Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's been way too long. Apologies all around.

I spent the morning in court -- albeit merely municipal court. My first (and hopefully last) time in front of a judge. Last month, whilst down in Bumblefuck, NJ meeting a stupid computer date guy, I got lost on the way home. I drove around aimlessly for 45 minutes, following bad directions from evil gas station attendents, and pulling illegal U-turns at just about every intersection. Finally, on my ninth (and final) U-turn, lights and sirens went off and the jig was up (who hasn't always wanted to say that?) Long story short, the cop - a stocky little fellow who obviously suffered from SGS ("Short Guy Syndrome") -- advised me to go to court to amend the 3-point ticket he was writing me - "Wouldn't it just be easier for us both if you didn't write me a ticket? Seriously, though?" And so I went.

Court was very educational. And it beat being at work. Mostly there were just a bunch of other [stupid] people, like me, who were there for doing [stupid] things while driving. And most of us spoke to the prosecuter to get our sentence reduced before going in front of the judge and claiming GUILT. But there was a lot of waiting around inside the courtroom, and a couple of entertaining cases.

There was the guy who looked like Fred Sanford, that came dressed in Native American garb (complete with headdress and carved walking stick). On the back of his big shawl was a picture of an Indian -- kind of like an iron-on -- with the words "Black Angel" embroidered around it. When the judge asked his name, he replied: "Black Angel Jones" - which explained the embroidery. He blessed us all on his way out.

There was another case which was disturbing on an entirely different level. Richie was called to court facing several assault charges against his girlfriend, Marisa. She stood up there with him. Through an interpreter, we all learned that Richie had grabbed Marisa around the neck, scratched her face and slammed her head into a wall. Then we learned from Marisa that this was the fourth time Richie had assaulted her since April. And that she decided to move back in with him anyway, despite the restraining order, because he had convinced her he would REALLY change this time. Oh, and that they have a baby together.

It was so infuriating. And sad. And so TV-like. And so real. The judge was great - you could tell he just wanted to climb over the bench and throttle Richie - we all did. The judge told Marisa that no one had the right to touch her EVER. That all she needed to do was make one phonecall to the cops if he ever touched her again and he would be in jail. She nodded - thanked him in her broken English. But come on -- people like Marisa are drawn to assholes like Richie - for whatever reason - and she won't be calling the cops.

I had my turn with the prosecutor (who was textbook- Jerry Orbach) and played the "Gee, I'm just a stupid teacher who was out way too late in a far-away town and I got all scared" card and he dropped my points. When I went to the window to pay my handsome fine, I found myself standing right next to Richie and Marisa. I stood up straight, and my 5'8"+heels self towered over that little creep. I thought of how good it would feel to grab that little bastard by his neck and slam his head into the wall. I looked at Marisa - even smaller. I tried to catch her eye - to give her some form of... I dunno... something, but she would not look up. She kept her eyes glued to the floor.

So many people in the world. So many stories going on all around us, all the time. We need only open our eyes.

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