I made it to the courthouse with 2 minutes to spare. I was not actually in the presence of the Judge. I wasn’t even in the presence of the cop that everyone seemed to have to speak to before being sent into one of the courtrooms. But I was on site, and there were dozens of people waiting right along with me. There were many people in this very slow moving line, including a wily older woman of middle eastern descent who made several attempts to slip to a more advantageous place in the line when it did, in fact move. But since it moved so VERY slowly, she had little success in the long haul. For the most part she just seemed to agitate the Mom behind me.
The Mom behind me was nice, and meant well, but was extremely rattled. She kept asking if this was the right line. I told her the guy at the desk told me this was the place to go when I showed him my summons letter. She remained ill at ease. She showed me her letter – identical except her time to appear was 10am. Then a court cop came around and told us only people with letters telling them to appear should be in the line. Anyone else (who had to pay a fine, or schedule something, or reschedule something, etc.) should go to a clerk window out of our line of sight. This renewed Mom’s nervousness, though I pointed out that she had the letter the cop had been talking about. It would be about 40 more minutes until we made it to the front of the line and I was on deck to speak with the desk cop before she resolved that she was, in fact, in the correct place. She said, “I guess we’re on the right line,” though she seemed, somehow, to still lack confidence.
The cool thing Mom did was to ask the people behind us (a slightly loud, gawdy, know-it-all couple that I think would have felt very at home on the set of the Sopranos) if the old woman trying to creep forward was with them. She did it without accusation, just sort of nervous curiosity. Sopranos woman very loudly said, “No, she ain’t with us. She’s be-hind us.” She emphasized “behind” with some annoyance (and considering her carriage it seemed a word she should be comfortable using) and the old lady suddenly scurried back to her place. She’d been hovering a bit to my right, creeping forward, so this was a welcome relief of tension for me.
In front of me were two young (ahem) ladies who pointedly laid out (no pun) their prior evening’s activities through a not too quiet conversation and several even less quiet cell phone calls. They were twenty-somethings who had spent the night before at a club. One had received a speeding violation the same morning in May ’06 as me. The Violator had also apparently been digitally violated at the bar on Thursday night…willingly. Um. Yuck.
She had orange hair, lots of freckles, ridiculous cleavage, a dull palor of hangover-sans-shower. Perhaps she had changed her clothes. I don’t really want to speculate. Her deep v-necked top did little to cover her side chubs and she was wearing denim short-shorts. She was a big girl. That’s not a polite way of saying she was tall. I momentarily wished for a stapler so I could attach her shirt to her belt and cover up the pallid rolls of flesh, but then again, I don’t think I would have liked touching her.
Her friend, along for moral support, was a little shorter and a little less plump, but her white fleecy top and matching shorts were somewhat grayed, and she had about her a persistent odor of stale cigarette smoke. The friend made several phone calls seeking information about another friend because “I don’t know where she slept last night.”
There was way too much jiggling flesh, far below my preferred part of the female anatomy for jiggling, than I could handle. So I kept turning sideways in the line. Each time I did this, to avoid being blinded by yucky girl skank, Mom would start up with “So, the guy at the desk told you to get on this line, right? Do you think he knows where we’re really supposed to be?”
There was a moment when I had to stifle a laugh. See, the two chunkers did this thing where they acted really dainty. Like pointing their heads down and glancing up for a doe-eyed, Audrey Hepburn look. Their look was, of course, more moose-eyed. Oh, and they always had their hands up with bent wrists and their pinkies out. Quite dainty. Uber dainty. 400+ cumulative pounds of dainty. So, as the line made a sort of left turn, we were suddenly able to see the clerk window (which got Mom going again about maybe she should have gone there first. You didn’t go to the window before you got on this line, did you?). A small display of old cop stuff also became visible. Pork Antiques. There were a couple of motorcycles from many decades ago. There was a very old scale used to weigh prisoners. There was a gallows.
Just kidding, wanted to see if you were paying attention. Would have been cool, though…
The big stuff was in front of a glass case with smaller things. I read the tags on everything with large enough type to decipher from 20 feet away. I had time to kill and Mom had momentarily stopped chattering. I found the pre-Miranda era tear gas gun interesting.
The chunkies noticed the stuff too, prompting the following phonetically transcribed conversation:
Friend: They got a lotta artifax and shit.
Violated Violator: Yeah <dainty giggle, rolling jiggle>
F: You should, like, aks the cop about it.
VV: Yeah. <raised pinky, contemplative pause> Yeah.
F: Be, like, all interested and shit. About the artifax. He’ll like that.
VV: Mmmmm. <cuticle nibble, cuticle nibble, cuticle nibble> Uh-huh.
F: You’re such a whore. <throaty chuckle, then yanking on VV’s top to display yet more cleavage>
VV: Stop pinching my tit! <dainty giggle>
F: You shoulda wore the green top. It shows off your boobs better. <appraising glance>
VV: You puked on it you fuckin’ douche. <mock scowl>
F: Oh yeah. <fond remembering glance skyward, pause, then dainty giggle> That was awesome.
Does it matter that there’s a ‘t’ in artifact? When I think of pinched tits and vomit encrusted lycra, and…ummm…douches, well, I guess the answer is no. It does not.