Monday, February 04, 2008


Hell is... Philadelphia traffic court.

The highlights:
  • Waiting in an unending line outside in the rain and the cold. When a frightened-looking young man approached a police officer and asked what he needed to do, the cop told him to move to the back of the line. As he made his way, another man came out of nowhere, perhaps a court employee, and shouted, "Yeah, move to the back of the line! What the fuck do you think this is?" Giddy with power, these traffic court overlords.

  • When I finally made it through security, past a handwritten sign that read "No food, no drinks, and no weapons allowed inside court" I was shuffled into one of five courtrooms. And then I waited. And waited. Finally an officer arrived and began grabbing files and calling out names, at which point he asked defendants how they wished to plead or offered a plea bargain, which, bless his heart. (No points for HV!) Still, once he barked at a tiny Asian woman: "I don't care how they do it in Singapore!" Oh, Phila "order in English" delphia. Brotherly love, indeed.

  • At the culmination of an amazing morning, the judge appeared. He had only this to say to the moving violators: "Let me tell you that when you have a warrant now, they will come and get you out of your house in your PJs! It ain't sweet here no more!" Um, thank you, your honor.

  • As God as my witness, I will never hit the gas at a yellow light again. You win, Philadelphia Traffic Court. You win.

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