After checking the time as I was setting out on foot from the other side of the Quarter, I bagan to kick myself (as I walked) for not giving myself enough time to have a prayer of being there at 3 p.m. sharp; before the gavel falls.
I think they want you to be there for the striking of the gavel and all it symbolizes. And they want you to be there on time because it preserves the facade that you may indeed be there on time out of fear of and reverence for the justice system; and belief in it; can't forget that...
I checked my Obama phone just as I was crossing the street to get to the courthouse to see 2:55, and was amazed that I had covered that distance in what amounted to 32 minutes and was 5 minutes early for going in there and telling them that I had failed in my effort to raise 200 dollars in order to pay the fine and asking them for an extention.
I was still late, though.
The x-ray machine detected a corkscrew in my backpack. It could not go into the courtroom.
I surmised that this was minimize the risk of there being some kind of gouging incident in the courtroom; and further surmised that, because the Superbowl is in town; and New Orleans is treating it as if there has already been some kind of terrorist threat made, to include language to the effect of: We're going to open you like a bottle of wine...eyes will be gouged out, maybe; the noia has spread to the courthouse, and I merely had to run out the front door of the courthouse with the corkscrew and throw it under the first bush that I encountered, thinking as I did....I bet theres some neat stuff in these bushes...corkscrews; maybe even some knives...and then run back inside, where I was informed that "I can't keep your stuff anymore; you'll have to bring it in there, if they let you..."
We (meaning Sue, the Colombian lady and I) used to be allowed to leave our baggage (to include one captive live cat) right there in the front lobby; but the rule had changed and I was faced with the prospect of walking into the courtroom in sight of the judge; becasue I was then late (4 minutes) with my backpack and my guitar.
I started to hatch a conspiracy theory and wondered if the rule was being used so the judge could weed out the homeless people just by the sight of them; and send them away until after Mardi Gras.
I realized at that point that I was wearing the jeans that had sesame oil spilled on them, oil which is delicious but is the color of dirt, and figured that, in my case, the backpack and guitar were mute points.
Then, the judge entered. He himself was technically late for 3 p.m. court.
He quickly freaked me out.
He gave a short speach to the effect of stating that "If you were issued a summons, in leau of being arrested; be aware that the court can give you a bond; and, untill you can make that bond, you will be remanded into the custody of the Sheriff's Department..
At that point, I thought a couple of things. Firstly, why had I not heard about that new (Super Bowl, Mardi Gras) wrinkle in the justice system, with all the derelicts that I encounter in an average day. Secondly, I thought about how highly, not only plausible , but in New Orleans nature it was if this was a subploy to go along with the judge seeing who has the backpacks; in order to lock the homeless up, by putting bonds on them and holding them in leau of the fines until their next courtdate. The one right after the last day of Mardi Gras, by the way.
Out of time.........