Saturday, July 9, 2011

Notes from Court

I was in a Montgomery County courthouse to deliver testimony this past week. I'd never been to a courthouse before and the only thing I knew about testifying comes from Kick Out the Jams, where that one guy yells it before virtually every song. Here are some thoughts I had during the hour-and-a-half wait and the following 30 minute hearing.

-I could have legitimately uttered the phrase, "I'm not the one on trial here!" when the perp kept barraging me with pointless questions. He was trying to make me contradict myself. Dude, my car doesn't have a front bumper; I've got nothing to lose.
-I recognized several people from work in the waiting area, like the guy who consistently smells like scotch in the middle of the day.
-Yiddish humor even works on goyim!
- Calling the judge "ma'am" may have seemed polite at the time but now I realize that "Your Honor" would have been more appropriate. At least I didn't go with "whatever, pig".
-Is there a dress code for minor court hearings? There were folks there dolled up to pay fifty-cent traffic fines next to a dude in dirty cutoffs (somehow not me) who went before the judge. Maybe if you're innocent you can wear whatever the hell you want. I went with a nice-ish plaid shirt (a-DUH, as they say in Italian) and dress pants. It felt right.
-When I finally got a seat in the waiting room the dude against whom I was testifying wound up sitting right next to me! After 80+ minutes of standing nervously and playing with a water bottle cap I was happy for the chair but shouldn't they keep those parties separate? It's like the bride and groom staying apart before the wedding, except that one could possibly shank the other for getting them in legal trouble. Okay, so it's exactly like the wedding thing.
-Every waiting room ever should have a television where you can only watch sports. The room at the mechanic is the worst for its never-ending supply of soul-killing "Maury" episodes but the complete silence of the court waiting room was just troubling. It makes everyone look and feel even guiltier. I remember Inspector Gadget 2 being the only option at Chicago's airport and trying to sleep through most of The Polar Express at Planned Parenthood but the total lack of sound becomes quite creepy. You start to think that the silence is a test, that the court officials are noting your level of discomfort to determine guilt. "Oh man, that tan suit motherfucker keeps clearing his throat and pretending to look at the hoagie place across the street. Throw the book at him!"
-Seriously, the only thing that could make someone want to be a lawyer is the bread. Courthouses are fucking boring. I'm pretty sure even Ernest never went to one. Just jail, not court, anyway. No wonder those barrister a-holes get paid so much! It also partly explains why they're such a-holes. If you had to spend every day defending people set on shooting themselves in the foot (TIP: Being antagonistic to the cop or the judge who have a lot of say vis-a-vis you rooming with fuckin' Half Dead is a really shitty idea) maybe you'd get really into throwing money at waitresses too (TIP: Being antagonistic towards a hard-working woman who can easily facilitate the entry of "Oz"-style broken glass into your digestive system is a really shitty idea. And mean. And come on).

All in all, I'm hoping I don't ever have to go to court again.