Friday, April 18, 2008

Officer Postlewait

I should have thanked him. I should have thanked him, but I turned my back to him and walked away. Just as the two people before me did, and just as the people after me would do -the people who were now shuffling into the room with shame in their faces and defiance in their backs. We plead and wine, just as everyone before has done since the first cinder block was layed in the foundation of this courtroom, hoping his "honor" will scrape a few tens off our ticket.

I stood. "Yes?" I thought I had a deep voice, where did that come from?
"Please have a seat."
I sat. His honor mumbled through the customary formalities.
"Do you have any witnesses?"
"No." I glanced at the officer. He gave a short nod of his head, eyes downcast. He was fingering the edges of his papers. Nervous?
He spoke, "... conditions were dry and sunny... A silver model of Jeep that I later found out to be a Liberty"
Yep, that's me.
" laser clocked her at 75 mph... when I asked her if she knew how fast she was going, she stated 75 mph"
Yep, that's me.

His papers fluttered again.
His honor looked at me. "Do you have any questions?"
If there was an audible clock, it would have ticked.
"No your honor." Officer Postlewait looked at me. His honor looked at me.
"Do you have anything you would like to say?"
"Uh, yes, your honor." Another tick or tock. "As the officer stated," Did that sound professional? "the conditions were dry and sunny." They both nodded.
"I understand that I was going too fast, however, the conditions were safe, and I was aware of traffic, and keeping clear of other vehicles." "I was driving what I considered reasonable for the conditions." Ooh. Should have left that one out.
"The speed limit is 55 mph..."
"The flow of traffic..." Losing battle.
"...would you like to pay today or later?"
"Today, sir... your honor."
I glanced again at the officer, he hadn't moved. I closed the door behind me.

I forgot all about my ravings over it being "unfair" that he had given a "first time offender" a full-blown speeding ticket, and on such a sunny day too. I left out the part about him hiding behind a bridge, with his laser pointed at oncoming traffic, setting all of us sunny-day-drive-enjoyers up for failure. Because I saw that he wasn't that type of officer. (Not that I didn't deserve that ticket, even if he was that type.)

He wasn't the type of officer who enjoyed having his integrity put on the block and whipped again and again and again... by people who were colored by their guilt. There was no power-trip going on inside the courtroom that day. He was the type of officer who endured our montage so that we could walk out of the courtroom, climb into our vehicles and drive home... and arrive home -with our limbs still entact, our skin still covering our body, and our brain matter safely inside our skull.

So, I didn't say it then, but I say it now:

Thank you, Officer Postlewait.


Anonymous said...

just how much was that ticket? a good story, in the tradition of "honest words man" but it had more meaning because it really happened. In my opinion. -D

J said...

Thanks... maybe that's because you know me. :)
The judge had pity on me and bumped it down to $110. But as I left, his eyes made little holes in me and he said, "Girl, slow down."
Ah, yeah, thanks, I believe I have. :)