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Monday, November 23, 2009

Traffic Court: A Postscript

I dragged my sorry ass down to Philadelphia's traffic court today.

There was no court, there was a tiny office with a desk and a chair.

There was no judge, there was just an examiner.

I was not found guilty, I was just found liable.

I was assigned #273. When I arrived, they were dealing with #54.

Needless to say, I had a lot of time to wait and think and observe while I was waiting for my 2.5 minute "hearing" with the "examiner" at her "desk." While I'm tempted to write off my combined 2 hours of sitting in traffic there and back and hour and fifteen minutes of wait-time a complete waste, really, when you think about it-- it wasn't. Because I learned a lot. And, when you're learning, it's never a waste.

Here's what I learned today at traffic court, Mommy:

* Being jailed does not necessarily preclude your vehicle from accruing parking fines.

*It is possible to rack up parking violations in excess of one month's rent for my first apartment.

* In traffic court, black people outnumber white people.

* The civil service clerks who sit behind the bullet-proof glass cannot hear, so please scream at them.

* Speaking of those civil service clerks-- mascara is mandatory. Teeth, optional.

* The Arab man named "Abraham" is not to be trifled with. He has come bearing at least twenty polaroids of the curb, the parking meter, his car's front bumper, a hand-drawn map of the intersection in question, and an attitude that could make a camel shit blood.

* Attractive people do not go to traffic court. They are far too busy in tanning beds, jogging, looking at books in Borders, sipping lattes in cafes, getting beauty rest, and enjoying candle-lit dinners and/or walks on the beach and/or curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and a book. If attractive people do get parking fines, they just pay them.

* Large black men with huge, gouging knife-wounds to their faces and necks go to traffic court.

* If you wear a neck-tie to traffic court, you are guaranteed to be the only one to do so. Except for the TSA guard sitting seven seats away. Reading the Qur'an.

* Your name will be mispronounced by the clerk if it's easy or moderately difficult to say. If it is next-to-impossible to say, it will be spelled aloud.

And, the most important lesson of all the lessons I learned about traffic court:

* Don't go to traffic court.

1 comment:

  1. I am printing out this list in case I need to go to traffic school... thank you, sir!


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