never heard of the ancient greek concept of hospitality?
Don’t they recognize that guests are gods in disguise, checking up on their morals?

I know the Ohio state government must be struggling, ranked 34th out of 100 states in GDP per capita, but that’s no reason to treat your guests like this.

The unintended side-effect is that every single person who got a ticket this weekend will go around telling all their friends and family about the ill facts of Ohio. Too bad for Ohio, the rest of us will go where we’re better treated. Luckily, there are 47 other options within driving distance.

Supercuts
I go to the same haircut lady, for the past 10 years.

She’s a nice Ukranian lady who is kind and friendly. She remembers your hair cut style, especially useful for right brain folks like me who always forget. She also makes you feel better with compliments, even if unwarranted. She’ll tell you that you look handsome today. That you are young and full of promise. That your hair looks great, even if it doesn’t. That’s the whole point of a haircut, to feel better.

Last year, during a busy day, she accidentally overcharged me.

Normally a haircut is something like $11.99 and I give her a flat $25. Not because I’m rich, which I’m not yet, but because I feel like that’s the right thing to do.

After every haircut, she’ll ring me up and I’ll whisper, please put a total of $25, and she’ll do it gratefully. They don’t have a tip line on their receipt, and I don’t like to publicize how much I tip, so the best method I found is to discreetly whisper the number.

This busy day, I told her to put a total of $25, but she thought I meant I wanted to tip $25.

So the total came out to something like $37. I did a double-take, especially since I was short on money. The gears in my mind turned for a few moments and I simply chose to sign the receipt without making a commotion. Maybe the gods intended that she needed extra money today and I was the vehicle the cash came from.

I never breathed a word about this again but about 6 months or so later, she mentioned her overcharging mistake from last year said thank you for my generosity.

I said it’s no problem and felt good for the second time for one simple act.

Rolling Meadows
This past week, I got a red light ticket.

Since I’ve never gotten one of these in my 17 years of driving, I was taken aback. I haven’t even gotten a speeding ticket in over 10 years, the last during my youthful college years.

The red light ticket was from the city of Rolling Meadows and they even include a picture of my car turning right on a red light.

The funny thing is that this is the exact road I take to and from the Supercuts. I’ve taken this route 100s of times. It’s right near my house. I’ve lived in the area since 2004, moving away a few times, but always coming back. I had NO IDEA there was a red light camera there. I had NO IDEA there was no turn on red.

For a couple of days, I fumed at my own mistake. How could I not see that there’s a red light camera here?!

Then I finally logged onto the website to pay my ticket. The site has a video of my driving. It shows me rolling through a red light, turning right. The ticket wasn’t because I turned on a red light, it was because I didn’t properly stop first before turning.

Ok, they got me.
I had no idea that I did that. I was driving through midday and this is not a busy intersection, but rather one of those smaller secondary roads. I should have come to a complete stop at the red light, then taken my turn. You’re right.

The penalty for this first time offense (as far as I know I haven’t done this on camera before) was a hefty $100!

Are you serious Rolling Meadows??

Are you guys so starving for cash that you’re penalizing me $100 for my first mistake? No warnings? No $50 first timer fine? You’re charging me more than speeding tickets. I know because I’ve gotten them in my youth. Are you charging me more than if I had gotten into an accident?

You should be lucky that people like me come to your downtrodden city at all.

The place has been looking shabby for many years.
The Supercuts I go to looks dilapidated but I don’t stop visiting.
The grocery store there is 3rd rate, but I still stop by. Same goes for the dunkin donuts and the dying gyro joint.
Everything there is 3rd rate.

Ok, I’m making this too personal but I was seriously surprised at this ticket and heavy penalty.

Well, maybe it’s meant to be that they need my $100 desperately. I willingly paid without putting up a fight

But, unless Providence deems otherwise, I’ll never drive through and spend another dollar in your city again.

You are dead to me Rolling Meadows.
It’s time to find another haircut person.