Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm really trying, people.

So a few Saturdays I got a speeding ticket coming back from the Winco in Tigard. It was kind of early (for everyone else) and there was pretty much zero traffic on that stretch of Highway 99W just as you're passing Greenburg Road - my whole life there has never been zero traffic on 99W - so apparently with all the caffeine and excitement I took full advantage. He got me going 55 (in a 35, which isn't hard to do) but after my wit and charm got ahold of him he wrote the ticket for 45. The bail was set at $145, and we had a long talk about various and sundry me-related things (totally amped on caffeine), and after I promised not to speed for the whole rest of the day he let me go on my merry way.

Yesterday was court. He suggested that I go to court so that the judge reduced my fine. But by Tuesday I was kind of thinking, well, what the hell. What do I say? I mean obviously I was guilty, so what do I do when I plead? Just stand there like an idiot? I called the court clerk and she told me pretty much, yeah. So I did.

Lots of people there before me, which made me mentally tally how much the city of Tigard gets in revenue for this crap (but the tallying didn't take long since I can't do math), and I got to listen to the various infractions and fines that appear to happen on a regular basis over there in Tigard. Interesting, but really boring.

Here's what kind of shocked me, though. Seriously, it's COURT. Sure, it's TRAFFIC court, but it's still court. Shut up, people! The lady that checks you in reminds you to turn off your phone, but that wasn't the distraction. Most people came with someone, or in one case ran into someone they knew, and just chatted away during the whole deal. Like, loudly. Like, with no real regard for the judge or what was going on at the front of the room. Chatting away, like it was a bar or something. I gave up giving the stink eye after about twenty minutes, but seriously, it was ridiculous. The guy in front of me was even showing a video (on his phone that was supposed to be off) to his buddy and giving him the color commentary. The judge did nothing about it, and there was no real bailiff, probably because this shit must be normal and what can he do.. he's just a judge. Nice. Show some respect.

When it was finally my turn, he was very nice to me, pleasant, told me if I had to get a speeding ticket it was a good kind to get (within 10 miles of the speed limit), and complimented me on my great record. Then he reduced the fine to $109 and sent me to the clerk to get my paperwork. The next case behind me involved some broad who apparently couldn't speak for herself, so the blowhard she met there did the talking for her (it was comical actually so me and the clerk listened for a little while). We chatted about how shocked I was at the noise level and she said since there ARE no bailiffs, nobody does anything about it. We lamented about the lack of respect for something like this, I mean, you have your whole life to chit chat with your friends, you can't shut up for an hour during something like court? Then she gave me my paperwork, I paid the cashier, and went on my way.

It wasn't horrific, but it also wasn't the greatest time in the world to have to pay $109 to anyone, let alone a city I've never been that big a fan of, but it taught me a lesson, I guess. Speed in Beaverton, maybe? I don't know.

All I know is that stupid $109 might have helped with the sting of paying flipping $600 for airfare in December. Might have (still having a hard time swallowing that). But we live and learn and pray our insurance company doesn't do a random search and increase our rates just in time to book a trip, abide by the no-heat-til-December 1 rule, and break down and buy a winter coat.


At 9:14 AM, October 20, 2011, Anonymous jackie said...

The one time that I went to traffic court in Milwaukie it was pretty much the same way. I made the mistake of telling the judge it seemed that everyone speeds through the speed trap on McLoughlin since at least two of the prior offenders were caught in the same area as me. The judge didn’t like me saying that.


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