Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Day In Court

“So I am eligible for traffic school.”

“Yes, it’s up to the judge and you were only 2 miles over the limit and you have no previous tickets so I’ll give you traffic school if you want it.”

“But if I contest the ticket and lose I won’t get traffic school or the reduced fine?”

“Well, yes and no. Nobody’s punished for contesting their citation, but you won’t be rewarded for settling early either, so the offer may not be available any longer.”

“So with all those years of school it took to become a judge they never taught you that taking away a “reward” is the same damn thing as punishing?” is what I wanted to say. Then I wanted to stick my foot up his ass and tell him, “I’m not punishing you for being a dumbass, I’m just not rewarding you with the removal of my foot.”

I took traffic school, and while I’m in line waiting to pay my ticket there’s a couple in front of me that want to waste everyone’s time by arguing about the court’s traffic school administration fee. “So why do we have to pay you and pay the traffic school?” “It’s an administration fee. Everyone has to pay it.” “Where’s that money go? I want to know where that money goes!”

I thought about answering his question. It goes the same place all the money goes. Into the pockets of the rich. But then I would have to explain further. Do you know how they decide the speed limit? It has nothing to do with our safety or what we want. If they were concerned about our safety they could set the speed limit at 35 mph and make it illegal to manufacture cars that go any faster, and auto fatalities would be eliminated. But they’re not interested in our safety. They set up some committee and put “federal” and “highway” somewhere in the name, then these people use economic analysis to determine the best speed. They give each person’s life a monetary value (what the reduction in workforce will cost the country) and when the number of deaths ends up costing the same as the increased productivity of a higher speed limit, that’s where the limit is set. The way economic growth is measured has nothing to do with the lives of the average person, it’s basically synonymous with investor growth, so the money eventually ends up in the hands of the rich.

The police have no interest in your safety either. Studies have shown that the likelihood of accidents is increased when people drive faster than the mean speed of traffic. So if police were interested in our safety they would be concentrating on crowded freeways and the people who constantly swerve through them with nary an officer in sight. Instead they sit out in the middle of nowhere, on an empty highway, where they know people will be speeding safely because there’s no one else around, which is exactly how I got my ticket. What are they interested in? Racking up as much money as possible. Expanding, like a cancerous growth, gaining more and more control over people, which is essentially consolidating the power of the rich, since they are ultimately in control of the government, and if that’s not obvious to you, I’ll have to explain that another time.

While I’m on the subject I have to say internet traffic school is even more of a joke than real traffic school. It’s supposed to be eight hours long but any intelligent person will realize they don’t actually have to do the readings since they get an infinite number of chances at passing the test, and the questions repeat. I finished in 42 minutes, including sign up. It’s a complete racket for the government and the school. The government get’s their traffic school administration fee of $65 for doing absolutely nothing, and the traffic school’s costs are limited to them having to host their site and mail out a certificate (so their operating costs are probably less than $100 a month) then they just sit back and collect $25 a pop from people who got bullshit tickets and don’t want to get double fucked by the insurance company. Why doesn’t everyone set up a traffic school site and rake in the money, which would also drive the cost down? Well, the court has a list of acceptable schools. How do schools make the list? Amidst the stench of the mile high pile of bullshit, I detect the faint smell of kickbacks.


He had regretted agreeing to it the second he did. Keep quiet and let the time pass, he thought. It will be good for her if not for you.

“Dan, I want to apologize.”

“For what?”

“I’ve been reading this book about how much mothers effect the way you are as an adult. And I was thinking about it, and it’s true. I think I didn’t express my feelings enough, and now you don’t know how to express yours. But my mom was cold to me too. I remember when I was a kid your grandma sent me to pick up some milk. And when I got to the cash register the man asked me if I wanted a candy. And I was just a little kid I didn’t know any better so of course I said yes. So I got a pack of Rolos, and when I got back your grandma was furious. She said, ‘Stupid girl, we can’t afford that.’ Then she took the Rolos and went to the neighbors and told them how I had bought them when I was just supposed to get milk, and she let them eat them in front of me. And I didn’t even realize it, but to this day I can’t stand Rolos.”

She was already crying by this point, but she went on. “And I just think I didn’t show you enough love as a child because I didn’t know how to love, and I’m sorry.”

He felt bad. And he felt bad that he felt bad. Once again she was only thinking of herself. She wanted to make herself feel better. Why would you take someone to a public restaurant just so you could break down and cry in front of them? What was she expecting other than making him feel extremely uncomfortable?

She had gotten it entirely wrong. It was not a lack of love that she needed to apologize for. If you really want to apologize, he thought, you can apologize for moving out into the middle of bumfuck nowhere, where the schools are full of retarded hillbillies, and the churches are full of insane cultists and militia men. For putting me in positions where my intellect was chained by the authoritarian whims of idiots. For making me feel bad for understanding the world better than you. For pulling me out of school so I lost all my friends. For making me a local pariah and turning my former friends into my enemies. For keeping me in complete isolation in that shithole house without any contact with the outside world for several years. For discouraging any kind of thought and imposing a blind obedience of the stupidest kind. For sitting in your room talking on the phone for hours while I taught myself algebra. For sending me to that shit Jesus freak high school. For borrowing money from me to fund the whims of your other children. For preventing me from having any kind of friends or social life. For putting other people’s view of you as a mother over the actual welfare of your children. For ignoring everything that was wrong. For lying in order to trick me into going to that stupid Jesus freak college. For trying to prevent me from doing what I want to do. For ignoring all the times I was telling you there was something seriously wrong with me. For lying to me about everything and teaching me that I can’t trust anyone, explain anything to anyone, and that communicating with other people was a useless waste of time. For unleashing within me the deepest darkest sort of pessimism, that would remain the unshakable core of my being for the rest of my life.

Of course, there was no point in apologizing now. It would only make him angry. Not that these things are unforgivable, but that she was incapable of knowing how wrong what she did was. How can you apologize for ruining someone’s life.

“It’s okay.” He said. He asked for the check and went home.

Losing It

You can’t say anything. You can’t express anything. There is nothing to be said.

Maybe you really lost it. Somewhere out there when you were looking. Somewhere out there where you walked because it seemed like no one else would go there. Where the grass grew into the sky, and you stared long enough to see that there was nothing separating them. Where you laid alone hidden from the world and tried to forget that everything including yourself exists, and for a second you wondered if perhaps nothing did, and you slowly melted into the earth, and the earth slowly melted into nothing.

Maybe you lost it piece by piece along the stretches of road that you aimlessly wandered. On dirt roads that you went down just to see where they went. On empty beaches where you sat silently hoping the sound of the waves would tell you a secret.

Maybe all that time you were trying to understand what it would be like to see things, not through human eyes, but as they really are, you were slowly shedding your humanity. You were losing yourself. And now there is no self left. There is a body. There are thoughts. And they are disconnected from each other and from everything else.