Have you ever had one of those days that started out good and just got better? Me neither…not in a while. And ESPECIALLY not on a day that began with a trip to a municipal building. In ANY state.
But Tuesday, October 14, 2008 was QUITE the exception.
I woke up in a timely fashion, put on my crisp new white cotton blouse, a new necklace and black tailored trousers. I even busted out the black non-sandals, closed-toe heels just for this occasion. Because when I go to court, I like to look more like the lawyers than the defendants. It’s just my strategy.
So I found the building 30 minutes ahead of schedule and as I walked up to the front door, I made the wise choice to turn right around and put my cell phone back in the car. I read the signs on every handle and I took them seriously. I’m nothing if not an avid reader. One of the many blessings from God came in a quite unexpected place on my return trip to the front door…a gal sitting on the curb wearing, get this, a shirt that was LONG ENOUGH! Seriously, I am currently mentally and intentionally thankful whenever I see shirts and pants that meet, nay, overlap these days. It’s like a twisted treasure hunt, I love them so. Despite the fact that it makes me feel so very old and 40.
“In my day…we had pants that came up yay high, and shirts that tucked in or went over the top, even in the back… And we LIKED it.”
So they whisked me right through security and back to Traffic Courtroom B where Barbie The Honorable Judge Blonde Ponytail was presiding. I’m not smack talking the judge…she’s my new best friend. But I did wonder what she wears to the bars. She was THAT pretty.
Regardless of the calendar-worthiness of the judge, Traffic Court, even in Virginia Beach is no Ally McBeal or A Few Good Men. I mean, the lawyers were not that good looking or even well dressed for that matter so it was quite the buzz-kill. On the bright side, I did get several days worth of meals planned during my 2 hours of waiting. Plus, there were several way more scandalous issues that I was able to hear which were interesting enough to tear me away from grocery list composition.
Finally it was the turn of ALL Officer Detrich’s clientelle to come forward and plead “guilty,” “Not-guilty,” or “no contest” which Judge Jessica (not her real name) explained means “…not arguing the nature of the ticket, you just have additional information that may not be indicated in the officer’s report.” Fair enough.
I was #13 in line and we moved pretty quickly. Now is the time it dawns on me that I might want to consider being a little nervous. Even though she is dismissing people left and right, even the 15 year old kid who she made take a breathalizer test which he failed, not to mention untucking his shirt as soon as she dismissed him from the bench (again, thankful. Long Enough. Thumbs up, Drunk Teenager in traffic court, for at least covering the boxers) I still had a bit of a heart-rate climb. What if I’M the random “example?” She may look at my picture of the 35 MPH sign and say I photo shopped it. Yikes, maybe I should’ve just paid the ticket.
But all was well because when it was my turn, she reminded me we are all about keeping our neighborhood safe. Agreed. And then she said to the officer, “I’m gonna give her the benefit of the doubt,” and she said to me, “You’re free to go. No charge.”
I am free to run!
I am free to dance!
I am free to drive real slow!
I am free.
I AM FREE!