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Where the Princess belongs

Alison Berkley

I almost got thrown in jail yesterday. This big, mean judge at Jefferson County Manipulator Court started screaming like I was a Ali Bin Laden or something. There I was, standing at the podium cute as can be, blond ponytail and all, while this dude in a black dress is shouting and carrying on like I’m a criminal or something. “DO YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST WALTZ INTO MY COURTROOM AT YOUR LEISURE, JUST SHOW UP HERE WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT?” he bellowed, flailing his arms wildly about, my case folder in one hand, loose papers in the other. “I’M JUST GOING TO THROW YOU IN JAIL. THAT’S WHERE YOU BELONG, IN JAIL.”My eyes grew large as saucers, my mind scrambling for something to say. All I could think of was, “Me?” I quickly looked around the room to make sure he wasn’t talking to someone else.I mean, it’s not like I burned down the hospital or threw darts at babies. I got busted speeding last summer with an expired license (OK, so it was over a year expired and I was going 68 in a 45, but whatever). So I missed the court date. I didn’t mean to. God! Chill out!It’s just that I’m not one of these Type A people who worries about every little thing, like paying their bills on time or ironing or wearing matching socks. I’m more like a Type C, as in “casual,” or maybe even Type W for “whatever.” I do things my way. I am not a follower. As in, I am not going to follow these stupid laws when they make it impossible for me to. Between my circuit training class and hot yoga and having my roots done and taking care of Psycho Paws, I don’t have time to slow down when I’m in a hurry just because of the speed limit or take a number at the DMV or hang around some court all the livelong day.The next thing I know, it’s court date this, community service that, and then they expect me to magically appear in Denver at 8:30 a.m. during Christmas week when I’m busy devoting myself to teaching snowboarding to these sweet little children whose parents just happen to have a private jet and love me and give me fat tips. Of course the judge can understand that.So I miss my court date and now all these evil acronyms come up every time someone looks me up on their stupid computer, like FTA and OJW (and FYI, you’re never getting your license back, little girl).I tried to call the judge and tell him I wouldn’t be able to make it to court, but he doesn’t have call waiting and his line is always busy and then when you do get through, you get a recording that says, “We’re going to put you on hold and make you listen to horrendous music until you go insane and hang up.” When I finally get a hold of someone, they’re all super picky about every little thing. Like, no, you can’t just send us money and call it good. No, you can’t e-mail the judge or chat with him on IM or call him on his cell. You have to come to Denver, on a weekday, and appear in person. Just don’t ask us how you’re supposed to get here by 8-in-the-flipping-morning without a license when you live four hours away.I finally find someone to who loves me enough to drive me all the way down there (Mommmm! Help!). Then I go out of my way to wake up at the crack-o after partying until 1 a.m. the night before. You would think the judge would be happy to see me at last, but noooo. He was pissed.He had a conniption fit just because I showed up like 10 months late. I tried to explain to him how difficult it is to get a ride from Aspen, then realized it’s never a good idea to mention the words “I live in Aspen” when looking for sympathy. “YOU BELONG IN JAIL,” he bellowed. My head spun and my tiara rattled right off my head and bounced off the cold, hard carpet of the courtroom in slow motion. My eyes grew to the size of Frisbees, my pupils dilated with fear, black as buttons on a teddy bear. I mean, get serious. With all the basketball player rapists running rampant out there, you’d think they’d want to keep those cells open for real criminals, not irresponsible little Jewish girls.My head filled with images of handcuffs and cavity searches and cat calls. I imagined being escorted down a long, dark, hallway to my cell in an orange one-piece while my mother waited for hours outside the courthouse in her black Lexus SUV, wondering why I haven’t come out yet.Just as the oxygen stopped reaching my brain, he said, “Forget it. My sheriff is too busy. He already has 35 prisoners up there waiting to get their heads chopped off and the ax is getting dull, so I’ll give you a continuance, but this is the last time. Next time you’re out of here!”My head was still throbbing when my mom pulled up with the latte she’d got me from Starbuck’s. I was so traumatized that I almost didn’t want to go shopping. Had something in me changed? Would I go from Type W to Type A, just like that?As I was driving home thinking of ways to get my license back, the sun pierced my eyes so I couldn’t see a god-damned thing through the dead bugs smeared all over my windshield. Slowing down to accommodate my temporary blindness, I realized I had changed. I’d make sure to never get pulled over again.The Princess promises to go to temple or maybe hot yoga to absolve herself of all her sins. E-mail your free legal advice to alison@berkleymedia.com.


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