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2002-04-30 - 1:05 p.m.

Okay. So I did some creative highway maneuvers and got caught. And so I had to go to traffic court. I could have handled it all by mail but it cost $135.00, or for $10.00 I can go in and waste my morning. Get out of work free vs. the price of a pair of Kenneth Coleís. It seemed an easy choice. Waltz in, impress the judge with my responsibility and Banana Republic and all would be hunky dory. Instead I was confronted by the sorriest spectacle of humanity. The only amusing anecdote that I can come up with about this entire ordeal was the man who showed up for his DUI hearing drunk. Other than that it was a mass of crack slippers, there to plea for more time to provide proof of insurance, explain the convoluted reasons for driving without a license/registration/working lights, and most sadly of all, why the child was not in a car seat. It seems that bathing is optional, as is personal grooming and sobriety. I sat next to a man who may have had leprosy. He was bandaged with blackened, gnarled fingers and no nails. His suit, which was made of some sort of shiny metallic looking fabric, was dirty and stained. The stench (which is the most appropriate word) was nearly visible. He had small flying insects on and around him. He sat next to me, and was silent. I was too afraid to move, or perhaps too stunned by the smell of him. I donít do well in such situations, my elitism and snobbery is so buried under a sea of guilt. I had a happy, safe childhood, I paid more for my car than these people make annually, I whine because of traffic, or the line at the bank. The smell reached gagging proportions and I finally got up and moved, preferring to stand at the back and hope he didnít notice. I donít think he did. My case was dispatched in 5 minutes, no fine or community service, just the court fee which I paid and fled, I didnít even want to wait for my change. But I stuck around as the tube came back, the 10 dollars stapled to my paperwork in a strange bit of efficiency. All told, the ordeal cost me $13.50 (I paid to park in the premium lot because I was late) and my emotional well-being. Now I know why they place such a premium on not going in.

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