The irony of my blog’s name or the title of this blog is not lost on my semi-recent visit to the Annapolis District Court. No, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not here to offer legal advice. I know where your mind is headed next: is Lauren in legal trouble? Also, no.
Almost a year ago, I was pulled over. I can admit that I’m not the best driver, however, I couldn’t for the life of me think of why I was being pulled over at the time. I quickly learned that my registration tags were two years out of date. Ooooopppss.
This is 100% out of character for me. I never pay bills late. It’s such an extreme case where my husband gets mad at me for paying our mortgage too early and often because they send the next bill immediately once they receive payment. I tried to do a payment plan for my laptop once to build my credit. Best Buy never sent me a bill, and I was late to pay it, so to avoid that issue again, I just paid off the remaining balance. When my brother and I were roommates, he used to hide bills from me. That was for a few reasons, but I digress.
When I moved in 2015, I set my mail to forward and continued to renew it, but I never received notification that my tags were expired. I think I deserved the opportunity to be notified at least one time.
Sadly, I was too early in my first pregnancy for the cop to take pity on me, and I was given a ticket for $75. So here I was at court to fight for justice.
There wasn’t parking available near the court, so 36-week-pregnant me, parked across the street by a grocery store. I knew there was a possibility of getting a parking ticket while fighting another ticket… My memory instantly flashed to a moment in college when I had parked at a parking meter, saw a free Red Bull car and in all the excitement of getting a free Red Bull, forget to feed the meter. The $1.99 I saved on a free energy drink was not worth the $13 ticket I received that day.
Anyway, back to my day at court. Let’s just say nothing about my visit was pregnancy friendly. I was forced to pour out my water bottle – which was awful because you’re so thirsty while pregnant (second only to thirst while breastfeeding). Next, no food allowed in the court room. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I needed to eat at least every two hours. The real kicker was that you couldn’t go to the bathroom while you waited for your case to be called because you’d run the risk of missing it. At this point, I needed to pee every 30 minutes. The courtroom was packed and it was going to be a long morning. No cell phones were allowed and not my usual self, I forgot to bring a book. I had a notebook so I started writing out this blog and a few baby shower gift thank yous. Take that judicial system!
As I waited for my turn, I listened to all the cases. One stood out in particular when a jerk realtor was asked by the judge to say his profession and he retorted, “I already told you my profession.” Gasps throughout the room. Some Judge Judy drama y’all. The judge was a middle-aged man who didn’t put up with that BS, quickly and effortlessly putting the jerk in his place. I found myself liking the judge and thought he was extremely fair. For the younger defendants (maybe this can be a legal blog after all lol) fighting their speeding tickets, he would impart lessons like: “You think you will live forever but you won’t. So, slow down already.”
After my day in court, everyone asked me: “Did you win?” That day it wasn’t about winning or losing. It was about standing up for what I thought was unfair. The judge waived the ticket fee and then just made me pay for the court fees, saving me $50. I was disappointed at first to still pay something, but when I stepped back, agreed that it was fair. He and his team were doing there job and deserved to earn a living for it.
Some more legal irony found me soon after. My husband was called for jury duty 5 days before my due date… Pretty much the best circumstances for having your husband missing the birth of our daughter: no access to a cell phone, limited breaks, and far away parking.
Here is the note I wrote for my husband to get out of it:
May 4, 2018
To whom it may concern,
I have been summoned for jury duty five days before my wife is expected to deliver our first child. I’m uncomfortable being in a courtroom without access to my phone in case she goes into labor or there’s another complication. I would like to request that my service be deferred to another time. I would be more than happy to full-fill my civic duty at a later date and greatly appreciate you allowing me to be there for my wife during this important time that will only come once.
Scott H. Meyer
Needless to say, we won this battle with the courts and Scott got out of jury duty this time. I like to think they knew a pregnant lady wouldn’t be above showing up to yank her husband from the courtroom while in labor. They would be 100% right.