What Susie Wrote on My Blog

Susie said: I avoid these intimate interactions, second-guess everything I do, and am thin skinned and extremely private. I like live groups (once upon a time, before Internet, all groups were live, remember?) so that I can socialize without giving of myself. It all stays nice and superficial--er, easy--that way. And if I reveal too much, I disappear. Forever.

Friday, June 30, 2006

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 3) -- Monday, March 20, 2006

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 3)

Now I'm really panicked. I pace, unable to think. I need somebody smart, somebody strong. I collapse into my corner and dial my husband.

"They're not going to let me go to jail."
"Well ask for Defensive Driving then."
"They say they're not set up for that."
"What's all that noise?"
"A guy's in there trying to argue his case. They're mean!"
"Well what will they offer you?"
"Nothing. I'm telling you, they're mean. They want blood."
"Well try."
"They're not gonna budge! It's just a little rinky-dink town, and this is how they make their money."

Footsteps approach. I straighten and turn to face them, re-assuming an aura of calm and control.

It's the chef. With a smug grin, he gloats, "I did it! I got off!" and waves his poster in victory as he saunters past me and out the door.

I'm shocked, flabbergasted. Whaaaaaaat??? And I missed it? How did--??? My stomach knots. I feel the last hope for my $200 ebbing away. What else is there left for me now but certain public humiliation?

"Sugar! Sugar! What's going on?"
"The guy just got off!"
"How'd he do it?"
"I don't know. I missed it. Darn!"
"Ask them to reduce your fine. Tell them you drove a long way and spent a lot of money in gas."
"Ok-a-a-a-a-a-y," I whimper. "But I don't know...."
"Just ask."

As I span the hallway to the court, I do a quick gearshift. I decide to drop the calm forcefulness and adopt a softer demeanor: It's time to suck up.

When I return to my seat, Ol' Steely Face looks somehow kinder and more humane--concilliatory, even.

"Mrs. Chan, have you decided what you want to do?"

"Your Honor, in Houston [emphasis here that these small hick towns should really be more progressive and swing with the big boys] we who violate infrequently [emphasis here on my upstanding community status and good citizenship] are offerd alternatives to fines, such as Defensive Driving or deferred ajudication, so that our records are not blemished and our insurance rates are not raised."

"We take care of that, too. After you pay your fine, we wipe your record clean, and we don't report your violation."

"But Your Honor, if I had known that I had no choice but to pay this ticket, I would not have spent the time and gas to come--I would have merely mailed in my money. But I called your secretary [here I turn to the 78-ish woman, who perks up and widens her eyes, sabotaged], and she told me to come talk to the judge. And now I've spent three hours and $50 in gas to come and talk to you."

"But I told her we didn't have a jail!" the city secretary wails.

"Yes," I address her, "but then you said if I were to go to jail, I could only go to the county jail, and to come talk to the judge. And I wouldn't have gone to all this expense to come here had you informed me that the option of jail was not available to me. Your Honor, I think my ticket should be reduced to compensate me for my gas spent."

"'Well, I see here that your ticket has been incorrectly set at $199. It should be only $192. How about if we reduce it by $64 to make it $128? Is that fair and agreeable with you?"

Is it! But wait! I have one last, degrading recourse: to beg.

"Your Honor, my husband has had numerous hospital stays culminating ultimately in open-heart surgery. Our medical bills are extensive [I want to say staggering , but that might be overkill] ."

"So we will allow you to pay in two monthly installments of $64 each. Is that fair and agreeable with you?"

Now, if I could think under duress, I would push for more. I would point out that the total drive to attend court would amount to six hours, an entire workday for a substitue teacher. But just about now I'm breaking down. The strain of play-acting the intelligent-upstanding-self-assured-woman-turned-groveler has worn me out. And too, the mayor's bad-cop/good-cop turnaround has thrown me off-kilter. I just want to get out of here before I crack up totally and start blubbering.

"Your Honor, that's very fair. Thank you."

On the drive home, I do a lot of thinking. I conclude that the chef won his case through positive thinking and thorough preparation. I vow never again to discourage others in their fight to win or to excel or to succeed; and to become more positive, enthusiastic, and thorough myself because


Go back to Part I

Go Back to Part II

All of Susie's writing

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan


  • At 6/30/2006 03:24:00 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    At Mon Mar 20, 12:03:46 PM CST, Anonymous said...
    Sooooo..... is there a part 4???

    At Mon Mar 20, 02:14:36 PM CST, Anonymous said...
    Too late I already read the -now obviously- unedited part 3... Was I responsible for making you reconsider your ending??? spell check???
    You're one funny chick...

    At Mon Mar 20, 02:46:39 PM CST, Susie Hovendick Chan said...
    You can't see how your blog looks in that tiny "create" window. Once you post it, mistakes and awkward wording glare at you.

    All right, Dad. Give it up. I know that's you baiting me.

    At Mon Mar 20, 03:04:20 PM CST, Mitch said...
    sis, you never mentioned the juice, did you come with a 2-3 week supply in case they threw you in right away? Would you have shared with the other inmates? What about your walking routine - if they kept you in your cell for the whole day would you have done push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups etc like Sylvestor Stalone and come out all beefed up?

    At Mon Mar 20, 03:33:22 PM CST, curious servant said...
    = )

    At Mon Mar 20, 03:34:28 PM CST, Susie Hovendick Chan said...
    My (unnamed relative) said the only bad thing about jails is that they're really dirty. I think I would have sat as still as possible so as not to mess up my suit.

    I would have shared my juice and made friends so nobody would beat me up. I'm not sure a person could get very hungry in a dirty place like jail anyway.

    At Mon Mar 20, 03:47:11 PM CST, Mitch said...
    mess up your suit?

    I do not think you would be wearing your nice suit while in the slammer, probably something in the order of stripes.

    OK, for tommorow another adventure?

    I posted your rolling up the windows of you car, sticking the hose in and filling it up with water to "clean" it, but had to delete my blogs for other reasons. Another story for more insight into what's going on up there (in your head, that is)?

    just having some fun with you, we have to take advantage of things while the cat (Dad) is away.

    At Mon Mar 20, 04:01:40 PM CST, Susie Hovendick Chan said...
    You weren't home when that incident occurred. Your brother fed you misinformation. I wish it really did happen that way, though. Then I would have had a funny story to write about.

    At Mon Mar 20, 04:05:46 PM CST, Susie Hovendick Chan said...
    Hey Dad? How do I harrassing comments?

    At Mon Mar 20, 06:28:21 PM CST, Anonymous said...
    I am not your daddy... but i am watching you

    At Mon Mar 20, 07:08:08 PM CST, Cliff Morrow said...
    Is there a chance that irrepairable damage will be done to Dad's blog before he gets back?? Great story.

    At Tue Mar 21, 06:33:20 PM CST, Rachel said...
    Well I was hoping you would get out of paying the fine altogether!

    What a pain! Thanks for the story!

    Hi Jim!!!


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