Tag Archives: law

i fought the law and the law won

last friday i went to fight a baltimore city parking ticket. one of many i have racked up over the years. why? b/c when i/we get home after dark i refuse to risk life and limb by parking in a legal spot five blocks away and walking back to our house. i swear, most of the “illegal” spots are just marked “no parking” simply to make money for the city. you city ppl know exactly what i’m talking about. it’s not just baltimore.

well i guess i’d had it a couple months ago. i was slapped with yet another $27 ticket and announced to holly that i was going to fight it.

“babe,” i stated (loudly, as always), holding the damn thing up (more like waving it hysterically). “until this city is safe enough for a woman to walk around at night, i will keep parking in spaces that will keep me from getting killed. or at least mugged.”

she nodded and added a “hell’s yeah.”

it’s the principle of it all, i said. and so i went online and marked that i’d fight the damn thing.

first the city sent me a letter saying they got my request for trial and that i’d be receiving a court date. then i got another letter saying they were about to send me my court date. then, two days later, i got yet another letter announcing my doggone court date. (why is it necessary to waste both paper and money sending letters to say your going to send more letters?! good to know our tax money is funding that. and killing trees.)

anyway, last friday was the hearing. i had to make a special trip back for it b/c i was visiting my family in philly having a blast. so that annoyed me. before i even went to the hearing, i knew it was a stupid decision to fight it. i felt like just paying the damn thing. but no. it was too late. and i knew i was going to lose as soon as i walked in the damn courthouse.

first of all, my car read 118 degrees when i got in it to leave for the trial. when i got to the courtroom, everyone was standing outside of it waiting to get in. apparently, most of the ppl there don’t use dial. or don’t shower. i was like, people! have you even heard of deodorant?! it’s 2010! i thought i might pass out from the smell. it was that bad.

when we were finally herded into the courtroom, we all sat in these pew-like seats that reminded me of synagogue. we stood for the judge, who took her sweet old time coming out. then we all had to sit thru everyone’s “not guilty” pleas. i was dreading my turn. it was like judge judy. except worse b/c i wasn’t watching it on tv, it wasn’t funny and i actually had to participate.

“jessica…leshnif? leshniv? leshnikoff?”

LESHNOFF! fer cryin out loud, lady! two syllables! LESH. NOFF. leshnoff!

i walked up and went up to the stand and swore i’d tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me etc. i pleaded not guilty even tho i knew i was guilty of parking in a spot marked “no parking.”

“is there anything you’d like to tell me?” she said. (she said this to everyone.)

i wanted to tell her that this was all B.S. and i should get the ticket revoked simply b/c i did not smell bad.

“your honor,” i said in a shaky voice, suddenly feeling extremely dorky and uncomfortable, not to mention hot (not howyoudoin hot; hothot, as in: overheating)  in my skinny (but dressy) jeans. “this is the manifestation of a larger, ongoing problem.”

then i promptly forgot everything i wanted to say and babbled something about “as a woman, you understand the need to feel safe at night” and so on and so forth. she, of course, cut me off.

“i’ll drop $22 of the fine,” she said, and bam! went the gavel and then they handed me a printout, saying i needed to go to the cashier. i felt like i won in a way, even tho all my nosehairs had been burned out by the surly courtroom crowd’s b.o.

when i got out into the hallway i examined the paper. if i only had $5 left to pay (a  $27 ticket minus $22) then WHY did it say i had to pay $27.50? MORE than the ticket itself? i figured there had to be some kind of mistake.

“court costs,” the cashier explained. “this judge is known for them.”

so there i was. wasting time and gas and nice girl time with my mom in philly, not to mention time with my partner on a friday afternoon at home (and we had weekend out-of-town guests arriving in just a couple hours to prepare for), and i owed more than the ticket?!!

“you have got to be kidding me,” i told the cashier.

she sighed in agreement while i wrote the city a check.

that clash song, “i fought the law and the law one” kept playing in my head as i drove home. they will get you one way or another with these damn parking tickets. my advice is to pay the damn things. before they triple the original fine and then you’re left wondering if every cop on the street has a warrant out for your arrest. not that that’s ever happened to me. i’m just saying.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter



saturday morning we were awoken by an obnoxious succession of doorbell rings followed by heavy pounding on our door. when i say “morning” i mean before 7 a.m., like 6:50 a.m.  and by “obnoxious” i mean effing awful and rude. i want to note that holly and i were in an exceedingly pleasant deep sleep until this point.

we were like, “what THE?!!”

as holly put on her slippers and ran downstairs, i lifted our shade and peered down, expecting to see a ups or fedex truck and wanting to yell down something about being a mothereffin persistent deliveryman. instead i saw a burly dude with glasses and a ballcap staring up at me. he had a red car with its blinkers on parked in the middle of the street behind him. i got a bad feeling and suddenly wanted to open the window and throw my pointiest shoes at his dumbass face looking up at me.

