I spent this past Monday morning in Salem District Court, at the suggestion of a police officer in October. His was not just a random suggestion to a passerby. I was given a ticket for blocking an intersection I had no indication it was unlawful to block. After I told the officer writing up my ticket that I saw no signs saying ‘Do Not Block Intersection’, he suggested I refute the charge in court – as he handed me the ticket. “It’s your civic right.”

I felt like saying, “Thank you so much for the $105 dollar lesson in civics.” But I didn’t! And this past Monday morning I refrained from telling the magistrate once again, after she told me, in her opinion, the intersection was sufficiently marked – that in my opinion it wasn’t – a nod to age and experience.

I came prepared with photographs illustrating how the signs hanging twenty feet up in the air were blocked that October Friday morning at 11am by my visor, protecting my view from the sun. I did finally see the signs going through the intersection again later, while looking up, down and all around.

Ultimately the magistrate downgraded my ticket to a warning.

As I was readying to leave, that same stern faced magistrate smiled ever so slightly and said to the presiding police officer, “It is refreshing to hear someone actually admit they were blocking the intersection. No one ever does.”

That intersection must provide lucrative income for the City of Salem.