To the Hall of Justice, Batman!

A couple months ago, right before I got laid off, I got a ticket for rolling through a stop sign on my way to work because I was afraid I was going to be late (and had already been reprimanded for tardiness once). In a residential/office park area with no other cars on the street. I wish I could have said, “I just got laid off! I can’t afford this!” and squeezed out some tears, but at the time I didn’t know that was about to happen. Nor would I probably have thought to do it even if it had been the case. I’m like the only girl I know who has never cried her way out of a ticket. I am just not manipulative enough for it to even cross my mind as a possibility.

Well, once I was pulled over for speeding at like 2 am coming home from the club, RIGHT where the speed limit changed from 55 to 70, and I said I had just gotten off work and was exhausted and trying to get home. It was not a complete lie. I WAS exhausted and trying to get home. I just got off work like two hours earlier and THEN went out.

But the only time I ever actually got a speeding ticket (80 in a 55 on my way to my best friend’s wedding shower, which I was co-hosting), I had to go to “driving school” (a.k.a. class about driving laws) to keep my license. Which I did, and I’ve been a pretty responsible driver ever since. I mean, can you not look at my record and see that I have only one official infraction, and give me a freakin’ break on the rolling stop at 8 am? GAH. It’s not like I put anyone in danger. The kids in that neighborhood had already been picked up for school by the bus. LOL.

So the ticket had been languishing in my lonely, unused briefcase for months, and I remembered yesterday (luckily) that I either had to go to court or pay it by tomorrow. First of all, what’s the point of going to court for that? Not gonna lie, I rolled. Not like I can hire a lawyer to say I rolled to *almost* a complete stop and get it dismissed. Right? I actually have no idea. I just figured it would be easier to just pay the damn thing.

So I went downtown to the Courthouse this morning to do just that. Only it’s not called the Courthouse. It’s called the “Hall of Justice.” Like we are in freaking Gotham or some shit. I went into the lobby and put the contents of my pockets in the tray to go through the metal detector, which the security guard didn’t even look at, and slid through with her back to me while speaking Spanish to someone behind her. I walked towards the elevator hoping for a sign for the Clerk of Court’s office.

Oh, yay! The sign said “Clerk of Court, Room 217.” So I got on the elevator. The lady ahead of me asked me what floor, and I said, “Two, please.” She craned her neck around all slow and looked at me with her lips pursed, and said, “You ON two.” So the lobby, which is on the ground floor level, is actually also the second floor? O….kay.

“Do you know where the Clerk of Court’s office is?” I asked her. She pointed out into the lobby without another word, and the door closed. I walked in the direction she pointed and went into the first and only office-looking room marked “Records.” A lady at the desk asked to help me, and I held up my pink slip, saying, “Is this where I go to pay a ticket?”

“No, Clerk of Court is where you pay. Room 217. Down the hall.”

Okay. This can’t be that hard.

I went out again and headed down the hall. I passed a door that said, “Bookkeeping.” I figured it’s probably farther on down. Nope. Turned around and decided to go into “Bookkeeping” to ask again. Once inside, I saw a huge long line, and other people holding pink slips. This must be it!

The guy at the end of the line motions for me to pass him. How nice! Awesome, thanks! He proceeds to inch closer to me and I begin to wonder whether he is trying to determine my brand of perfume, see down my shirt,  pick my pocket, or grab my ass. There is a sign which reads “No cell phones — only in lobby.” Apparently this does not apply to the one lawyer in the room who proceeded to talk loudly on his cell the entire time.

At the window is a very large man with a tiny child in tow. He is having an animated conversation with the lady at the window. Apparently they are old friends. The tiny child runs towards me and hugs my legs, staring up at me with a tiny little cheesy grin. The large man at the window turns around and bellows, “AJ! Get off her!” AJ releases his grip and runs back to the window. Everyone in the line is now looking at me. I don’t know why children like me. I don’t even smile that much in public because I’m trying to do my “Don’t fuck with me” face.

Finally I get to the window and hand the lady my ticket. “I need to pay,” I said. At which point, she proceeds to crow out to the room, “YOU GOT TO GO TO COURT!” And thrusts it back at me.

Calmly, I spread it open before her and point to the box checked by the cop on the back, which plainly says I only have to go to court if I don’t want to plead guilty by paying. The paragraph begins, “You do not have to appear in District court…”

“CASH ONLY,” she barks. I am aware of this stipulation, as I also read that information on my ticket and am prepared with cash, which I already had in front of her on the counter. Got my change and ended up exiting with the dude who was creeping behind me in line.

Outside, he said, “Man, she a bitch, right?” I was like, “Yeah, whatever.” He walked with me for a minute chatting. He said he had been standing close to me to make sure no one fucked with me because I was the only white girl in the room. “I wasn’t trying to creep or nothing. You had a wad sticking out your back pocket. These crack heads don’t play.”

“Oh…thanks,” I said. “That’s really nice.” That’s when we parted ways, and my protector crossed the street to the pawn shop saying, “Gotta go get some of my shit back. You got a phone?”

I laughed. Gotta give him props for trying, I guess. LOL.



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