Friday, April 24, 2009

Three months flying by...and one more week to go!

Why exactly three months flying by? Let me tell you. I am a criminal. I have broken the law and for two years I'll have a criminal record. I confess, I plead guilty as charged! If I break the law again I'll be in serious trouble! I might even end up in jail. So what did I do to become a criminal?? In Switzerland it's easy. You take your car, drive a provincial road, miss out on the sign indicating the maximum speed and drive a bit faster than the assumed maximum speed limit. That was not a good plan. I drove that particular provincial road, assumed the maximum speed was 100 km/h as it was two lanes in both directions and added "a safe over the limit number of km/h". Wrong! Absolutely wrong.

I got my picture taking with a bright red flash and knew I was too fast. At that time, I didn't know how much too fast. That is, until the official letter of the police was handed over by the receptionist at the office with the words: "I thought I'd give it to you personally." I took the letter out of the envelope and my heart skipped a few beats. The "alledgedly" 100 km/h provincial road was an 80 km/h road and the "safe over the limit number of km/h" was way out of range. Ooops!

Okay, the damage was done, so there was no other alternative than to wait for the call of the police with the kind invitation to the companie's Director to come by the police station to identify the driver. What the police didn't know at that time was the companies Director and the person to be identified were one and the same person. Namely ME!

I got the call, went to the police station for the identification of the driver (myself!), and every scenario I played in my head was scattered into small pieces once I got the photo in which I had to identify the driver. My God, the picture was so darn clear that I could have used it for my passport. Okay Mr. Policeman, guilty as charged. I had to answer a three page questionnaire to indicate income, fixed monthly cost and variable cost. The sum of all would be the basis for the calculation of the fine. Ouch!

The kind officer at the desk informed me that the punishment for the serious violation of traffic rules in this case would lead to a minimum of three months loss of my drivers license and an unknown fine. The fine would be calculated based on the monthly income. The only thing I thought at the moment of filling out the questionnaire was: " Is there anything else I can list as fixed cost to get my income down?" I couldn't think of anthing else anymore, signed the statement of "truth and honesty", and could only hope for the best.

A few months later,the court verdict came by registered mail. I took the verdict out (five pages, 5 darn pages) and started reading. What a relief!! No mention of losing my drivers license. "Just" a fine of the price of two suits, shirts and ties of my favorite brand and a probation of two years with the possibility of going to jail for at least five days, pay another amount of money at the price of four suits, shirts and ties of my favorite brand. I was relieved. Feeling like a winner, I called my boss with the "good" news.

The feeling didn't last long. Two days later, I received the letter from the police with measures taken to punish me a bit more for this traffic violation. I was summoned to send in my drivers license for a period of three whole months. OMG! Being without my license for three months could be a threat to the continuation of my job. Luckily, my boss took it quite well. We set up a three month schedule for customer visits, defined who in the company would drive me to visit customers, and how I would get to the office and back home every day. It all worked out well and let me tell you, I could used to being driven around all the time! Now I have one more week left. Beginning of May, I get my drivers license back,and yes, I'm starting to itch. It will be quite strange to get into the car on the drivers side again... So, I planned on having two days in the home office on the 4th and the 5th of May to make sure I don't miss the postman when my drivers license comes back via registered mail.

There has been a good side to the whole thing:
- I got to the office early every morning. Pick up at 07.15 hrs by Manuel (Thank you Manuel!)
- I got home around 17.30 hrs every day I worked from the office. Driver: again Manuel (once more many thanks Manuel!)
- As I got home early anyway,I walked (yes, I walked) to the small shopping center in our village to do the groceries. About one hour of "outdoor activity"
- I enjoyed this daily "break" before continuing my work from home
- I will continue working this way as it is very relaxing
- CS took over all the driving during weekends, our holidays in Austria and our last trip to Holland, which was quite relaxing for me!

One more week to go and I'll be fully independent again. Even though this kind of independance is relative and the three months passed by in a rush, I am looking forward to driving my new car myself again. Hey, I only had it for two months beforeI had to send in my license. Can you blame me?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cat's rule

Turn up the volume and enjoy. That is all.