Tag Archives: los angeles traffic court

Heya Culpa

Remind me next time not to fight the ticket.

I sit in traffic court, waiting to be called by the clerk so I can change my plea to “Guilty.” My cop is here–so much for the notion, widely dispelled, that “they never show”–and if I fight him now and lose–which I will, because I did it–I’ll forfeit my right to go to traffic school. So this entire enterprise has been a colossal, Kafkaesque waste of time. After eight hours of sitting in various seedy city courtrooms, staring at blue tiled floors and watching municipal employees chat each other up over styrofoam cups, I am going to have to pay the damn ticket. It’s so annoying. One more futile attempt to beat the system. I’m an ass. An ass with an empty stomach. And an ass nearly four hundred dollars the poorer.

Makes the notion of going back to work seem, if not more palatable, at least more necessary. Which is good, because I start, part-time, tomorrow.

Vacation is officially over. Life is back in session.

As for court? It never stopped.

One Flu Over the Mockingbird’s Nest

We make plans–the old saying goes–and God laughs. Well, he’s chuckling up a storm right now.

We’re supposed to be leaving for New York tomorrow. On the first leg of our epic tour. Stop one: my sister’s wedding. It’s on Saturday, in New Jersey. Remember? I’ve been worrying about the ticks?

But here’s a bug I never thought to worry about: the stomach flu.

Yes way. Mike just came down with it. I am listening to him vomit as we speak–he’s in the bathroom thirty feet from here. Don’t chide. I feel terribly for him. But what can I do? A grown man doesn’t need someone to hold his hair back. All I can do is bring him ginger ale. Which he will summarily expel anyway. It’s awful. A few minutes ago he said, “now I know how people on chemotherapy feel.” Why is everyone in this house obssessed with cancer? It’s downright ghoulish.

I don’t know what we’re going to do if he’s not better by tomorrow. Or, even worse, if I get sick. Or Myra-Jean does. It’s one thing for Mike to miss my sister’s big day. But for me to? That’s a whole different level of industrial-sized suckiness. And God forbid Myra-Jean does. That would be the worst. She’s supposed to be the flower girl. She’s been preparing for months, even writing a song for the occasion called “Pop like a Poppy.” It consists of two or three flower references and then the words “garden claw garden claw garden claw” in rapid succession. She plans on performing both it and “Space Oddity” at the end of the service. She won’t, of course. Instead, she’ll end up hiding behind my skirt the whole way down the aisle, but she’s got to dream, right? So let her! Please, God, cruel trickster, don’t give her the grippe right before the big event. She’ll be crushed. Like a poppy. Or some other fragile-stemmed bud.

Me? I’m basically sitting here waiting to get sick. It could come on any time. I’m trying to distract myself. I’m thinking, for example, of the day I just spent at traffic court. Remember the rolling-stop-sign citation? I went in finally. What a bust. Here I thought I was going to get my “To Kill A Mockingbird” moment. Instead, I got ten thousand other, totally banal ones, all of them spent waiting in line. You should have seen the queue outside the courthouse alone. Those metal detectors work double duty. Too bad they’re still so slow.

Or maybe it’s just that there were so many people there! In trouble for the stupidest things! This wasn’t the building for criminal cases, mind you. Only for jackasses like me. Did you know you can get a $330 ticket for throwing a lit cigarette out of your car? I mean, look. I hate littering as much as the next person. Actually, more. I’m that lady, after all, who’ll walk up to you and say “Um, did you need a bag for your dog’s poop? I have extras.” It’s amazing I haven’t been shot. By someone from the other courthouse, that is.

I still think $330 is draconian.

And jaywalking. It’s still a thing. Can you believe it? When those cases came up I found myself rooting urgently for the defendants. “Fight it. Fight it,” I muttered under my breath. Until the guy next to me, who was reading an AA book in Spanish, looked over at me like I was nuts.

“It’s just stupid, is all,” I said, shrugging.

He smiled uncertainly.

“Never mind,” I sighed. “Good for you for getting sober.”

Man, was his fine high.

Anyway. I’d take ten jaywalker tickets, five summons for tinted windows, and at least one littering citation if I thought it would keep me from missing Abigail’s wedding. So if there are Gods out there, I’m asking them now, please, quash the bug. All of them, if possible. Make my immune system strong, like bull. MJ’s, too.

As for Mike? It’s too late for that. But if he could be better by 4:08 PM tomorrow I’d be incredibly grateful.

What? I’m asking for a miracle?

Guilty, your honor. Yes, I’ll see the cashier right away. But–may it please the court–may I be assigned community service? Preferably in New Jersey? Sometime this weekend would be great.