Everyone and their brother shows up late for the five-thirty calendar, usually late and completely careless of the fact that they are on sufferance already. The sense of entitlement pools in the room, stagnating thought. Tonight is no exception.
At about six o'clock, the antechamber door swings open. I hear it because I'm meant to, the squealing hinges left that way so I the bailiffs know the door has been opened. Something punctuates the squeal though, a short quarking bark of noise.
'What the fuck was that!?' I think. I'm not terribly interested, really, the day has already been long and aggravating, and the calendar looks to stretch it longer and lend more aggravation to my tattered patience.
The noise is followed by someone in the antechamber trying to put themselves back together after having gone through security downstairs; belt jangling, muttered imprecautions, etc. Again, nothing unusual.
Court is in session, so I am monitoring everyone; from those before the commissioner making their excuses and those waiting for their turn to do so.
It's the late-comers that kill me tonight, as usual. Having missed my firm admonitions at the beginning, they enter with fanfare and eventually plop down to wait. I say eventually because most ask me if their name has been called.
I feel I must digress a bit here, because I have five problems with their approach:
#1) As bailiff, I am not in control of the court calendar, and it's not my place to influence the running of the court. In other words: I don't fucking know.
#2) They usually don't tell me their name. In other words: How the fuck should I know if I could actually do something about it?
#3) You're fucking late! The few who arrived on time don't need you slowing the already slow processes of the court further because you were unable to get your shit together to handle your business! In other words: Sit down, shut up, and we will all get along fine!
#4) When they do approach me, usually asking if they are in the right place or if the court has already called their name, I reply, "If you are here early for six-thirty, you can wait outside. If you are late for five-thirty or any other time, or just don't know when you were to be here, have a seat and wait."
Usually they are so caught up in their own little world of late-ass arrival and being called on their shitty driving that they do the absolute worst thing they can when dealing with me: They don't listen to me and then interrupt me, right about the time I'm saying, "If you are late for five-thi-" They usually interrupt me with their variations on "FIVE-THIRTY".
I was raised by in a southern woman's household. I have been trained to proper manners, and I use them until such time as you prove unworthy of polite company.
I make that further digression to illuminate for you why I detest being spoken over or interrupted when attempting to answer a question. If you asked me the fucking question, then you can damn well wait for the complete fucking answer, digest the fullness of it, and then reply.
#5) Once I the late-ass not to interrupt and to have a seat, they, almost without fail, try to lay their emotional bullshit at my feet. Most make muttered claims that I'm a racist, an asshole, or whatever else comes to mind before turning to resume their seat. Some even manage to combine their claims, giving rise such pithy verbage as 'asshole racist' as they turn from me. The turn is usually accomplished with the downcast face and posture of a child kicking a rock. Some even accompany such behavior with a grunting little sigh, much like a child kicking a stone in disappointment.
I'll end the digression with this: For God's sake, if you are fucking late for your court date that you set, you can't wait, you can't listen, and you can't even be polite, then how the fuck can you expect anything more of those you come into contact with?
Now, where were we? Oh yes, the waiting, sighing, farting, yawning, stupid-question asking crowd has been added to repeatedly in the last half-hour by latecomers. Apart from the strange sound that accompanied his entrance, the person making noise in the vestibule is, while unwelcome, no great suprise.
Then the door opens.
In stalks a man with a limp. On his shoulder is a big fucking parrot. Not a little bird that might be missed in the ruck-and-run of the slow-as-molasses court. Oh no. This is a monster, with two foot pintails. A lot like this one:
'Shit,' I think, 'I missed the memo that tonight was Pirate night! I might get my card revoked by Plunderers International.'
Then the man suprises me again by taking a seat, quietly, without the usual approach-the-bailiff-with-my-bullshit. Perhaps he had none, only parrot ca-ca?
I spend the rest of the night trying to resist the urge to squint, bark out, "Argh!", "Where's me Booty!?" and, "Shiver me timbers!" at every turn.
I thought to say, 'Now I've seen it all' in this post, but I couldn't. I do think I might have seen much of it. Not all, but much.
Much more than I like, sometimes...Other times it's just too much to keep a straight face through.