Friday, May 16, 2008

Improper Equipment

At 7:15 AM I left the house. The court date was set for 8:00, but I didn't want to be late. I stopped at the ATM and took out enough cash to pay my ticket plus a little extra for contingencies like parking,panhandlers, contempt of court charges, etc.

By 7:30 I was downtown at city hall. I entered via the parking lot door and worked my way up to the front lobby. I saw a directional sign for "Parking Tickets Department" but, I needed to find courtroom 2C.

A helpful janitor in the lobby explained to me I was in the wrong building. I needed to be at the county courthouse! Luckily, it was a quarter-mile down the street and easy to find.

I got to the courthouse at 7:45 and joined the queue waiting to go through the metal detector. I had the foresight to not wear my steel-toed shoes. In fact, I even took my car key off the key ring so as to minimize the amount of metal on my person.

My precautions paid off and I breezed past the security check point.

By 7:50 I was in the courtroom. We traffic infractioneers were seated on long, hard church pews while a woman went from person to person checking tickets and taking names.

About ten people were milling around the judge's bench. They were shuffling papers, drinking coffee and joking with each other. A couple of heavily-armed bailiffs were included in the mix and I couldn't help but notice there was some sort of high-tech taser/paddle/billy club thingy lying on a chair in the front.

AT 8:00, a woman announced that they would be calling our names and that we should come to the front of the gallery to talk with an Assistant District Attorney. They would then discuss our options with us concerning our tickets. If anyone wanted to contest the ticket they would set a further court date for a hearing with a judge. Anyone 25 and under would have to also sign up for a mandatory driving safety class.

Ha! I'm two times twenty-five; no drivers' classes for me!

My name was called by 8:10. A brief chat with the Assistant D.A. revealed that she could change my ticket from driving 69 mph in a 55 mph zone to a charge of "Improper Equipment" which is a non-moving violation. The fine was $5 cheaper and there wold be no insurance-rate-damaging points on my license.


I was hearded into a jury box with a bunch of other scoff-laws. At about 8:20 the bailiff took us to the clerks' office and by 8:30 I had paid my fine and was a free man.


It is so nice to have this speeding ticket done with. It has been in the back of my mind for two months. It was also a lingering souvenir of that awful period at work where they had fired the Quality Manager (a week before a customer audit) and told me I was going to have to take over his responsibilities.

By closing out this ticket, I feel I have, symbolically, closed out that terrible chapter in my professional crisis diary.

Onward and Upward. Excelsior! Maybe next I will do a post about cartoons..?