I couldn’t sleep. Between some unnamed person snoring, and a fairly good case of nerves, I woke up at four a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. By five I had coffee in my hand and was catching up on dvr’d comedies to try and keep my mind off of things. Eventually I logged into our bank web site and found the month’s check in the account. (YESSSSS! Even did a little happy dance in the kitchen in my jammies.) I was NOT going to go to jail. At least I hoped not.
Having never been to court except to finalize a divorce or two, I had NO idea what to expect. Polly Purebread, over here, thought she’d just find the DA at 8:45 and plead my case and have her reduce my ticket to a nice manageable 9 miles over the limit, in hopes of not having points go against my insurance.
That isn’t exactly how things played out.
It took us longer to find a parking place than it did for me to get to Smithfield from the house.
Went in and gave the deputy manning the metal detector my handbag, cell and keys, and went through the metal detector wearing scrubs and sneakers, and damned if I didn’t set the stupid thing off. I could have had a weapon, but you know, I didn’t, but the guy swore up and down it was my watch, and let me right on through, after giving me instructions on how to find the DA’s office. Wonder if I could try that again with one of the kids’ pellet guns. Not that I would, because, you know, then I probably WOULD end up wearing an orange jump suit just because I have a twisted sense of humor. (And based on what the guy from the cell was wearing today, I’m assuming it’s an orange and white striped suit, which still would have clashed with my hair.)
The door to the elevators going up to her office was locked, so we went into the main atrium area, where seemingly hundreds of people were milling about, getting in lines, and I saw a deputy who looked all of about twelve years of age (who will forever, in my mind, remain, “Doogie Deputy”) who asked if I was looking for the DA regarding a traffic ticket. Why, yes. Yes, I was. Right away he asked if I had $190 on me for court fees, because if I didn’t I would have had to reschedule my court date. (NOT go directly to jail, not passing go, and not collecting $200.) WHAT? I lost all that sleep about not being able to pay the ticket, and they would have just rescheduled me? I swear, some days I really AM my own worst enemy ever.
At any rate, he directs us (yes, Johnny came with me, because I am a chicken, and not afraid to admit I was scared to death!) to two lines. One on the left for those that are guilty and pleading to a lesser charge, and one on the right for those who are quite certain that they were not doing what the officer said they were doing. Well, we KNOW which line I had to go into. As Johnny pointed out, it was the sign that said, “Get your guilty ass in THIS line.” (That is what Johnny said, not what the actual sign said. I couldn’t tell you what was on the sign.)
The guilty line is about a mile long, but that’s ok. If we can just make it to the little table, get the charge reduced, pay the fee, and get out quick, I was going to be a very happy girl. Now, the line was moving a lot faster than it should have been, so I get my ID out, and the copy I printed of the scanned original ticket, because I can’t seen to put my hands on the actual original, figuring it wouldn’t really matter, except that at the time I had to print the ticket again, I was out of white paper, so my citation was on purple paper. I always have to be different.
We get to the clerk at the little table, and they can’t find their copy of my documentation from the citation. I’m thinking that perhaps this has all been just a really vivid dream and that I would do well to back off of the wine before bed. But alas…they found my name right there on the list, and asked for my copy of the ticket. The purple one. And it did NOT go unnoticed. So I ask the kind lady that complimented my taste in paper color if we could just get this reduced to a more manageable amount. It is then she informs me that I will be proceeding into Courtroom 4, and they would work on that in court. (COURT???? I still have to go to COURT? Awwwww, crap.) I would sit in the courtroom and wait for my name to be called. I think this was at about 9:15.
We find the correct room, peek in through the door, and see very few people. At this point, we’re thinking it’s going to be a quick in and out, so we try the door and it’s locked. We go in through the door on the other side of the courtroom and what do we see? Full pews. Rows and rows of them, except I think they’re only pews in church. Maybe they’re benches in court. I don’t know if that’s right, either, tho, because when counsel is requested to approach the bench they go see the judge where he’s sitting. And it sure isn’t on one of those hard pews, that’s for damned sure.
We sat there listening to people plead guilty one right after another, after another. And I thought it VERY strange that they were ALL cited for going exactly nine miles over the speed limit. How coincidental that all these people got the same charge. Then it clicked, and I swear it got a little bit brighter in my corner of the pew. They were ALL asking for reduced charges, because anything over 9 mph jacks points on the insurance and nobody wants that. Except maybe for that one poor lady that was there for the two misdemeanor charges for driving without an operator’s license. I bet SHE would have been happy with simple points on her insurance.
I think it was probably about 10:10 when I saw my purple ticket in the hands of the DA. HAD to be mine. It WAS purple, after all, and secondly, she had a confused look on her face, because everyone else’s tickets came with a little brown envelope and some other paperwork. You know, Jules’ luck and all, so I knew it had to be mine. I walked up there and the first thing she said was that I had been cited with ## in a ##mph zone. The best they could do would be #9 in a ## zone. I’ll take it! I mean, if I can’t make it go away, just give me the reduction. So they did. And then the judge asked me the question that I almost choked on when I answered. “How do you plead?” Do you have ANY idea how hard it is for someone like me to say, “Guilty, Your Honor,” without hesitation. Three hardest words I’ve had to say in a very long time, because, I simply don’t DO things like this. Or as my friend Cindy put it, “You simply just don’t get caught.”
Then it was was time to sit on the cushy pews and wait until there were enough of us to be escorted (by my old friend, Doogie, no less) down to the clerk’s office to pay our court costs. FINALLY we made it down there. We got to go to the windows that were ALL labeled, “CRIMINAL.” *ouch*
On the way home, Johnny tells me he is so not going to rag on me at all about this because he KNOWS how badly I feel about the whole thing. In fact, at one point at the court house, I stated, “As God is my witness I will ALWAYS use my cruise control on the highway!”
I got home, dropped him off, and went on my merry way to work, a couple hundred dollars more poor than I’d been a few hours earlier, but a FREE woman. Later in the afternoon, Johnny called and asked how his favorite outlaw was doing. Do WHAT? But, he said…
Nevermind. He called his mom tonite and told her he was actually kind of excited about sleeping with a convict. She told him if he didn’t knock it off, he probably wouldn’t be. I love my mother-in-law.
So that’s how that little saga played out.
Till Next Time….
And be careful out there. You never know when you are going to stop paying attention to the speedometer needle. Trust me. I KNOW. 😉