The nice policeman at the door where you check in slipped my name to the top of the list of offenders after I told him that if I didn’t leave by 7:00, my daughter would be stranded on a corner 12 miles away and we would have a kidnapping on our hands. Never mind an extra inch of weeds in the alley.
The judge asks me how I want to plead. I tell him I haven’t been charged with anything, but if I were, I’d be not guilty. Then, he asked me if I wanted a jury trial or a judge trial for my weed infraction–I am going to call it a “weedony”–and I reminded him that I wasn’t ticketed with anything or made aware in any way that the city, state or country was unhappy with me or my slice of grass. And, I suggested that perhaps, he should listen to the facts of the case first, before asking me how I want to be tried, sentenced and hung out in the public square. Well, I didn’t say the last part.
He agreed to listen. Then, he told me that he would look into the situation. I presume he is going to call all of the people I had already dealt with to confirm my facts, and then make a decision about my alleged weedony. After he told me he would delve into the matter, he asked me if I wanted a jury trial or a judge trial and how I wanted to plead. Well, okay, I said I didn’t want the side dish, but if you need to bring it out of the kitchen, I will have the carrots. Okay, carrots.
Not guilty. Judge. December 16.
Meantime, I will wait for his letter. If I do not get one, I will have to tell the story all over again in December, the fourth use of public time and money, not to mention mine. Is this the way the legal system is supposed to work? I do not think so.
On the way out, we have to stop by the clerk’s window to sign something that says we will show up on the 16th. My younger daughter came with me, did her Language Arts homework in the courtroom while we waited, and witnessed the process in action.
“My name is spelled incorrectly on this form,” I tell the lady behind the window. “Could you please change it?” She gets up to check in the file drawer.
“That is how we have it,” she tells me.
“Would you please change it?”
“I cannot change it. It is the way it is on your water bill.”
“But it is not my name.”
“I can’t do anything about it.”
So, I ask her, when I sign my name on the paper that says I have to come on the 16th, “Well, maybe they weren’t my weeds, then. Should I sign my name with the “p” or the “t?” The right way or the wrong way?”
My daughter throws me a look. Mommy, you are being fresh with the lady.
“You can sign it any way you like.”
On the way out, my daughter tells me it wasn’t the lady behind the window I should be mad at. It was the other lady, with the camera. Right, she was, but the window lady represents the system, the annoyance, the harassment of it all, and the fact that we are dragging around at City Hall at 7:00 in the pouring rain when we should be home doing our Language Arts. Then, I told her to stand up for herself, wherever, whenever. Life demands it.