I was in court today. My first court experience.
I show up in jeans, Converse and my ever present baby appendage. Everybody else, apparently, understands that you should arrive in suits, leather shoes and accessorize with a briefcase, not a baby.
But I am fairly certain they did not have to get up, dress and feed a toddler, a baby and a self. Then take a toddler to daycare right at opening so you can then race to the city (did I say race? I mean saunter. That would just be ludicrous to speed your way to traffic court. Ludicrous I say. Race? No siree, not me. I meander. Crawl. Pitter Patter even…) just in time to park, breastfeed a baby in the passenger seat, run in the courthouse to change a baby on a sink because there is no change table, then run upstairs to Courtroom 5 and bounce and dance and shimmy to try to get a baby to sleep in the wrap before court starts so that you can yell GUILTY without baby whimpers or booby flashes. Yes, fairly certain the ol’ boys club that are my fellow traffic violators did NOT have to do that.
While patting my baby’s bum and rocking to and fro, a 6’5″ scary-ass big dude approaches me, asks my name, shakes my hand and says “Hi, I am the one who pulled you over that day.” Instead of slapping him upside the head, I smile, nod and maybe giggle a little. He is huge and kind of makes me nervous. I curse myself for not printing off the google map of the 40 second journey from the medical clinic to my house. I suspect I am going to need witnesses, proof, EVIDENCE in my impending court case. Funny he makes me so nervous now. Not so much that day he pulled me over…
The day was dark. The air was thick…
Oh please, like I bloody well remember what the day was like 1.5 years ago when the offense occurred. That whole day is a blur. I was opening my business the next day. THE NEXT DAY. No stress there. Nothing much to do. And then a call from the daycare. My daughter was sick. “Sorry,” they said “You have to come get her.” I do and take her to the clinic where we spend almost 3 hours waiting. Starving and miserable by the end, her flailing, screaming self gets strapped in to her carseat. I back out, leave the parking lot, stop at the light, go at the green and see cop lights behind me so pull over. 20 seconds from pulling out and 20 seconds from my house. I can not even fathom what I am being pulled over for. “Why aren’t you wearing your seatbelt maam?” Shit. The one time in my whole life I don’t put it on because my child is sick and screaming and I am literally 40 seconds from home, and I am opening a business TOMORROW and I have guilty mom syndrome and worried mom syndrome and I am just beside myself with worry and fear and I get pulled over. I explain the sick child, close to home, I’m-so-sorry scenario to the cop. He goes to his car. I am pretty certain he’ll just give me a warning. He comes back with a ticket. A freaking $167 ticket.
“Are you kidding me?” I retort.
“Watch yourself maam.”
I do not notice his size and intimidating persona when I snort laugh in his face.
Which brings me here today. At court to dispute. 1.5 years later.
Scary cop dude asks me if I am going to plead Not Guilty or Guilty with the hopes of a smaller fine. Since I was in fact, guilty, I tell him guilty with a reduction in fine. He tells me he will support that. I find it odd that this is common practice to meet with the cop, somewhat casually in the hallway, before going into court. What if he bullied me into pleading guilty? What if he threatened me? What if I took it upon myself to slap him upside the face?
In fact, the whole system surprises me. I had imagined security checks and metal detectors. I was not even asked for ID to make sure I was who I said I was.
Then we enter the courtroom and the police bow to the judge and call him ‘Your Worship’. Your Worship? Do I have to call him Your Worship? Because I so can not do it. Nobody should be called Your Worship except for whatever God-type entity you believe in and Oprah.
The first defendant goes to the front. “Yes Your Worship. No Your Worship. If I may say Your Worship…”
WTF! This random dude who sped in an 80km zone going 81km (yes, 81km. Same cop that got me. Can you say Asshole with a chip on his shoulder?) is throwing out ‘Your Worships’ left right and centre. Is it required to say Your Worship? Because I CAN NOT DO IT! The next dude goes up and says ‘Your Honour’ once and then just replies yes or no. Phew. Okay. I can do that. This guy also has a seatbelt fine. His is reduced from $167 to $100. Then another. And now it’s my turn. “Do you understand these charges?” booms the judge.
“Umm, uhh, yah.”
Shit. Not a good first impression. But Brennyn is moaning. Loudly. She is sound asleep in her wrap, just as I planned, but she is sleeping so soundly that she is loud breathing/moaning. It distracts me. It takes everything in me not to laugh outright. I catch a few ol’ men smirking. They can hear her. I’m not sure if the judge can.
The judge rambles on. The cop speaks. I do. Then he asks how my finances are and I can not stop myself. I snort laugh.
The judge laughs and asks me to explain what that means. I tell him. He reduces my fine to $80. Better than the two before me.
Grunting baby appendage- this season’s top courtroom accessory!