When I was in school – I can’t remember which grade, but it must have been 25 years ago – they scared us one day by taking us to court. We got to meet the judge in his chambers, and then we sat in the public gallery and watched a few trials.
I forget exactly what the charges were – maybe they spat on a sidewalk or didn’t return a shopping cart after they loaded their cars – but we sat stunned as we watched the underbelly of society stand before the law. Maybe they were trying to deter us from a life of crime, and I guess it worked. It was the eighties version of a reality show.
Today, I went to court. Nothing major; it was just traffic court. I was filing a motion to appeal my conviction, after allegedly failing to completely stop at a stop sign in 2004.
I never stepped in a courtroom today; that will have to wait another 18 months or so, long after the demerit points are stricken from my record. (What’s the use? I asked myself today.) But I’ve sure seen a different side of people.
People take a number, and wait for their turn. They go up to the window and, quite often, get agitated with the clerk on the other side of the glass. You could run a sociology class in that room.
I’m thinking of becoming a chaplain to the traffic court. Just throw on a collar and hang around, looking for people who are about to blow a blood vessel.
I’ve seen drivers hauled away in handcuffs. (I was called up next by the way. Lucky for me, I got off a bit easier.) I’ve seen people brought in by police in cuffs. I’ve seen young guys fined $15,000. I’ve seen old men who can barely walk try to communicate their anger in a second language. I’ve seen it all.
Chaplain to the traffic court. That just may be my next calling. I’ve heard of stranger vocations.