Saturday, April 07, 2007

Courting rituals

Of the many different ways of experiencing the US, I had the misfortune of indulging its judiciary. To those of you who may be secretly unleashing toothy smiles picturing me at the gaols, I'm sorry to say that nothing quite as interesting happened. I did not get jailed, & outside of my careless yawning while I was being made to promise something I did not want to promise, you can call the whole thing fairly innocuous. Even boring.

It all started on February 18th. We were driving to DC & a green light turned yellow - as they often do when you're about to miss a bus or train. While some people, sometimes labeled "normal", may experience an urge to slow down, I had the exact opposite exhortation. I sped & got to the intersection just after the light had turned red. Which was all fine for people around here are incredibly nice. However, there was one slight glitch. Or, a cop.

The officer chased me down & had me cornered, thanks to some prudence of my own - though kind of late -, before the next signal. He checked my India Driving license, & not my passport. He listened to what i had to say, including my precise narration of the Virginia law which allows me to drive for six month's without a local license - provided I have my home country license. He disappeared for what felt like a decade. Presently, in the next decade, he surfaced with a ticket for violating a steady red light. All according to plan, you may think. And you'll be wrong. Again.

He then produced a second ticket, just as I was about to roll the window up & drive away. This one, he said, was for driving without license. Or a local license. My encore performance of State Driving law rendition seemed to have fallen on deaf ears or, at the very least, ears that do not listen very well. However, as a gesture of whatever he thought it was a gesture of, he told me that the judge will probably let me go if I did get a local license before my court hearing. Nice as ever, he did wish me a good night & a safe drive home.

Exactly how I went about procuring my local license, a story in itself, is another story. In summary, as I drove to the court today, I had my local license, my India license, my visa papers, & probably my marriage certificate as well. It was easy enough getting there, & after little searching I was seated in the courtroom awaiting the Justice.

I soon learnt that Justice was on his way & goes by the name "Buttery"! Well, if there is one name a Judge should not have, it is buttery. I mean, imagine the ordeal. Can Buttery be greased, etc? Well, there I was musing on these funny lines when he called my name - rather well, mind you -, & I was facing him trying to not laugh or some such thing.

Well, it turned out that Justice Buttery was an incredibly nice chap; he ignored my yawning, & kept me there for precisely 5 minutes. The case was over before it had begun. I was found "Not Guilty"

And what better way to celebrate than to say a boo to another yellow light on the way back. Only this time, it hadn't turned red.


Antara Mukherji said...

funny, finally something in my realm of liking!

Usha said...

well, look at it this way. How many of us get a chance to be inside a courtroom and actulally be party to a case on a trip to a foreign country.
Although we have seen it in great detail in the films, was it like that in reality?
I wonder what thoughts were going in the judge's mind when he saw your name? was he smiling too?

S! said...

Thanks, A.


I did look at it that exact way. But the Judge was not smiling. He was solemn but courteous.