Thursday, October 13, 2005

See you in court!

Oh no! Oh Lord! I’m representing mySELF! This is TERRIBLE! I can’t represent MYSELF! Why didn’t I watch more Perry Mason? Or even Rumpole of the Bailey? Or Inspector Morse! Anything! Man, I’m really in the shite now. Panic set in.

“We understand you were arrested for a drink/drive offense, and because you are flying out of the country on Monday, the Woking police sent you over here this morning. However, they really shouldn’t have done that, so we will have to have you appear in court in Woking on Monday morning. What kind of a license do you have?”

What kind of a license? What kind of a license?? I was representing myself! O God! What kind? What KIND? My mind froze. What kind WAS it? Provisional? No. Learner’s? No. Permanent? God, I couldn’t think.

“Uh, a real one?” I answered. “It’s pink.”

The magistrate rolled his eyes. “No, no, NOOOOO! Is it a BRITISH license?”

“Oh, yes, sir, definitely yes. I just got it in June.” Sad, that. (Especially when my poor long-suffering driving instructor finds out.)

“Well, fine. Just make sure that when you show up in court on Monday, you bring both parts of your license: the photocard, and the paper counterpart license as well.”

I grimaced. This was going to irritate him some more.

“Yessssss?”, he hissed.

“Sir, my counterpart licence is in a container, sailing over the sea with all my other household goods, to South Africa. I’m afraid I didn’t forsee needing it in the interim.”

“Never mind. They can look up your record with the DVLA on Monday. You’ll need to mail the counterpart in later. Because you’ve shown good faith in showing up here today, the court releases you now, to appear in court in Woking on Monday October 10, at 9:45 am. Your case is adjourned until then.”

The usher smiled at me reassuringly, took my arm, and escorted me out of the courtroom.

Great! Free! And I’d have my license for the rest of the weekend anyway, which was convenient. So I walked back to the train station, caught the Gatwick Express back toward Wokingham, fell deeply, deeply, deeply asleep on the train (first time in three months!), jumped out at Guildford when they announced “Transfer here for Ascot”, left my favorite black sweater on the train (did manage to bring the pink coat), found that the train I’d chosen to transfer to had been cancelled (typical Southwest Trains... ), caught the next Gatwick Express, all over again, to Wokingham, and then got the local back to Ascot, and back to Sooz’s. What a trip. What stinking bad luck. And all for nothing.

At Sooz’s, I ripped the kitchen apart, looking for the yellow pages, to try to find a lawyer. Since now I figured one might be handy. However, the only phone book that turned up was for Slough, which was going to be no help in Woking on Monday morning. Looked online finally, and found two lawyers in Woking, right near Woking Magistrates’ Court. Walking distance. Do you think they planned it that way, for all of us license-losers?

I spent the rest of the weekend trying not to worry, and canceling my appointments for Monday (sorry Mike! sorry Ronalee!). I did have a super time with Aphrodite; we shared Sunday breakfast with family friends, and spent Sunday evening with more of my favorite people at another dinner party. No drinks this time, at all. Somehow that would have seemed ... a bit... stupid. And overall, I tried to really savor my last day of driving on English roads for at least a year.

One more night’s sleep... and then,tomorrow.... Woking Magistrates’ Court.

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