Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Irony at the Courthouse

A while back i was given a citation for being in a public park after close. This was a fairly humourous story, which started with a maoist souvenier and happened while i was in the middle of reading SOFT COPS by Caryl Churchill, so it's already rife with irony, i'll tell it to you some time.

Anyway, today was the second (or perhaps third) chapter in this story. Tim and I went to the courtroom to contest the ticket. We continued our argument about whether or not No Country For Old Men is fascist propaganda (i've been convinced it is and won't relent until Tim agrees) and talked breifly about "From Riot to Insurrection" by Alfredo Bonanno, which I've just started reading (get your free copy at the CCC today!). Having such discussions in a courtroom is only a little ironic, but don't worry, there's more coming.

After twenty minutes of waiting while a line of people with petty infractions filtered into the room, the session got underway and we watched as nearly a dozen young people pleaded no contest to our same charge and had their citation cut in half. They walked out probably feeling like they'd gotten a bargain because the state only extorted $100 rather than the $200 it originally threatened to extort without just cause. Even the court commissioner was cracking jokes when a group of friends each took their turn approaching the bench. "Expensive party, eh? Hope it was fun!" Again, her playfulness is only a little ironic. Wait for it.

I, on the other hand chose to dispute the citation. I'm not about to pay even half of this thing without even having a chance to express either the technicality (inaccurate county website) the emotional appeal (a kid was shot dead a few blocks away while the cops wrote our citations) or the philosophical (constitutional, even) issues i have with this. I might regret this, because the second bureaucratic hoop will mess up some of my travel plans after tour, and i probably won't even be around to jump through the third, not to mention forth fifth and however many more there are. Tim took the path of least resistance, which is what brings us to the wonderfully ironic part of this chapter.

While Tim paid his citation, the cashier waxed nostalgic about times before this law was in place, how her family used to sleep on the beach on hot summer nights. "It's really too bad, we can't do that anymore. I guess things are just too crazy out there!" If i was a bit more quick-witted i would've said something along the lines of "yeah, things sure are crazy 'out there'. We were really taking a foolish risk, being in that park after dark, I mean, a man with a gun might have come and taken our money. I'm so glad you guys protected us from that craziness by... sending a man with a gun to take our money."

There it is you irony junkies.

1 comment:

Mary Dally-Muenzmaier said...

Thanks for the fix, man! Been jonesin' for some real irony for weeks now.

As to the missed opportunity of a quick-witted comeback, I have a running list, beginning from the time I took my first breath, of all the things I should've/could've said if only my brain weren't on fire.