Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Court Date

Some days you strangle the anxiety and the neophobia and you get stuff done.

Other days odds are against you.

But ultimately it's how you deal with your problems that counts.

A few months ago I got a citation from riding the Metrolink without a ticket. I had one...but I forgot it. I could win awards for forgetting things. Regardless, I was asked by an officer to present it, and as I was unable to, promptly cited. 

That in itself was stressful- I was embarassed for forgetting, I was flustered because I KNEW I had bought a ticket and the officer was incredibly nosy. As I was trying to show him all the other ticket stubs I had, he was trying to peer into my bag, pointing and gesturing that I should show him all these things. 
My wallet. 
My lunch. 
My cross-stitching. 
My feminine products. 
Are you happy, Mr. Officer? 

His little nugget of information bequeathed to me as he left: "Bring your ticket and the citation to the court date and the judge will probably waive it."

Back to today.

I live less than 10 minutes from the courthouse and since my citation said 8am, I figured I would have this all resolved in time for me to get to work just a little bit late, with hopefully no one the wiser.

Oh, what a sweet naive world I live in.

I left at 7:30 and promptly remembered I hate driving new places. I get frustrated and confused and embarassed about my old car. Also, downtown is crazy crowded at 8 in the morning. And every single building looks official enough to be a courthouse. 

So I'm racing past these buildings, hoping that the directions I remembered Googling were right. Hoping that each parking lot I pass isn't the one I should be parking at. 

I find a lot that pays with plastic (I can barely remember the last time I carried cash regularly) and park. Next to a law library? Whatever- I'll find a map and figure it out, right?

Naive. SO. NAIVE.

I find a map, but I have no idea what my orientation is. Regardless, my citation has an address and a room number. Funny thing is, the room number matches a building number on the map that is titled OCTA. Which is what I want, right? I'm running late, but instead of letting that get to me, I give myself props for getting all the way down there on my own and get on with my task.

I walk my poor frozen feet in what I think is the right direction and quickly realize that I'm walking an urban obstacle course with checkpoints at each map.  I cross the street and grit my teeth past the homeless people milling around the map. Yes, they give me the heebie-jeebies; yes, I wish that I had money to give them; yes, I grew up learning to avoid eye contact and keep my valuables close. It's then that I realize that my bright yellow wallet is clutched in my hand in full view of everyone.

Grit your teeth and bear it, girl. Walk with purpose.

I find the next map and realize I've walked the wrong way down the street. About face. 

The building I'm pretty sure is the right one is shaped funny- sort of oblong and round rather than a square. No matter, I can smell victory. I'll just go in, flash a smile, say how truly sorry I am for not having a ticket and be on my merry way with a reduced fine.

However, this building hates me. Its address on the side is the address I want...+20. But I'm in the right area. So I walk around the building, hoping for an entrance, a receptionist and some clearer directions. The door I find is labelled "Health Care". Not quite the "Transportation" I was looking for. I walk in and realize the building directory has NOTHING to do with public transportation.

So I turn around and keep going around the building. There was no receptionist and no one in the lobby, so I figure I'll do better on my own. 

I walk around that building TWICE more before I find the address I want- and the sign saying that the "OCTA" part of the building has been closed since 2008. 

It's about this time (when I can't feel my toes anymore) that I start muttering to myself. This does not help my mood as I'm starting to blend in to my surrounding peers...only I smell much better.

I walk into a building that looks official and ask the officers behind the glass exactly where I'm supposed to go. They tell me that I've mixed up "room" and "building".

Oh. Did I mention I'm a college graduate? I am what discourages earlier generations.

Swallowing tears of frustration, I don my sunglasses once more and head in the general direction they've pointed me to. And then I realize that the walkway they've mentioned is filled to bursting with homeless people. 

It's like in the movies when the hero must literally face her fears by  trudging through them. Chin up, boobs out, I walk through, almost tripping because I can't feel my toes in my heels anymore. Did I mention that I'm now 45 minutes late?

I get in a line to get inside the building I think I'm supposed to enter, only to realize that it's the juror's entrance. And it's that last straw that does it for me. I am so frustrated and confused at this point that I would rather pay the darn ticket. After all, when the Officer wrote my information down, he wrote down almost everything wrong. No driver's license number, my name, address and birthdate were all incorrect...I start wondering if I'll even hear from anybody about this.

So I left. Let's keep things real: I gave up. Maybe not my finest moment, but some days it just doesn't work the way you want it to. Obstacles are placed in your path and you are continually discouraged. But regardless of how my day started, I am determined the rest of this day will work out.

I will be productive, both at work and at home. 
I will not let my bad mood affect those around me, no matter how much I want to.
I will move forward and learn from my mistakes.
I will take care of this another way. Instead of completely ignoring this and hoping it will take care of itself, I am calling the DMV to see if I have any fines or citations on my license. 

So in the end it didn't work out exactly how I imagined, but I compromised with myself, set a goal and powered through the rest of my commute to work. 

County system got you down? Day didn't turn out exactly how you planned but you feel triumphant regardless? Today I need your support.

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