So, some time back in July (the 3rd, actually), I was on some street (Tapo Canyon) and I got to a light, and I made a U-turn. And then I got pulled over and got a citation for making said U-turn at said light, at which U-turns are apparently illegal.
Ok, listen, policedude, I cried. You're supposed to let me off with a verbal warning when I cry, DON'T YOU KNOW HOW THIS WORKS??
Ok, anyway. So I got the damn citation, and then I got the details in the mail about what to do: either appear in court a few weeks later or pay the fine, a measly $260 (!!!!) and either go to traffic school or get a point on my license.
TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS FOR MAKING A U-TURN? IT DIDN'T COME WITH CHAMPAGNE AND A MASSAGE, DAMMIT, IT WAS A U-TURN.
Anyway, I go to court and I plead Not Guilty (even though I was) and get scheduled for a trial, a month later (today). Of course, now that camp is over it is no longer even a little bit convenient to go to court in Simi Freakin Valley, but whatever. So during the past few weeks I start trying to figure out what to do because I'm asking around and it seems like California doesn't work like New York where even if the police officer shows, you still get your fine or violation reduced, just for showing up. Here, no one gets off, apparently, unless the cop doesn't come, and the cop always comes. And California neeeeeeeeeeds cash, nu?
[I'd like to digress here and tell a story I just heard from a cow-orker who went to traffic court last week (and had to pay $745 for HIS citation (speeding) which fine made MY fine seem like chump change), but this post is already getting too long, isn't it? Maybe tomorrow.]
So apparently showing up doesn't get you anywhere if HE also shows up, and anyway I can't possibly claim to be not guilty because for sure I made that U-turn and it was broad daylight, ya-dah ya-dah. My vague plan was to say something to the effect of "I've learned my lesson, I am hyper-vigilant about traffic signs now, please don't make me pay all that money," but I was starting to feel dumber and dumber about that the more I heard about how it works in CA. AND then it became clear that today was also going to be an absolutely terrible horrible no good very bad day on account of my taking to the airport someone whom I'll likely never see again and if I could see through the tears, I'd keep typing, but gimme a minute, ok?
Ok so last week I decided the angst about the trial and the timing of the airport and going out to Simi and missing my Hebrew class and everything else was just not worth the $260 and I tried to pay the fine online but the website was totally broken and even though it found my case and I entered my credit card number and everything, it just said ERROR at the end and I had to assume it hadn't worked. Arrrgh. So I'm going to court.
So I go straight from LAX to court. The judge starts by taking attendance. The defendant says "here" if he or she is (many were not, oddly) and then the officer says "here" if he or she is. Everyone in the room holds their breath when their officer's name is called, hoping for a no-show and therefore automatic dismissal of the case. I'm told this very rarely happens, but for some reason today it happened quite a bit... lots of sighs of relief as the judge went down the list, and of course plenty of grumblings when the officers that were in fact present responded as such. So then the judge calls my name and I say "Here" and the judge calls my officer's name and he says "Here" and then he says he has a motion.
We both get called up to the front of the room to stand at the microphones (DEFENDANT?? SCARY.) and here's where it gets really good:
The cop says that the clerk's office has lost my citation, he has no written notes from the incident and insufficient memory of the incident to proceed, so he was moving to dismiss.
THE COP WAS THERE AND **HE** MOVED TO DISMISS! It was awesome. I was out of there in 15 minutes with NO fine, NO points on my license, and NO traffic school. Awe.Some.
If today hadn't been the worst day ever, it would've been the best day ever.
And now for one of my favorite jokes, except maybe it won't come across so well in writing instead of in hearing, but we'll do what we can:
So I got pulled ovah the otha day by this cop, says I done something wrong. I said I didn't do nothing wrong, I did what God said to do! What God said to do, he asks me, what are you talking about? Well, see officer, it's like this: I'm driving down the street and I'm a little bit lost and I'm not sure what to do, so I prays to God and I asks, What do I do here, do I go straight? And God puts there a sign for me, it says, No, u turn!!
Good thing they never gave me a chance to speak in court, huh?