A few weeks ago the judge handed down my sentence. Last night it was time to pay the piper. I drove to City Hall, signed in, and took a seat.
A little guy with a big chest, crew cut, starched uniform and shiny badge stood behind the lectern at the front of the room and asked us four questions.
“How many of you would like to be here all night?” He squinted slightly and slowly scanned the room for any raised hands.
“All right then,” he said. “Who would like to go home early?” Again his eyes squinted, this time counting the room full of hands raised in the affirmative.
“All right then,” he said. “What is the meaning of a stop sign? …It means stop, not roll. Stop, wait for your vehicle to reset itself, then progress through the intersection.” The officer glanced down at his notes as if things were about to get complicated.
“All right then,” he said. “What is the meaning of a speed limit sign? …It means do not drive faster than the stated speed once you have reached the sign. If a sign ahead of you indicates an increase in speed is allowed, it is not allowed until you have reached that sign. Do not accelerate before you reach that sign. If I catch you rolling through a stop sign or speeding I will issue you a ticket. We’re done. Sign out.”
And just like that my debt to society was paid. I did my time. All ten minutes of it. And I had to sign my name twice. In cursive.
Sure, justice probably wasn’t served all that well last night. But when I’m the one benefitting from a little injustice? Well, it’s all right then.