So I went to court today. Not what you’re thinking…just a speeding ticket, trying to negotiate with the law to take care of our low insurance payments and keep them that way. So I was speeding. Who doesn’t speed on 85S in Atlanta? I mean, if you don’t go at least 70, the drivers will plow you off the road! This is my justification with myself. I’m buying it, but let me tell you this….I will NEVER get another speeding ticket! No way, not me.
After I finally find the clerk office or courthouse or whatever it was, I realize that there is a crowd of people, convicted of something, loitering outside the entrance. What’s going on? I thought. It’s only 90-something degrees outside and I had to stand in the direct sun light, sweating to the point where I was disgusted with myself, standing beside some of Atlanta’s finest. 🙂
After waiting for an hour in the sun (I literally got a suntan) we were finally ushered in. Being my first time in a courthouse, I had no idea how the process worked and everything I did reminded me of the first day of college, scrambling around to keep up and keep it all together.
Four years in a university didn’t help me understand half of what that clerk was saying. I tried really hard, but it was beyond me. I end up getting in the wrong line and waiting for 30 minutes only to be turned away and sat back down.
Finally, Your Honour Butts (yes, I am not kidding you…that was her name) arrived and we all had to stand. I kinda expected it to be like Law & Order, one of my favorite shows I’m actually watching now, but nope. The outdated, nasty, stained carpet and the wall clock that was stuck on 7:34 when it was really 2:30 kinda took away the luster of the atmosphere that I had created in my mind. Shoot, why did I forget my work phone so I could play Solitaire?? Ugh. Then they ordered us to turn off our phones. Usually I don’t pay attention when people tell me to do that but the big, bad cop with the gun on his belt told me to obey this time.
Apparently it’s a known fact that you have to pay on your court date…cash or certified check. What? I never have a dollar bill, much less the big fine I had to pay today! So I turn on my cell phone…please don’t make a noise! It didn’t.
I’m frantically texting Mark: I need cash! He calls me. Really? Mark, I’m in the courtroom!! I sneak out to make a call…I need cash! Shoot! It’s then that a lady tells me that I can get a money order and drop it off by 7 am the next day. Okay, I can do that.
After waiting for a while, a foreign man walks up to the podium. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little nervous about walking up to the podium. Is Your Honour Butts going to ridicule me? Ask me why I’m here? Ask me if this experience taught me a lesson? Request that I write “I will never get a speeding ticket again” on the board 100 times? What do I SAY??
Back to the foreign man. Apparently the country he came from doesn’t respect women. Poor guy was upset about his $25 fine for equipment failure and kept interrupting the judge Butts. The big, bad cop with the gun on his belt had to step in and tell him to not talk over the judge. Didn’t this guy know? That cop has a gun! What was he thinking?
Finally, she calls my name. Terrified. I’m fidgeting with my purse. Pleading guilty didn’t feel as bad as it looks on TV, but it still made me feel like I had really misbehaved. No ridicule, no questions. YES! “Ms. Griffith…are you prepared to pay your fine today?” Judge Butts said like I was making her late for her granddaughters kindergarten graduation. “Well, I don’t have any cash if that is what you mean…” why can’t I think of the right things to say? “Well, Ms. Griffith, you need to go to probation and wait for instructions from there.” Probation? What? REALLY? I step in… “Well I should be able to get a money order and turn it in by tomorrow am…is that okay?” She looks at me like I’m a headache. I am NOT going to probation! It has been enough of an adventure for one day. They really need to have a special flyer for non-frequent criminals. Wait, I’m not a criminal. Just being in that place made me feel just plain awful. All I did was speed!
Finally, after a several hour ordeal, a run to CVS for a money order that I had no idea really how to fill out, I drop it off in the box. Finally, it is done.
I’m going to start to practice now. If I ever get pulled over again, I’m totally not going to hesitate to pull out the sob story and tears on demand. I am NEVER getting a speeding ticket AGAIN!