It's not about the house.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

...All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away…

...a continuation from the post below...

After two wrong turns, we found it. Obery Street. Now, what number did that hand-sign say again? Ah well, it’s not like we’re not going to notice a courthouse when we see it, right?

Well, right, I mean, that must be it, but how do you get there? There’s a municipal garage, and a hospital, and the courthouse, and the registry of deeds, and the Sheriff’s Department horses stable (huh?) all in the same compound-area there, but no signs on the road to tell drivers which driveway goes to which. But they’re all in the same compound, right? So all driveways must somehow lead to one another, right?

Well, no. We visited the municipal garage, and then the hospital. We would have visited the horses but that driveway was made of dirt, and we were in a hurry. We almost visited the registry of deeds, but at the last minute I banged a right. Aha! Here we are, at the courthouse parking lot at last.

When we were going through security, I asked the guard standing at the x-ray checker just to be sure: “We’re in the right place, right? We’re looking for the County Criminal Clerk’s office?”

County? No,” says the guard. “What are you looking for, exactly?” So we told him, and he said oh, yes, yes, we could do that here. But he couldn’t tell us where, exactly. And he made me give him my bottle of water. Johnny’s workboots made the beeper beep and he didn’t have to take them off to check for shoe-bombs, but I had to throw my potentially-explosive Aquafina in the trash. Or actually, no, put it down on the floor next to the trash, where the guard told me to leave it, and he promised that it would still be there when I returned.

In his defense, he didn’t know how long this ordeal was about to last.

There is nothing at the courthouse trying to be helpful to you in any way. There isn’t even a sticky-outy sign on the wall above the bathroom. One big imposing wooden sign like at the mall – with lists and keys and layouts of each floor in the building – situated right at the bottom of the only central staircase. So if you don’t know what you’re looking for, and you have to stand there and stare at it a while, you’re in everybody’s way.

Sure enough, there wasn’t a listing for “County Criminal Clerk’s Office.” So we went to the first office that said “Clerk” anything on it. It would have been smart, for the sake of this story, if I had remembered to write it down so I could tell you what it was – but at this point in the story (three single-spaced pages in) I still didn’t realize there would be a story worth writing anything down for. Magisterial something, I think? Does that sound right?

Anyway, whatever it was, we went in there. One lady at the counter was very busily helping some other people who’d come in before us, but another lady behind her saw me and Johnny and came over. “Can I help you folks with something?” she said, and so we told her what we needed. “Oh, no, I can’t” she said, and sat back down. “You have to wait for her.” And indicated the very busy lady at the counter.

Um. Okay? So we sat down. After we sat down, this other couple came in and walked up to the counter, looking for the exact same thing. Little Miss “Oh-No-I-Can’t” helped them just fine.

A third lady popped up out of nowhere and asked us what we needed. We told her. She said if the cases were that old (this was like twelve years ago), they might be in the basement and she didn’t know if… No, no, I reassured her. I’d called. I’d spoken to somebody on the phone. This Somebody (again, it might have been a good idea to get a name) looked at Johnny’s file in the computer. The printout of the docket was all we’d need.

We think. We hope. We have no idea what it is we need, to be honest with you. But we called and we were told and so we’re here. Please help us.

She couldn’t find Johnny in her computer at all.

But we called! The lady I spoke to, she saw it! It’s in there, I swear to god! I don’t know who I spoke to, but I looked on the website for Plymouth Superior Court and I called the phone number that was on there, and—

Oh, Superior court? Superior court is upstairs.

to be continued, again...

1 comment:

PiHead said...

They hijacked my fork at the courthouse in Tucson when I had jury duty (and brought my lunch since I did not know how long I would be there). Apparently there is a high rate of people pretending to have jury duty, and mocking up a jury duty slip that matches their fake ID, so they can smuggle a fork into their gangbanger friends.
Thank you homeland security. I feel so safe in my homeland now.