Thursday, January 6, 2011

I fought the law, and . . .

. . . the law won.

Of course.

But I like traffic court very much anyway. It's peaceful there. And quiet.

Almost reverent.

Like being at the public library. Only more edgy. Or like being at church. Only more relaxing.

Traffic court and church actually have a lot in common. In both places you sit silently looking around at the people in the pews next to you and you think, "I wonder what they're in for?"

At church you can only speculate. At traffic court you're about to find out.

It's an edge-of-your-seat kind of peaceful.

The thing traffic court has over church is law enforcement. At church they tell you what you can and can't do and judge you accordingly. But only in their hearts.

Where's the satisfaction in that!? At least at traffic court you know where you stand.

"Were you going 25 miles per hour?"


"It's the law."

"But I don't like going 25 miles per hour. It's boring. And it makes me itchy."

"It's the law."

"But my car has a sleep disorder and it slips into a coma at 25 miles per hour."

"There is no BUT in the law. Cha-Ching. That'll be $90."

There's a sense of gratification in justice over mercy which I never understood before now. All those years teaching Les Mis and Cry The Beloved Country and Hamlet and The Things They Carried in order to open my student's blinds to the gray matters of morality, and yet I never really understood the true poetry in poetic justice.

I imagine this is what math feels like. There's right and there's wrong, yes and no. What if's and maybe's hold no sway. It's either 25 m.p.h. or it's not. And anything over 25 m.p.h. costs $90.

Math is predictable like that.

Life is a lot like math if you think about it. Only without the lawyers. There are no lawyers in math because it's completely objective--right always prevails over wrong. But life is tricky, so life needs lawyers.

At traffic court the prosecuting lawyer takes you aside, into a room, just the two of you. You and him. You sit down at a little table while he towers over you with his suit jacket open so you can get a glimpse of his gun. He looks straight at you, eyeball to eyeball and says, "I hope you don't have anything else planned this afternoon because we have a lot of cases today and this is going to take at least three hours."

While your brain is skimming through your afternoon schedule--meet Marie at 3:00 to laminate Young Women book marks . . . soccer practice at 4:00 . . . dinner, pick up twins, take Young Women to Carl Bloch exhibit at 5:30--he starts offering a plea bargain.

He strongly recommends you take the deal. And so does his gun.

He starts throwing out big, scary words, like misdemeanor and criminal and violation of section 41-6a-601.

And then comes the if you lose part. If you lose there will be more than helk to pay. There will be $$$ and traffic points to pay.

Unless you take the deal.

"But what about my light sabers?" You say. "What about my ensemble cast waiting in the wings to sing me out of this ticket? What about Victoria's Secret?"

The prosecuting lawyer just shakes his head side to side. "It's the law," he says.

It's not his fault. He's a prosecuting lawyer, and they do math. That's what they do.

I liked the judge very much though. There was something familiar about him, like someone I don't know, but who I see every so often. Maybe once a year in a Christmas card. My best friend from the hood's hub, perhaps. The one who writes poetry about his flu symptoms, then sends it out to everyone he loves with a final thought about the real reason for the season.

He had very kind eyes that spoke to me--exactly the sort of eyes a judge should have when he's about to ask you what you plead.

"Guilty, your honor."

Are you sure? his eyes said. But what about the light sabers. And what about your ensemble cast waiting in the wings? 24601! Remember!? Are you just going to go like a lamb to the slaughter without even asking me for mercy?

It's the law, my eyes said back.

Ironically, his eyes didn't ask me about Victoria's Secret. He was above that sort of nonsense.

But even a judge isn't above the law.


Martha said...

So why didn't you just send it a check in the first place. Why did you put your self through all this misery?

Barbaloot said...

Was your judge's name Stan? I happen to work with lots of driver's license people in my job and me and Stan are tight:)

Did you make it to the Carl Bloch thing? I thought it was really nice!

Garden of Egan said...

Did you really think you could outsmart the law??? You're such a loveable Dummy!

At least they didn't fingerprint ya or cuff ya and stuff. It wouldn't have looked good for your YW to see their light saber leader with smudgy fingers.

90 dollars? Wow, that robbery! That's about 10 Pork Salads from Cafe Rio!

