Monday, February 25, 2008

Not Guilty.

Me: I was reaching under the seat belt to adjust my collar. I actually was wearing it. You just couldn't tell.

Officer Chehaitli: If you were on my side of this, how crazy a story would that seem to you?

Except the thing is I was wearing my seat belt, which is not always the case, which makes this even more galling, and no legal official is going to believe a word of this, even though it is the truth, and I don't know why I was reaching under instead of over and thus obscuring Officer Chehaitli's view of my belted seat belt, and I freely admit that it makes no real sense, except that it is true, true, true, and while he was writing the ticket I was writing down all the particulars, i.e., street location and time of day and weather, yes, weather, which was sunny, beautiful, edging up into the sixties and the last of a fog burning off and the light all full of morning half-spring semi-holy near-green, like the green of all these bulbs now coming up was somehow itself beginning to leak into the light, and Officer Chehaitli walked back up and peered down at my notebook and said, What's that, and I said, I'm writing everything down so I can make my case to the judge, which was even then seeming even less and less plausible, and he smiled a smile which led me to believe that I was a pretty significant source of legal amusement to him, and he said, Now when you go into that courtroom, don't you lie, and then I lost my temper a little and had him apologize to me for that, which he did, and he then gave unto me a phone number, which is 336-883-6155, and to which person on the other end of the line I can continue my complaint, which is that I in fact was wearing my seat belt, I was, I was, I was, and that the injustice of this moment is in fact unparalleled in the history of jurisprudence if not in the long sweeping history of all of time and man's place in it, and the only thing that makes any of this OK at all is that the fog this morning through which the sun was shot was the leftover part and parcel of yesterday's rain, which was nearly perfect, another tenth, one more tiny stone laid against the drought, which keeps coming, keeps coming, and my goddamn novel is somewhere in New York City, being actually read by an actual person, and this is like nothing more, finally, than riding fairly peacefully and completely law-abidingly along on a very late winter morning and suddenly having a certified officer of the law flick on his lights and siren and ask you to pull over, pull over, because he's got something he just might like to say to you about the collar of your ancient flannel shirt and the seat-beltedness of your seat belt, and you know right from the start that even though what you have to say is true, there is every possibility in the world that none of it, none of it, will matter.