Thursday, October 13, 2005

Free advice from a lawyer?? Wow.

Sooz gave me a ride to court on Monday morning. She decided she really needed to make a trip to TKMaxx in Woking, and since the courthouse was right nearby, well, why not go together? A little bit of shopping, a little bit of the criminal justice system.... just the thing for a dull Monday. Gosh, I have such nice friends. Where would I be without them?

In fact, my first reaction regarding this whole thing was, “I’m not telling anybody!” But that’s just not me. I mean, if you don’t tell anyone, you just have to go it alone, while at the same time you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. That is, someone who’s perfect, and who doesn’t make mistakes.

A friend of Mr. D's, from a long time ago, is a pilot. One of the expressions that Dave often used was from pilot school: “Climb, Confess, Communicate”. That is, if you make a mistake while flying, Climb (gain yourself some altitude, and thus some time), Confess (admit your mistake and get it out in the open so people can know how to help you), and Communicate (keep talking until you’ve sorted yourself out). I always thought that was a pretty good motto for life too. Although some days I can’t remember all three c’s... let’s see, climb, communicate, collide?........ uh, no... that’s not right.... hmmmm)

So I started telling some of my friends on Sunday, and knew that eventually I’d have to spill the beans to everybody, because, let’s face it, it’s such a great and stupid story, really. And for all of you, I hope, so flippin’ EDUCATIONAL. Here you are now, my pal, reading this. What will I go through to entertain you? And I really hope you learn something, too. That IS the ultimate point.

Anyway, Sooz was probably a little bit fascinated to be driving a criminal to court. Wouldn’t you be? Isn’t it interesting to be my friend??? (Don’t answer that please.)

We got to Woking at 8:45 am, and I trotted off to find those solicitors’ offices. Rang the bell at the first one, and explained my situation. “I was arrested on Friday night, I have to appear in court in 45 minutes, and I need a lawyer.” American brass, 8:55 am.

“What kind of offence?”


“We don’t do that kind of law. But they do next door. Try them.”

Ooooh-kay. Fifty percent of the options eliminated.

Rang the bell next door. I explained myself again (maybe I’ll just wear a sandwich board, or a scarlet “D/D”?) A woman invited me into her office.

“Here it is, then. It’s pretty cut and dried if you were over 35 but under 50 on the breath test. They’ll take away your license for a year, and fine you. You can ask to participate in a Drink/Drive Education course, which would reduce the license revocation by three months. Though of course, if you’re living now in South Africa you might not be able to complete that course. And ask for the duty solicitor when he comes in. He can give you more help if you need it.”

I thanked her profusely, and she said, “Well, we don’t usually give out free advice.... but it IS Monday morning....” And there is a God.

Off to the courthouse. I was first in line for the duty solicitor, but as I checked in at the front desk, my heart sank when the receptionist said, “You’re not on my list.”

Not on her LIST! Omigod! Not again! How could this be? I explained what had happened so far.

“Oh my, your file is probably over at Redhill today.”

Redhill? REDHILL? RED effin’ HILL!!???!!

Arggghhhh! I was starting to feel seriously hysterical, but managed to hold all the raw, soul-scorching screaming inside me. Honest, I’m surprised she couldn’t hear it herself (“excuse me, my dear, can you hear the wretched tormented cries of 187 damned souls, dancing over the hickory scented flames of some Louisiana bonfire? No? Bless you, you must be a good, truly God-fearing woman.....cuz what I’m hearing right now in my head is ... pretty much like what I just described.....My God, the screams.....”).... OK, la dee dah. Oooo, yes, I deal with this sort of thing every day, no problemo. Tra la la. Let’s get a grip here. My thoughts were just spinning around and round.

“Oh dear.” I tried to look calm.

“But don’t worry, we can probably get a copy of it. The police station is right next door.”

Well thank goodness for that. I thought about offering to walk over and pick it up myself but figured it was pointless. Although I could have had a little reunion with my new police buddies. They were so much fun.

“Just have a seat. The duty solicitor will call you in, after a while. And you’re first on my list for unscheduled appearances in court.”

So then I got to hang out and watch the show.

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