Well, this past Tuesday the 7th was the day I had been looking forward to for nearly two months. Was it the day that I was going to Bandon Dunes to play world class golf for three days? No, it was the day I was scheduled to have my say against Meter Maid Douche Thoreson in court. I was scheduled to appear at 3:30 pm. The following is a timeline of events (it’s best if you click the time listed before each entry):
2:42 pm – I find a parking spot near the court house and pay $2.40 for 90 minutes of parking. That was the max for the space I parked in and by my math it meant that I would have 42 minutes to give my long monologue on the official record.
2:44 pm – After a brief conversation with a woman on the street corner about how people who blare their music in their cars loud enough for everyone else to hear never play jazz or classical but at least it’s not music I listen to so it won’t get stuck in my head, I walk into the court house. I try Door #1…oops, employee entrance. Door #2…oops, locked. Monte Hall would have been proud of me as I step through Door #3 and walk up the steps.
2:45 – I slowly take off my belt in front of the young ladies at the front entrance. Why? Because there’s a metal detector. There are three young women, all moderately attractive, working the metal detector…I don’t know why. Maybe it’s so angry hardened criminals like me can start our trials with happy thoughts. Thanks ladies…I’m off to fight The Man.
2:47 – I walk all the way around the first floor following some sign telling me I need to check in at room 106. I finally find a short line of people waiting for the two clerks assigned to parking tickets.
2:55 – After one of the clerks returns from the break he took instead of helping me I approach the window and read a sign that tells me parking tickets won’t be on the docket unless I check in before 1:30. He says the sign is true. I say I was supposed to be here at 3:30 for a parking ticket. He says “oh, you already have a trial?” I say “yes”. He says “oh, then just walk into room 112 and the judge will call your name.” That makes sense.
2:59 – I enter the court room. There are 3 other soon-to-be defendants sitting there. One is a middle-aged woman, one is a twenty-something guy with greasy hair and one is a bigger guy with a beard. I sit down in the row with the lady in it and get comfortable because I’m going to be here for a while.
3:02 – The judge has been sitting there silently and asks the court clerk or stenographer or whoever what time it is. She says it’s 3:02. He says “oh, I couldn’t see that far without my glasses.” The judge then announces that court will adjourn until 3:30. His Honor appears to be about 75 years old. He looks bored out of his mind. I imagine he is heading to his chambers to take a nap.
3:06 – I ask the lady next to me what she’s in for. She says she got a ticket for parking in a carpool space. She says the ticket said something about improper display. I say “oh, it wasn’t where it was supposed to be?” and she says “no, it was hanging from the rearview mirror like it does every day. I don’t know why I got the ticket.” I forgot for a moment, but she’s just reminded me…everybody’s innocent here in Shawshank. It’s clear this woman is a dangerous maniac and a true hazard to the city. It took a fine, fine peace officer to bring this lunatic in off the streets. Did I mention her ticketing officer was one D(ouche) Thoreson?
3:27 – The room now has just less than 20 defendants and two meter maids have entered. One is a fat woman with oversized glasses, a look on her face that you’d expect which seems to say “I don’t give a crap about anything”, and she appears very likely to have an attraction to women. The other guy looks like a good enough guy. He has a beard, is in relatively good shape and his face makes you think he smiles nearly as often as a normal person.
3:29 – Did a lady in the court order out for a feminine flush? Because in walks none other than The Douche himself.
3:30 – Judge Banks (or Blanks or something) introduces himself. Then he throws out a scare tactic. He says “anyone who wishes to change their plea to no contest or guilty will be moved right to the top of the docket and we’ll have you out of here right away. For those of you who demand a trial we’ll get to those after I go through each case. We will have a brief recess at 5:30 and return after dinner at 6:15.” I can see the fear in the faces of my fellow felons. They don’t know what they’re going to do. They have places to be. The letter said to be here at 3:30…it didn’t say prepare to stay all night! My meter is going to expire at 4:12…this could get interesting.
3:42 – Thirty minutes left on my meter. I’m starting to fret. The judge has been going through the cases one by one. ¾ of the people are changing their pleas to “no contest”. They realize they are essentially pleading guilty, but their time is worth more than the fine. It’s the system. It’s there to waste your time just enough to make you pay the fine and walk out the door. Every single time someone pleads “no contest” the judge cuts the fine exactly in half and the person walks out the door. Every time. It should be noted that every person who had tickets for little or no reason ALL were ticketed by Thoreson. One guy put his receipt on the wrong window. The carpool lady actually did nothing wrong. One guy had a bike rack that slightly covered the month of expiration on his license plate. I’m telling you, D. Thoreson is a turd cadet and he must be stopped.
