Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Benches and Gavels and Judges, Oh My!

Yesterday afternoon I went to court for my speeding ticket, the one I got after a 17-hour workday and the pleasant surprise of a bottle of bleach exploding in my trunk. The one where the cop stoically requested my license and registration after I asked, incredulously, “Do you not SMELL THAT?” The one where the cop took twenty whole minutes of background checking and ass scratching and shining his super bright spotlight through my back windshield before handing me my ticket. The Mandatory Court Appearance ticket.

Truly, I thought I would go my whole life without having to sit in a courtroom. I mean, I’m not planning on getting married so that negates divorce proceedings. I’m perfectly happy to Live In Sin and host dinner parties in my non-kid-safe home. I plan on having breakable objects just everywhere and sharp corners on coffee tables so that when my friends drop their kids off for visits, they know those kids are in for a good time and possibly a trip to the hospital. I also plan on being Auntie Robin who carries around her special glass of coke, special because my glass of coke is way lighter than your glass of coke due to the special ingredient we’ll just refer to as ‘juice.’

I also have no intention of succumbing to Suburban Bullshit where neighbors call animal control on your cat because it’s not on a fucking leash. Because while I’ll smile at the nice animal control officer and promise to keep my cat inside, don’t think for one second that I won’t set your front lawn on fire in a fit of rage. And if you leave your car unlocked I’ll put raw shrimp under your floor mats. So if by chance you can prove it was me, I’ll be more than happy to write you a check for new car flooring and sod. But go to court, I will not.

But I sure as hell sat in a real live court room yesterday, with real live wooden benches and real live crack whores. I’ve never seen such a conglomeration of scariness in one building, especially the docket of folks there for multiple DWI charges. Could you NOT have worn something clean to court? Seriously? It was so bad the judge actually congratulated a young man on wearing a tie and gave the kid probation. Personally, I felt overdressed in my black-slacks-purple-top-I-came-straight-from-work attire. But being overdressed did not stop my nervousness when I stepped up to the slightly sticky oak podium and had to utter the following, in my Very Contrite Voice:

“I plead guilty, your honor.”

The judge didn’t so much as look up, he just offered me probation in the kind of bored tone that lets you know he is unimpressed with your outfit, your Contrite Voice and that he is most definitely unimpressed with you driving 22 miles over the speed limit. But then the pursed lip bitch to his right had to go and pop up with a ‘But she had a speeding ticket in 2004.’

Yes, thank you, you giant Cuntbag, I appreciate you bringing that up.

But the judge was more bored with this than I thought and just looked at me, told me not to get any more tickets and banged his gavel.

It was then that the word diarrhea took over.

“Um, your honor? It’s just that I sort of already got another ticket, two weeks ago, so I’m not sure how well that probation is going to work out for me.”

I could hear all the crackwhores behind me twitter and giggle and if I’d been in another situation, I’d have turned around and hissed at them. About that same time I realized that the bored demeanor Mr. Judge was sporting was not really indicative of his actually boredness because his head did a very nice owl-snap and his eyeballs, they made full and direct contact with my own slightly surprised ones.

“You got another ticket?”
“Er, yes, your honor. But this one was Little Rock police, not state police. And I’m really sorry about that and it was only 15 over, not 22, like this one. But I’m really sorry and that one from 2004 was in Texas where they drop the speed limit at night and I didn’t realize it and so really I was only going 7 over what I thought was the speed limit and this new one is 15 over, which is bad, I know, and I’m really sorry but I swear I’m-
“Yes, you’re sorry. We covered that.”
More direct eye contact.
“I have to say I’m very impressed with your candidness.”
“Thank you, your honor.”
“You didn’t have to be honest about that ticket.”
“No, your honor.”
“Not that I’m rewarding honesty in a courtroom.”
“No, your honor.”
“And you understand that I’m definitely not rewarding you for being honest?”
“Yes, your honor.”
“So if I offered you community service, would you take it?”
“Whatever you deem appropriate, your honor.”
“Very good answer. I’m giving you one day of defensive driving school and 24 hours of community service under the assumption that I will not see you back here within six months.”
“No, er, yes, um, no you won’t see me back here and yes, um, thank you, your honor.”

He gave me one brisk nod, signed my slip and turned his attention to the next guy in line. I was ushered through three sets of double doors where I wrote a $100 check for a ‘probation monitoring’ fee, picked my driving school location and chose the Pulaski County Animal Shelter as my chosen locale for community service.

Now I just have to figure out how to get my cop-sense back. Because there is no way in hell I’m going through that again. The other option would be to slow the fuck down but me, I live dangerously. What can I say.


Jenni said...

Sorry Robin. I really don't mean to be one. It's just that if I don't say shit like that to the judge, then he sees the paperwork later, I.Get.Yelled.At. Not good.

And it was really unique of you to be honest about the other ticket. That is RARE.

Carl from L.A. said...

I got through my divorce proceedings without seeing a judge. Thank God.

Community service for a speeding ticket?? Damn! If they do this in California it would become my full time job.

I took care of *my* latest speeding ticket yesterday too. CHP (no, Ponch wasn't there) got me going 74 at a 55 zone - but everybody is doing 75 on the US 395! - got the notice in the mail, checked off "Traffic School" and sent it off with a $235 check. I contemplated subpena the log on that radar gun to fight the ticket, but really, I just hate to spend time in the court room.

You could come and help set one of my neighbor's front lawn on fire. They are so friggin noisy.

the belligerent intellectual said...

I have the hardest time picturing you acting contrite. I have no problem imagining you setting someone's lawn on fire, but a courteous acceptance of authority? Maybe I'm just not reading it right . . .

Coyote Mike said...

You mean you didn't go to court with butt-floss hanging out, a shirt with a sauce stain from three days ago on, and hot pink capri pants with a hole over your left ass cheek? What kind of defendant are you? Next time, dress properly for court.

ella said...

maybe it's because i haven't seen you in over ten years (god your beautiful!) but i laughed my fucking ass off the entire time i read. go to law school! you had that judge in the palm of your hand...

love, ella

Prego said...

Boy, you really like to live on the edge in your Draconian Police State. 24 hrs. community service for being a bit of a leadfoot? Sh*t.

As for court? That's very interesting from a sociological standpoint. I had repeat appearances due to a public unleashing of a 'C-Bomb' to a deserving Jet Blue clerk. I felt like 'brown trash' in a sportscoat. Everyone else was wearing sweatpants, football jerseys from long retired, non-descript players and vacation t-shirts.

I dig the old "It was only a $12 sweater" defence for the shoplifters, too."

I'm glad you lived through the experience.

Faltenin said...

You didn't tell about waiting for giant Cuntbag afterwards in the dark parking lot with a baseball bat?

Drunken Chud said...

two words: radar detector!