a few moments later, i hear our door beep open (our alarm system; we’ve got the place wired up like fort knox) and a man’s deep voice says, “are you holly [lastname].” i started running downstairs, my hair poofed out (didn’t straighten it yet), pajama pants blowin in the wind, “holly! noooooooooooo!!!!”

we were getting served.

all those unpaid dc parking tickets holly got when she used to stay over at my apartment in adams-morgan had finally come back to haunt us. he was going to arrest her. this was it. did i mention my cousin was visiting *for the very first time* from philly and was sleeping in the guest room??? i was like, great. great introduction to our calm home life.

“please sign here.”

as i arrived downstairs, i saw her take hold of a clipboard and a pen that this a-hole pushed thru the practically shut door.

“holly, noooooooooooo! DON’T SIGN THAT!”

she told me to simmer down, and shut the door in the guy’s face. the idiot knocked and she cracked open the door.

“hey, it’s raining out here!” he said, (total pansyass).

“i don’t know you,” holly said. “you’re going to have to wait out there while i read this.”

then she shut the door in his face. good girl.

my hands and feet were ice cold. what the hell was all this??!! we flipped thru the papers and finally found what we were looking for. an electrician, this effing awful electrician we fired back when we were renovating our once-crackhouse, was sueing us. we had a courtdate.

i breathed a huge sigh of relief. so she wasn’t getting arrested. my baby wasn’t going to jail. we’re only being sued. thank G-d.


hey, i know what you’re thinking right now. but let me tell you: when enough crappy stuff has happens to you, you really and truly start looking at the bright side.

so yeah. a little background here. we bought a boarded up rowhouse about three years ago. it was pretty much a drughouse. so we demo’ed the whole thing, down to the original bricks and joists. holly designed the inside and hired all the subcontractors to rebuild it from the inside out. the electrician we hired was pretty terrible. he didn’t show up to do the work most of the time. when he did, he did it wrong. he also put us a month behind schedule (we were living in an apt. while searching for the house and then during the renovation). so holly fired his ass and found a new electrician. we wound up paying even more money b/c of this jerk to pay the new electrician to fix the idiot’s work. about a year or so later, the original electrician said we owed him x amount of money and sent a bunch of generic collections agency lawyers after us. we hired our own lawyer and got them to drop it. that lawyer told us he seriously doubted they’d come back after us. maybe he’s grasping at straws b/c the economy’s so bad and he doesn’t have a lot of work right now? all i know is that he’s not getting a red cent from us and he can kiss our collective ass.

let me tell you something, and i offer a disclaimer in case you or someone you know or are close to or someone in your family is in any kind of construction business, b/c there’s exceptions to every rule: contractors are pretty much the scum of the earth. this is my opinion only, and i’m sure i sound like a major effing jerk to say that, esp on the internets. but i offer the following from experience: they will take you for all you have. they will rip you off and never look back. they will spill insanely sweet iced tea all over your subfloors (and not even bother to pick up the overturned bottles) until roaches are crawling everywhere. they will piss on your basement floor (yes, this happened to us). and electricians are the worst of  em all.

it’s kind of like: i thought this was all over. all this headache over our renovation. but obviously it’s not.

so we signed the damned papers and handed them back to the guy. (look, i know it’s just his job but he was a total jerk and too bad you got stuck standing out in the rain! what do you expect? us to invite you in and make you a mothereffin pot’a coffee?!! get a grip, dude! grow a set and stand out in the rain for a minute. it’s only drizzling you big baby!) somehow my cousin fell back to sleep after all that commotion. we did, too, tho i hate to do that b/c sleeping too late can set off migraines for me. (i turned out to be ok)

she padded downstairs a couple hours later and was like, “what was all that?”

“we’ve been served,” i said. i couldn’t help but laugh. our ridiculous lives. like i always say: never a dull moment.

holly and i have a way of putting these sorts of things in the back of our minds, b/c really, what can you do? if we focused on all this, we’d wind up in a padded room (hopefully they would put us in the same one? not funny but it is).

so we did what all normal ppl would do in this situation: we made coffee and then went out for omlettes.

i meant to write about all this earlier in the week, but i just didn’t have the mental energy to do it. also i’m working on my book proposal, which is a serious endeavor, i’ve come to see. anyway, now you know what’s up. i know, i know. you all really want to stay over at our place to experience all this excitement. but there’s a waitlist, you see, b/c we only have one guestroom (!). haha. jk jk.

the upside to all this is that now i can say to holly: YOU GOT SERVED!!! i don’t think that one is ever going to get old. i’ve said it about 20 times since saturday and it’s still pretty damn funny.