Today was the day that I got to head down to North Carolina and face Johnny Law for the speeding ticket that I got last month. I was caught doing 73 in a 55 mph zone. Ugh. I had visions of being shackeled, having to put on one of those orange prison suits and be carried away. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon ‘the Boondocks’, then you can just imagine what my stay in prison would be like:
From my house to the courthouse in Lousiburg the total trip time was about 4 hours. Ironically, that means that I had to drive between 80-90 mph. My drive was…interesting. Using Google Maps, I had to drive up and around what I thought were backroads. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that that is what North Carolina is like outside the urban centers. Ugh. Such long stretches of road with farms, stores you’ve never heard of and small houses. It reminded me a lot of parts of Suffolk, VA. Pretty rural. When I finally got to the courthouse I went into the wrong one. I was supposed to go to newer one across the street. On the pluss side, I got to meet Officer Valentine who gave me good advice: Ask the DA to lower the charge.
Anything 15 mph above the speed limit is considered reckless in North Carolina. Yay! I was doing 18 over! Anything over 10 mph gets reported to your insurance. Well, I got in line to beg for mercy with all the other speeders. The court opened at 9am and from 9-9:30 those with offenses could try to negotiate with the DA. One guy that I met had an entire multimedia production – pictures, laptop, movies of where he was cited and how he couldn’t see the signs and how it was entrapment. Methinks someone watches too many shows like CSI. Personally, I was going through my head what I was going to say to the DA. I had considered the truth – I wasn’t paying attention while I was talking to my father-in-law about the house he just built. Then I started to weave a tale in my head about my cruise control, a car fire, my father-in-law needing a hospital, a declaration of amnesty from the Pope, and numerous other non-related excuses.
When it was finally my turn, I walked past the swinging door and right up to the DA, a young black woman who seemed annoyed. As she motioned to me to come forward, I smiled at her and said ‘Good morning! Thank you for speaking with me.’ She told me that was the very first time someone had ever done that to her. She smiled back and asked for my citation. She looked at it and in the blink of an eye blurted out ‘Ok, let’s drop this to 64. Just pleade ‘Responsible’ and you’ll be fine.’. And that was that. 9:30 rolled around and court was in session. I was the fourth person to be called up, I got to say ‘Responsible’ and the judge levied a $25 fine plus the $110 court cost. YES! I’M GETTING OUT OF THERE BEFORE 10AM!! Within 2 minutes it was over…
Except that right as I was about to get my paperwork from the clerk sitting next to the judge the power went out. The courthouse went dark. It was soon discovered that the entire town of Louisburg went dark. I had to wait another hour for the power to come back up so that I could pay my money and get my receipt. It was horrible. Jimmy the Bumpkin kept talking to me about his get rich schemes. All he was waiting for was his $5 in change from the clerk, but it was locked in her register. When the power was restored I finally got my crap and headed out of town.
Yeesh. Yeah, North Carolina. That’s the place you oughta be.