Every time I deal with bureaucracy, the city, or the legal side of our “justice” system (there hasn’t been any real justice in a very long time, folks), I walk away disgusted or bemused. Sometimes both.
So you may remember a few months ago (if you haunt my other blog The Deadly Nightshade, which you totally SHOULD), that I mentioned I had gotten some traffic tickets thanks to my neighbor Crazy Dale, otherwise known as Asshat. I had reversed my car, pointed the wrong way on the side of the street in front of my house (some half block away from Asshat), and was a few inches into the No Parking zone on the street.
This sour-faced woman pulled up, said nothing, and simply handed me two tickets totaling $135 in fines with a court day of today.
I was so stinkin’ mad I said some rather choice things to Asshat, including the suggestion that we would all throw a party when he dropped dead and couldn’t he please just do it soon because everyone else on the block was a reasonable human being.
I sometimes let my tongue get the best of me.
Not that I particularly regret saying it…but…still.
In any case, I went to court today.
I had never been to traffic court.
I’ve been to chicken court…twice…but never traffic court.
I learned a couple of important lessons.
#1 – Always Challenge a Ticket
They are so overwhelmed, SO OVERWHELMED, in traffic court that they drop the price down to nothing just to get you the heck out of there. On the 1:30 docket were no less than 50 people. That’s a heck of a lot, folks. I stated that I was pleading not-guilty to the clerk and then waited for my turn to speak with the prosecutor.
She was piling through folks. Basically, everyone got their fines knocked down to $5 plus court fees.
So here I was, facing two tickets, which totaled $135, and madder than hell at Asshat for being such a complete douchebag. But I sat quietly, working on my artwork until it was my turn.
One citation was thrown out, the other was knocked down to $5 plus court fees of $22.50. That plus the parking fee of $3 put me at $30.50.
It’s still $30.50 that I shouldn’t have had to pay. I wasn’t in anyone’s way, I hadn’t hurt anyone or blocked the street in any way. I did it so that I would stay safe and not be in the street when Zentangling the driver’s side of my van. But Asshat would rather see me hanging out in the street so I could get hit by a car.
And no, I don’t have a driveway unfortunately.
In any case, $30.50, not bad, when it is compared to $135…right?
Oh wait, it also cost me a pair of fingernail clippers…
Lesson #2 – Fingernail Clippers are Lethal but Rocks are A-Okay!
I was in a hurry, running late, when I hustled into the court building. As I was going through security, where they scanned me and also my purse, I was stopped by security. “Ma’am, you need to show me your fingernail clippers.” the woman said.
I handed them over and she pointed to the swivel pointy thing (sorry, I’ve got nothing more technical than that to describe it) and said, “You can have the clippers, but not with that part on them. You can either break it off or throw them away or take them back to your car.”
I was late, so I sure as hell wasn’t walking the 1 1/2 blocks back to the car, and I happen to USE the swively pointy thing, so I told her to just toss them since they wouldn’t be much good to me without it.
Meanwhile…THIS…was sitting in the bottom of my bag.
And I couldn’t help but test it out a little more. I sat in the courthouse, in the second row, and drew on it for upwards of 45 minutes, in plain sight of all of the officers in the court, until my name was called.
Personally, I’d think the rock could do a lot more damage than the little swively pointy thing could. I am an avid Walking Dead fan, I’ve taken notes on apocalyptic hand-to-hand combat and I think I could have beat the living crap out of someone with this rock. It weighs nearly a pound and is solid river rock.
You could bash a zombie’s skull in with this thing (although I doubt using one of my hand-decorated ones would be my first choice).
I love visiting courts…I walk away feeling like a mental giant in comparison to some of the folks that work there. Speaking of which, the sour-faced woman was there, I curled my lip at her as I left and murmured sweet nothings under my breath as I walked past her out of court. I reminded myself that at least she was gainfully employed…sort of.
I had politely waited for her to talk to me once I noticed she was parked there in front of my house back in April. She could have stuck her head out of the window of her car and said “move your car” – I would have done it if I had known it was a crime to park the wrong way on one side of a two-way street.
So there you have it, two lessons learned.
And I behaved myself. I didn’t bash anyone’s skull in with a rock.
That’s got to be progress.