Two years ago, on the 14th of December, I put this entry on my old Xanga blog, and I think it's worth repeating.
Miracle on 34th Street
OK, so it wasn't 34th Street, it was the Fairfax County Courthouse.
Back at the beginning of October, before I learned to say "No, no, NO!" my landlady made me miss a day of work, and late for work two other days, and Prince William County made me late another day. All in one week.
On one of those days I was late for work, I got a speeding ticket.
I didn't have the money to pay it, so I had to wake up at 5:30 am today (a miracle in itself) and go through dense fog to the courthouse.
Side note: we had a high of around 60 F, hence the fog. 35 or 40 for a high is more usual for this time of year.
So, on the way in, I was practically subjected to a strip search. Well, I kept setting off the metal detector until I finally took off the belt that I like because it has lots of star-shaped studs.
Anyway, I sat through a bunch of people protesting their innocense or admitting guilt.
Finally my name was called. The judge told me to sit and wait, but called me back in a little bit. He called me in front of the bench, which was a relief, because we had been shouting across the room at each other from where I was supposed to stand. So I could hear him. I asked a question, got an answer, and told the judge I didn't have the money for the fine and why I didn't have it. He reduced the fine DRASTICALLY, and sent me off to make arrangements to pay.
When I was making arrangements, a lady came up and interrupted. She asked if she heard right, that I was getting Social Security. I said yes, and she shoved $30 onto my hand to help pay the fine and said Merry Christmas!
I handed it over, and while the clerk was writing a receipt, a gentleman walked up and asked the clerk how much was left to pay. The clerk told him, and he said "I'll pay that!" he did, and also wished me a Merry Christmas.
I had tears in my eyes when the lady gave me the money. I was amazed!
By the time I left, everyone there was wishing each other a merry Christmas, and my tears had spilled over.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause!
This was all inspired by Crazy Aunt Purl's blog today. She had a run-in with a traffic cop of her own.
I should mention that I never should have gotten the ticket the way it was written, and the judge should have dismissed it immediately. The ticket said I was speeding on the Occoquan Bridge. It was written by a Fairfax County cop, and I had to go to court in Fairfax County. The Occoquan Bridge is in Prince William County, where the cop and Fairfax County have no jurisdiction! The cop also saw me speed in Fairfax County (as I was getting off the bridge), but that's not what he wrote on the ticket. It should have been dismissed. I even made this point to the judge, and they told me I was wrong, but subsequent investigation proved I was right
By the way, if you live in Fairfax County and have just moved here, when you pay your property tax, keep the canceled check or the photo of the check from the bank. They will tell you that you failed to pay the previous year's tax and charge you for it again the next year. Don't feel bad. They do this to everybody.
The first time they did it to me, and I showed them the canceled check, they said "Oops, computer error!" I believed them that time. The second time, I was highly skeptical. The third, fourth, and fifth times, I didn't believe them at all.
Fairfax County reminds me of something I heard a comedian say when I was a child, "The only difference between organized crime and government is: government says they're legal." They constantly do things that are illegal by their own laws. The state of Virginia should clean up Fairfax County.
We have the standard Friday line-up tonight, except that The Mentalist is on again after Ghost Whisperer.
Have a great evening and weekend!