Friday, January 11, 2008

Heah Come Da Judge....

I just got back from Small Claims Court.

What an experience! Most people who know me are very aware of the fact that I avoid all systems like a pandemic but in this case, I agreed to go along with someone. We went to the Folsom Rd "Justice Center". It was cloudy outside and the inside of the building matched the weather. The absence of color was astounding!

As we walked in, we had to go through a metal detector and put our packages through an x-ray machine. As you can imagine with all my Thai finery, I kept setting the machine off. "Beep Beep Beep". I'd have to take off one bunch of jewelry after another until the offending item was removed. By this time, I'm drawing a crowd.

Next time, I'll go naked! Then they'll have a valid reason to think I'm a terrorist. Me naked. Yes. That would terrify even Osama bin Laden.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

The room itself was a dingy little cubbyhole with pale maroon chairs and grey walls. Again, no color. We listened to endless pairs of people trying to settle their disputes in front of a judge who reminded me of Judge Judy without the attitude. They quibbled and fussed, trying to tell their side of the story, usually talking over each other. The bailiff would say "One at a time! One at a time!"

The judge sat there, passively taking in all the details of these cases, most of them tangential to the real issue that brought people in. I honestly don't know how she does that job, day in and day out, listening to people gripe and complain about how they were wronged in one fashion or another.

Finally, it was our turn. The case itself is a landlord/tenant dispute. The tenants broke the lease and wanted their deposit back. Under the terms of the lease, they would not get it back if they broke the lease.

Easy, right?

No. You'd think it was the Scopes Monkey Trial!

It was half an hour of back and forth quibbling, tangential complaints and shady logic. (From our side, too, unfortunately.) There was nothing I could do to derail any of it since I am not officially listed in any capacity and have no stake in the outcome. That silenced me for all intents and purposes. I sat in my chair as quietly as possible, tolerating the stink eyes of the bailiff every time my bracelets made noise.

(And, no, I don't look like a bloody temple dancer! No need to even go there.. but I do wear a bit of jewelry.)

So I watched this train wreck waiting to happen, knowing which side would win. The tenants would get their deposit back because of the disconnected and unrelated issues that clouded the issue. Each side accused the other of various infractions, from "I cleaned the carpets before I left" to "her son yelled at me and he was drunk."

The other side said, "if they would have stayed, I wouldn't have squatters in my house right now."

The judge said, "They are not responsible for who you rented to after they were gone."

True enough.

This really confirmed for me a few different things.

I would never want to be a judge.

And in my older age, I have no desire to be involved in anyone else's squabbles.

That's not to mention my complete lack of desire to go into any building where I have to go through a metal detector.

Peace and quiet. Yes. That's my thing.
~*

26 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Well, you will have to go through them when you get on the plane for Thailand, my Sweet. I am giggling at the image of you jangling away under the bailiff's glare while Judge Judy tells everyone to "Grow up" in her too-imitable NJ accent.

Sadly, most people think that more is better.. the more injustices they can throw in the hat, the better their chances of winning the prize. But irrelevant facts, no matter how true, only anger the judge and dilute the real issues.

I hope your friend wins, though.

Mariposa said...

Hearts, I was about to tell Chani the same thing...she has to go through the same metal detector before boarding that plane...my last international flight, asked me to remove my footwear...but it was a sandal...and obviously, they can see if there are something in it...yet, I still have to follow safetly protocols...

Well, I always believe in amicable settlements...especially with things that is just about money...I may sound hypocrite and it is just so impossible for me to go to court because of money...and also the reason why I have been "robbed" by friends who took advantage of this...

realitytesting said...

Now, you need to round out the experience by going to a board of education meeting. Hehehehe!!

meno said...

Ah, small claims court, i know it well. Although fortunately, i also know it from a long time ago. You would think they could have afforded some new paint by now. :)

flutter said...

I had a grand debut in court as an expert witness when I opened my mouth to speak and belched.

It was brilliant satire.

Freddie Sirmans said...

Just browsing the internet. Very interesting blog. Great read.

QT said...

Chani, you are a brave soul! I used to cover courts as a reporter - usually it was interesting, but listening to the excuses of drug addicts for violating probation got tiring..

Hopefully, the fact that Thailand is on the other side of the metal detectors at the airport will give you strength....:)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You're a good friend to have gone there to support your friends.

blooming desertpea said...

Oh dear, a court wouldn't be my cup of tea, either. Hat off that you went, anyway.

thaistory said...

Next time you'll go naked? That's gonna be quite a shock for everybody!

wheelsonthebus said...

Wow. That sounds like a lousy way to spend the day.

Carla said...

That sounds like quite an ordeal. Must say, I have to agree, would rather spend my time away from such happenings. Peace and quiet.

Janet said...

My landlord took me to Small Claims Court, when I was in university. Although the judge had sympathy for me, the lease agreement reigned supreme, and I lost.

Then I went back to Small Claims Court, when my husband and I were student housing landlords. Again with the losing.

I don't like Small Claims Court.

MsLittlePea said...

I wouldn't want to be a judge either. I find it difficult to be impartial sometimes.

I love the noise jangly bracelets make, you writing that made me smile for some reason.

My Reflecting Pool said...

I love Judge Judy. She keeps things basic. People have a hard time with simple facts that are undisputable.

I'm sure you were the talk of lunchroom with all your bangles!!! haha! Love the image.

Kikipotamus said...

Holy Hannah, what an experience. At least it made a good short story. Heh.

jen said...

court often makes me giggle. the amusement in overhearing others conversations, the soliciting of bailbondsmen, the sitting and standing. thankfully i am always a bystander. and it's always been a good reminder to stay out of trouble, i'd not do well as one of the cogs in the wheel.

Julie Pippert said...

Children bickering needlessly annoy me. I can't imagine having to listen to adults do it. I guess at least she gets paid.

liv said...

what julie said. and gosh, how can i read properly with this interesting sugar coma from all the ice cream i just ate setting in??

Mary said...

I give you a lot of credit for enduring battles of this nature. I admit I giggled all through this post - your sense of humor is so dry and good!

By the way, my husband enjoys the judge shows on TV and I despise them. He thinks Judge Judy is...sexy? Oh, My, God.

Aliki2006 said...

I think I would go nuts if I had to listen to petty and ugly complaints day in and day out...but I am always amazed at how strong and interesting so many female judges are...

Anonymous said...

I avoid all systems like a pandemic-

Does that include welfare?

gumdropsandbubblethoughts said...

I have never been to court and I'm happy about it, because I don't know why I find it annoying.

Christine said...

the idea of going to court in any capacity freaks me out!


Running on empty

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I truly dislike courts. Perhaps that’s because in my younger days, as a social worker, I spent so much time in them.

I find you trying to get through the metal detector so indicative of the paranoid world in which we now find ourselves. In the rare occasions when I must enter a government building these days, I sit in my car and remove everything metallic from my person, from the coins in my pocket to the glasses on my nose. And I quietly pray I will not need coins to make a telephone call (because my cell phone has been left in the car) or glasses to read anything.

Ain’t this a great way to live!

PeterAtLarge said...

Osama and the naked lady! Nice vision!