3:54 – The ancient judge calls for someone who had failed to show. This actually happens quite a few times. When this happens the person is found guilty and the entire fine stands. But for this particular defendant the judge asks the meter maid a particular question. “Why was the person ticketed on a holiday…Monday, December 26th?” The meter maid replied…and I quote…”That was only a city-recognized holiday, not a meter holiday.” Are you serious? So you’re saying that the City of Portland shuts down on some “holidays”, but still sends out maids to ticket people who dare to park on their day off? It’s sickening, just sickening.
3:58 – The judge calls for Keith Hattori. “Here, Your Honor”…I’m polite when I respect authority. Well, that’s the last thing I’m going to get to say for quite some time.
4:10 – I’m starting to panic. I’ve already called Taela and told her I’m going to be late. I told her I might get another parking ticket while stuck sitting here in parking court. It’s finally time to make a break for it. I exit the courtroom, head down the hall and out the doors. I quickly throw my credit card into the machine and buy another 90 minutes. I hop into my car and drive halfway around the block hoping that I’m far enough away from my previous spot to be in compliance with the parking ordinance that I don’t completely understand. I know that I can’t simply “feed the meter” but I’m not sure how far away I actually have to move. I run back to the courthouse. I again strip down and go through the metal detector. I jog back down the hallway and slip into the room. I’ve missed nothing. I glare at Thoreson. He sees me and quickly averts his eyes.
4:16 – The fat lesbian meter maid approaches the bench and says she wants to dismiss one of the cases. She gives no reason at all, but from the back of the room two very cute young girls stand up. One of them says thank you, the other giggles as they both leave the court.
4:18 – The judge has called all the names and it is time to start the “trials”. He looks at the stack and says “Well, officer Thoreson only has one case remaining. Mr. Hattori, please approach the table.” Crap. First? I wanted to see how this trial thing goes before diving into it. Oh well, you play the hand you’re dealt.
So D. Thoreson and I must sit next to one another at a small table and share a microphone. The judge asks us to raise our right hands and solemnly swear that we will tell the truth. Hell yeah, judge, I plan to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me God.
Thoreson gets to speak first…this ought to be good. I stare at him from two feet away, my eyes burning holes in his temple. I stare with the hatred of a thousand tortured souls. I cringe at every word as they burn scars on my heart:
“My name is Darren Thoreson. I am employed as a parking enforcement officer with the City of Portland. I was so employed on December 19th, 2011. On that date I noticed a green Subaru parked in a metered 15 minute spot and issued a citation for $40.”
His Honor looks at me with a hollow, unfeeling gaze. “What say you, man?” (or something like that).
“Well, Your Honor, to be honest I’m kind of a rookie at this. I’ve never testified before.” That’s okay, son, just tell me what happened. (I caught myself expecting him to pat me on the hand and tell me it’s gonna be alright). “Well, our office has been delivering Meals on Wheels every Monday for many years. I have been in the rotation for about 5 years now…well, since this incident we’ve had to quit doing the route. About a year ago a stop was added to the route at the John Ross Building. We were told by the people at Loaves & Fishes that we could park there without paying for parking and we should put their big red magnet on our car door to clearly show who we are. After receiving the ticket I found out that this is the only stop of all the routes from the Multnomah Center that requires parking. Other centers are aware of a permit through the city that is necessary to obtain parking privileges, but our center was unaware until I received my ticket. You can see from the pictures that I had a Meals on Wheels magnet, a sign on my dashboard and two large coolers for holding food inside the vehicle. I was delivering to a service-disabled Vietnam veteran who has a terminal illness linked to Agent Orange. He is confined to a wheel chair. He is the last stop on the route. When I returned to my car on that particular day I found that I had received a ticket and was pretty shocked.”
Then His Honor asked Darren Thoreson “do you have anything more to add?” He had nothing more to add. Nothing about profane notes. Nothing about our conversation. Nothing about how he’s a douche for writing the ticket and how it should be dismissed. Nothing.
“Well, I’ve heard enough then. I’ll reduce the fine by half and you’ll receive a $20 refund in the mail in a few weeks.” Frick. I thought there would be some back and forth. Some rebuttal. Something!
I went there for conflict. I appeared in the name of justice. I came thirsting for vengeance and blood and hatred and battle. Instead I got twenty bucks.
Damn you Darren Thoreson. May your old age bring you unsated hunger.