Nothing bad could possibly happen to me today, because I walk on water

I wasn't trying to get away with anything.

It's true that I was speeding, that I had removed the front licence plate from my car, and that I did not have my updated insurance slip with me.

All I wanted was a break; perhaps a reduction in the fine.

I was going to plead guilty.

I contemplated the meaning of justice as I sat in the courthouse waiting room, occasionally glancing at my watch. They were running 25 minutes behind. Would it kill them to provide some magazines to read? Uh oh, don't use the word "kill" in here. The guy sitting next to me could be an accused murderer. I glanced at him suspiciously. He clutched a speeding ticket nervously in his hand. Probably got caught speeding away from the murder scene. I surfed over to Google News on my BlackBerry. The theme from Law and Order kept playing over and over in my mind.

"Sassan Sa...-what?" called out the woman with the clipboard in her hand. Finally.

"Don't even try to pronounce it," I replied. "It's Sanei. Three distinct syllables packed into just five letters. It's spelled very efficiently."

"It's okay, I haven't got one right all day," she said. "Come on into my office."

This is not a trial, I reminded myself. It is a first attendance meeting in which we attempt to work out a plea arrangement.

She introduced herself as the crown prosecutor and asked me to confirm that I had obtained a copy of the officer's evidence during the discovery process.

I was just about to reply that I did not request it because I am, in fact, guilty as hell, and I did not intend to challenge the officer's evidence. I admit it, I was driving too fast and I got caught, okay?? Please just give me a break please please please please please.

But before I could say anything, she looked up from her file folder and said, "Sir, today is the best day of your life."

Wow! My graduation, my wedding, the birth of my son, the pizza I got for free last night because they were an hour late delivering it - all of them momentous occasions. Could today really be the best day of my life?

I looked around the room quickly, expecting it to be fabricated entirely of chocolate. I was disappointed that it was not, this being the best day of my life and all. I glanced down at the topmost paper in her file, trying to read the words upside-down. The first three words were "IT HAPPENED AGAIN!!" Huh.

I replied, "Those are always words you want to hear in this situation." Idiot, I thought to myself, she'll think you're in here every day.

"Okay," she conceded. "Maybe not the best day of your life. But we had a late booking and the officer did not have enough time to produce his evidence. So the charges are dropped."

"All of them?" I asked incredulously.

"Yup. We didn't get notice from the court until November 14. It's a technicality. This is your lucky day."

"But I was speeding!" I blurted out. "I admit it! It was wrong! I want to pay the fine. I was hoping you could reduce it. Um, maybe I should just keep my mouth closed and go now."

"Well, I would have asked for a guilty plea on the speeding ticket and dropped the other two charges. But you can go."

"That's exactly what I would have wanted. Okay, um, wow, thanks a lot." I turned and walked to the door. I looked back. I knew at that moment exactly like Raskolnikov must have felt, except for the part with the axe. I held out my tickets and asked, "So, is there anything I should do with these or anything else I should do now?"

"Just leave," she said with a wave.


Anonymous said…
It's so good to leave in a civilized country! In a country where there is no sign of prejudism and they don't profile their citizens based on their name, colour and ethnicity.
Sassan Sanei said…
Thanks for your comment. To be clear, I'm not the least bit offended that she didn't know how to pronounce my last name, because it's not one that most people have heard before, and it is spelled in a way that could be pronounced several different ways.

Let's save the accusations of "prejudice" for those occasions that truly merit it. Otherwise, we risk trivializing a serious issue facing our society today.

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