IWA (e - va) said...

So i have a L O N G story about traffic court and a tricky lawyer...but Short story: I lost, piad my ticket, but the cop (he was still a Probie officer) was also there and i got him in BIG trouble with his supervisor who was also there, and I made the Tricky lawyer very mad because he had the audacity to ask me questions that didn't pertain to my traffic ticket and i told him on the stand, "IT's None of your business!"... then the judge gave the ruling and asked me if i had anything else to say.. i told him that I will remember his name, and when he is up for re-election, i will tell every Polynesian i know not to vote for him.... The Kinda End.

I wish i told you a head of time.. NOT TO TALK TO THE TRICKY LAWYER!

ps... You car would be in the state of constant coma here in AmSam! But the good news is that there are only like 5 cops that give out tickets on this whole island.. Ive never ever seen anyone stopped.. even when a car drove right by a bunch of cops with a baby sitting on the driver and hanging out the window!

Dolly said...

No wonder our beehive class could not get tickets to the Carl Bloch exhibit. Your huge Am Fork group took them all.

I had a traffic court day in Honolulu when Izzy was two (she started speaking complete paragraphs at 18 months) and she thought we were in church too. The similarities were so uncanny. Like testimony meeting in Hauula 2nd ward.

In my case, which was at the end of the day thanks to the letter W that I attached to my name in my pre feminist days.... I stood before the judge, and with a shaky voice, told my story. With a look and scoff that said, what kind of idiot police force do we have in this state, he said "Okay, these are all thrown out!!" Afterward, in the hallway, a guy that had been around letter S in the lineup, came up to me and said, "Hey, dat wuz one good jo-ob!"

I got the impression that some people in there were regulars.

I am LoW said...

haha!!! I love it! Well done, Crash!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh gosh, girls, why didn't you tell me all this before I went to traffic court. It's not like you didn't have fair warning. ;) Good on you, Dolly and Iwa! Girl POWER! ;) I would have put you in my ensemble cast fer sure.

Martha, three reasons:

1. I hadn't seen the gun.
2. I lub misery.
3. What would I blog about if I just sent in the check?

Barb, no his name was Thomas Low. Are you tight with him too? If so, give him a hug from me.

Becca said...

Thomas Low is our neighbor way up here in the Heber Frozen Mountaintops. Good, gentle, kind man. And he's a sucker for the old white-bread rolls. But he likes them with grape jelly. There's no accounting for taste.

Anyhoo, what I was going to say before that, was this: We loved the Bloch exhibit. My 7-y-o got a little bored waiting for his dad to finish playing with the iPad, but the 9-y-o loved the Gethsemane/Angel painting so much she got a little teary. In a good way. And the teens thought the whole thing was excellent.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Goshdarnit, Becca, why did you tell me this before I went to traffic court. I coulda had Val of the South make me some homemade rolls and grape jelly to take with me to court.

What a small world.

Please tell him that I blogged about his kind eyes. And ask him if there is anything he can do about my traffic record.

And I LUBBED the Carl Bloch exhibit. He paints as if he can actually paint light into the painting itself. Bee-u-tiful. I agree with your daughter about the Gehtsemane/Angel painting.

And since your neighbor is Thomas Low, the 4th district traffic court judge, can I brag that my neighbor, Jared Ludlow (in Hawaii) was the narrator on the iPad for the Carl Bloch exhibit.

Now we're even.

Just sayin,'

Although I don't know what kind of jelly he likes, even though I did go to Mexico with him.

Momza said...

I've blogged before about my fascination/appreciation of Carl Bloch's art. Looking at his work tells so much about the man and his personal relationship with the Savior...I would love to see the exhibit!
And, I've been to court over a ticket--and just stood there with my teeth in my mouth, took my licks, and gotta outta there with my dignity in my back pocket.
Never occurred to me to say anything at all--just smile and wave boys, smile and wave.

val of the south said...

I totally would have made rolls and jelly for you :)

Vern said...

There's not very many people who can compare and contrast church with traffic court. I think that's why I like you so much.

Just SO said...

Oh. my. word. Can I quote part of this and use it as my FB status? The having a lot in common? That made me laugh for a good minute!