I had the good fortunte to recently get a "fix-it" ticket from the nice folks at the California Highway Patrol. Which means I had to undertake the always enjoyable task of visiting the Traffic division of the local Courthouse (Bellflower's to be exact). Normally this can be a patience taxing experience for some, so i decided to put together a quick little reference guide for those in a similar situation who want to get through the process as easy as possible.
1. Clear your calendar. Go ahead and take the whole day off work. Going to visit your family/friends/parol officer later for dinner? Cancel. They'll understand. Telling someone that you need to go interact with bureaucracy is like telling someone you had bad Mexican food for dinner. They know it's going to take all day, its going to be a mess and they don't want a lot of details.
2. Be prepared. Have a good breakfast, I went with oatmeal because its cool. If you're standing in line for possibly hours, the last thing you need is your breakfast coming coming back for revenge because you undercooked it by twenty seconds. You know what's never been said before? "aww man..that fucking oatmeal i had isn't agreeing with me." Because it never does, because its awesome. That's just science. If you're felling up to it, make sure you have all the paperwork and money you'll be needing. The notice they sent you will list it all.
3. While you're at it don't forget to take a shower. I know theres someone going around telling people that if you're just going out to do some errands for a little bit then it's ok to go in your pjs and unbathed. I know this person exists because I see you hippies at Target following his ill-conceived advice all the time. That guy is an asshole and a liar. Clean yourself up, dammit. Women; wear a bra. Men; put on a clean t-shirt. Both; wear shoes. Please, you're interacting with other human beings with a multitude of senses you can offend. Just because you can't see the stink lines like Pigpen from Charlie Brown, doesn't meant they're not there.
4. Don't go during lunch. I know you were thinking earlier; Sven you're crazy, I don't need to take the day off, I can just go take care of it during my lunch. Let me fill you in on something; everyone thinks that. Including the people that work behind the counter; half of which disappear at 12pm on the nose. I arrived at 11:15am, there was 15 people in line in front of me. when I left at 12:45 there was 20 people behind me. Your lunch break isn't that long.
5. You're going to pass through a metal detector. Take that into consideration on your way in. Stop and think about all the metal on you; change, keys, jewelry, belts, knives. Make sure it's something you need before you head in. I know your Pocket Knife/Leatherman's blade is "street legal" in length, but go ahead and assume the cop isn't going to let you in with it. Regardless of how many times you say "come on!" or explain how you just bring it everywhere out of habit. As a guy I know we all have one and like to take it with us "just in case". But are you really planning on doing some light masonry work in the hallway while in line? Leave it in the car.
6. Scope things out. Is there a woman in line with a trapper keeper full of paperwork, and a look on her face that says she has all the time in the world today, mother fucker, we're getting this straightened out? Yeah, go ahead and kill yourself.
7. Don't be a smart ass. While you're there it may be fun to repeat back everything the person at the counter tells you as a question followed by an expletive but that doesn't help (ie "I need to get in another line and get this signed and then come back to this line? That's some bullshit, why don't you just do it all right here?"). While that is indeed some bullshit, said bullshit just got real. You will never win a logic argument with bureaucracy. Deal with it.
8. To the guys. There will be one cute girl in line. While you may feel that it is your god give duty - your manifest destiny if you will - to try and hit that, you will fail. Because she's not interesting in meeting anyone in line at a courthouse. The soul crushing atmosphere of the uninspired building design, the nonexistent decor, mixed with the vibe of the thousands of people that walk through the doors everyday none of which wanting to be there -employee and visitor alike- is sort of a mood killer. That's why she's having a pretend phone call, doing a crossword puzzle and not looking you in the eye while you try to chat her up. In normal circumstances it might be funny to watch you crash and burn, but here listening to your failed pick up lines just adds to the torture. Shhhhh. Just shhhhhh.
9. To the girls. Go ahead and bring a crossword puzzle, your phone and your best thousand yard stare. That guy I was talking about in number 8, never listens.
10. To the cute girl in line. Hi, my name is Sven. I'm a Leo. I don't like talking about cars and/or sports. STD free. I'm handy around the house. And I make blogger money. Think about it.
11. Be graceful. After you're finally done, it might be cathartic to do some sort of game winning touchdown end-zone dance and then give the middle finger to the line, the people behind the desk, the building, and life in general but keep in mind security officers are liberal with tazers these days.
That's all I got. Just a few lessons I learned during my recent trip. I hope yours goes better than mine.
I like Rutger Hauer. He's always been my Dennis Hopper, if that makes any sense. A great actor that never really gets his due, and is more than likely a bit off kilter when compared to mainstream actors.
The first movie that I really remember him in is Blind Fury - where he plays A BLIND SWORDSMAN. Which I cant even really put into words about what is wrong, and yet so right about that. I know, I know, he was Roy in Blade Runner. Ooooooo..... But you know what? I've never seen that movie. Fuck you sci-fi fanboys. I tried watching it once and it nearly put me to sleep.
There I've said it.
Anyway, Rutger Hauer is a bad ass. He's played a lot of different parts over the years, but as I skim through my mental Rolodex of his work I find I can sum up all his movies pretty concisely;
You just fucked with the wrong...
Which is all good in my book. We don't see a lot of that these days. At least not from people that can actually, you know, act. I like my crazy sauce with a side of brilliance, thank you.
They are the type of movies I thought I wasn't ever going to see again until I was sent a link just a few days ago.
That insane brilliance now proudly bring us; you just fucked with the wrong Hobo with a Shotgun!
Although, now that I think about it, all hobos with shotguns qualify as the ones you don't want to fuck with.