From the moment I walked into the crowded waiting room nearly a half-hour before court started, I decided I should have just paid the ticket (expired tag). It was standing room only, and they were already on the second sign-in sheet. It was hot and loud, and a sampling of every sort of character in the Shoals was present: some of them didn’t smell too good, and more than once, I caught a whiff of someone’s whiskey breath.
When they finally opened the doors to the courtroom, people poured in like free donuts were being offered, but I assure you, there were no donuts; though perhaps there were a few nuts. Seating was unpadded church pews. I made myself at home on the back row…much like I do at church. There was probably enough room for everyone to have a seat, but some chose to stand, leaning against the outside walls. One individual decided to take up residence on the wall beside me. I should point out that I don’t like crowds, and I am an admitted germophobe. The man obviously didn’t want to be there and he kept sighing heavily, and blowing his bad breath right on me.
A few young men of color wore pants around their knees, so I know what make/model of underwear too many of them were wearing. A chick with boobs protruding like overstuffed water balloons beneath a white tee had the words “Mrs. Dirty” air brushed in big letters across her bosom. Some of the men who showed up must have been working in the mud all last night and didn’t have time to change before they came in for court. One of the ladies, having obviously been to traffic court before, brought her crocheting and kept herself busy.
There was some really strange chick who made her rounds all over the court room, showing anyone who would look a handful of photos. She was loud and remained loud even after the court officer told her to keep quiet. She hugged some unsuspecting stranger, and after 10 minutes of showing the poor woman her photos, never missing a beat, she whipped out an old high school yearbook. Yes, she really did!
When my name was finally called, it was only for me to get in line. I then had to stand. And wait. And wait and stand. The man behind me had a crazy story, and the chick in front of me had an even better one, neither felt they shouldn’t pay their tickets. Me? I had my own story, and I didn’t want to pay, either. I thought it was just traffic court (DUI’s and tickets), but it was not. Apparently theft cases were being tried as well. Lawyers kept breaking line with their shackled clients, making the wait even longer.
When I finally (after nearly two hours) made it to the bench, the judge said, “Ticket dismissed. You’re free to go.” He didn’t even ask me how I pled, not that I minded. Now, I wonder if Mom’s prayer had something to do with that?