I knew it was going to be a bad day.
Y'all, I had such a nice weekend with El Dukay. We spent the
first night ever in my new house; we exchanged lovely
Valentine's gifts; we drank about sixteen bottles of wine each.
But all of that was over this morning.
Because when I woke up this morning, I already had a song
stuck in my head. And it was “My Prerogative” by Bobby
On a normal day, this would be bad. But on a day when you
have to face the long arm of justice by going to traffic court in
Fulton County, Georgia, you don’t want to be singing anything
that has anything to do with Bobby Brown. Bobby Brown is
always getting arrested in Fulton county, and then doing zany
things like repeatedly not showing up for his court dates. So
Bobby Brown has very few friends in the Fulton County Court
So this was an inauspicious start to my day (inauspicious
means “way bad”). So I got dressed, still singing the
inauspicious, “Why don’t you just let me live? TELL ME
WHYYY-YYY.” And I got in my car. And then I drove halfway
to fucking Roswell, which was also inauspicious, because it is
very, very far from where I live and work, and which is not
usually expected of me on a Monday morning.
But it’s funny that I’m writing this like the whole ordeal already
happened. It hasn’t. No. I am actually sitting in the courtroom
right now, waiting for traffic court to begin. I’m writing this entry
on a yellow legal pad I brought. To look legal, I guess. So, did
you get that? I am writing this entry. By hand. Using a pen.
Like an Amish person or something. This is very strange to
me. (And yes. I realize that this essay is now typed. I am now
typing up my legal pad notes. Right now, I am. Because don’t
you want to read them? It’s all for you!)
Anyway. I was going to bring some work or something, but like
an idiot, I forgot it on my desk. Or maybe I sort of meant to do
that. At any rate, no work for me. Too bad, work.
I’m kind of nervous, actually. I don’t like getting in trouble. But
I did. Want to know what I did? Want to know about the law(s)
I broke? Yes, you do.
Okay. The Monday before Christmas, I was going to work like
a good taxpayer. And it was the last day I was working before I
went on vacation, so I was a happy good taxpayer. I go to
work using back roads, and I’ve only traveled on these back
roads every single day since I started my employment, being
the responsible citizen of the state of Georgia that I am. So I
know these damn roads. I know the twists and turns. And I
know the fucking stop signs.
But what I didn’t know was that, on this morning, danger lurked
in the shadows, concealed behind an overgrown hedge.
Danger, in the form of a terrifying looking female cop, named
Xawanda. (I have changed one letter of her name to conceal
her identity. Guess which letter it was?) Xawanda was
waiting, her steel sunglasses perched before her soulless
eyes, the sun gleaming off of her buzz-cut hair. And she was
waiting for me.
And here I come, la la la. Singing Christmas carols and
sipping my coffee, just a happy taxpayer going to work so that I
can make my contribution to society and also my generous
annual contribution to the police officer’s fund. I didn’t have a
care in the world. I got to the stop sign; I stopped at the stop
sign. And then I went on. But like a killer shark, Xawanda
pulled out from her hiding space. She had found her prey.
And she followed me. Silently – stealthily.
Now, here is where things get...bad. I’m still singing. Sipping
coffee. Doing a little “Whoo, It’s Almost Christmas and I’m Nine”
butt dance in my seat. And so I didn’t...y'all, I didn’t actually
see Xawanda behind me. Or her blue lights. I just...kept
going. Past other cars. A man going the other way flashed his
lights at me and did something with his hands. I waved.
“Merry Christmas!” I called. La la la.
It wasn’t until I had traveled THREE MORE MILES that I finally
noticed the blue lights. Behind me.
Hmm, I said. She must want to get around. I sure didn’t do
So I pull over to the side of the road to let her pass. But she
didn’t pass. She stopped behind me.
Hmm, I said again. I wonder if something’s wrong with my car?
Well, no. Xawanda got out of her car, and strode over to me.
“Ma’am,” she said. It is bad when they call you ma’am. “Ma’
am, do you have any idea how long I’ve been behind you?”
I just stared at her. As if I didn’t understand English. Blee bloo
blah behind. What?
“I have been behind you,” Xawanda continued, “For. Three.
Okay, here is where I lost it.
“Holy shit!” I said. “You have?!” Then I realized I just said a
dirty word to a cop.
“Yes.” said Xawanda.
“Holy shit!” I said again.
It occurred to me that I was at the mercy of Xawanda. She
could take me to prison, if she really wanted to. So I had
better be super nice and polite and wonderful to Xawanda. I
had better start sucking up. That second.
“Holy shit!” I said.
Xawanda, fortunately, saw the stark terror in my eyes (which
were, for the record, the same size as dinner plates), and
deduced that I hadn’t known she was behind me, and had not
intentionally evaded her attempts to pull me over. So she let it
drop. But then (and, by the way. People, shouldn’t she have
turned on her siren? Isn’t that what sirens are for?), she told
me that I ran the stop sign.
No I didn’t, I said in my mind.
“???” I said from my mouth.
I’ve never run a stop sign in my damn life, I said in my mind.
“Eep,” said my mouth.
Y’all, finding out I had inadvertently led this officer on a low-
speed OJ style police chase through the neighborhoods of
Buckhead had me all discombobulated (discombobulated
means “freaked the hell out”). Fortunately, I did manage to
pull it together. A little.
(Uh oh. I have to stop the story now for a second. Y’all, I am
sitting in a room with about eleventy-four pews, most of which
are still empty. So why is it that this guy just came over and
sat down right by me? Like, almost on top of me? There are
plenty of places to sit that are not my lap. Go away! Shoo!
And, ew. He smells bad, too. Go! Y’all, someone come get
me out of here. Maybe if I continue furiously writing he will not
talk to me? So back to the story.)
Anyway. After some discussion with Xawanda, it was
determined that she felt I had come to a “rolling stop.” This is
a kind of stop where you don’t stop entirely. You roll through
the intersection. Or, in my case, where you STOP but
apparently do not stay stopped long enough to please Her
Shorn Highness Xawanda, Queen of Not Using Her Siren and
Ruler Of A World Where Stopping Fully Means Staying In
Place Until You Die Of Old Age.
Anyway. Xawanda wrote me a ticket for failure to stop. So
here I am. In a courtroom. With a smelly guy in my lap.
Okay, things are about to get going here. I’ll write more when I’
(These dots mean time has passed.)
Aaaaand we’re done. That was...pointless. And alphabetical,
and my last name is waaay down there. I mean, I’m not a Y,
but I’m close. So I just sat there for an hour, being breathed
on by the general population. And then I pled no lo. No
excitement at all, I’m afraid.
The only highlight, actually, was the American Idol reject in the
hallway on my way to pay the clerk my $65. This guy was in
line behind me, and had headphones on, and was operating
under that delusion that if he can’t hear us, then obviously, we
cannot hear him. So he was kind enough to treat the entire
line to his delightfully off-key rendition of “Bump and Grind.”
Loudly. I thought about joining him with “It’s the way that I
want to LIVE,” but thought better of it.
And then when I left? I went out of the driveway marked
“Entrance Only.” With about a dozen cops watching.
Including...Xawanda, who was kind enough to show up for my
big day in court. No one pulled me over, but one of the cops
honked at me. Nice. Beautiful. Apparently, I learned my
lesson about traffic safety, and it lasted for about sixteen
But screw that. Xawanda isn’t the boss of me. I'll go out the
entrance! I'll run stop signs! I’ll do what I want to do!
Because dammit, y’all...it’s my prerogative.