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That Was The Week That's OVER! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
That Was The Week That's OVER!
Five days. Court appearances every one of them. Morning (between 9 and 10), all but one of them. Multiples, also all but one of them. Different proceedings for the multiples, all but two of them. And Monday and Wednesday were the trifecta: of multiples, in different proceedings,  but also in different buildings, three blocks apart.  (In fairness, Monday's second was adjourned, it was raining, a friend declined a ride up the three blocks and I decided to just leave.)

Plus, one fallen tree (not mine), one flat tire (mine), and a rarely-ending pelt of rain that promises to turn into snow before getting any better.

In one of those rare moments of not-raining, though, hangs a tale.

Thursday morning. Two appearances, different proceedings, but the same building one floor apart. It's the butt-ugly Brutalist behemoth from the 70s known as the Buffalo City Court building, but in which higher courts also have numerous courtrooms.  Despite its Soviet-style hideousness, I've always seemed to have had better luck in these halls than either of the other two buildings used by the state courts down there.  Thursday, though, was ten minutes of unpaid uselessness, over an hour apart.  One was to confirm a last-minute requested adjournment; the other, a judge-mandated appearance in a case where I am not being paid, the client hasn't communicated with me in over nine months, and the other side also doesn't want to waste time or money on the case, either. But her emails! Standards and Goals reports!* demand that she move the chains every couple of months, so down we come.

Down, to a downtown remarkably full of parked cars and metermaids/metermermen everywhere, because for once it wasn't raining. And full parking ramps, because it would be raining later. A few trips round, and I finally snag a spot on the other side of Niagara Square. One of the small number remaining with the old-school Insert Quarters At This Meter meters**. And with 45 minutes still on it!



I check my stash, and find a single quarter to add 15 minutes to the total and make it the hour I would need.  But of course, I would need more.

Appearance One was quick enough, but Appearance Two was hobbled by (a) an opponent who was himself hobbled on crutches and in a walking boot, (b) the two other judges he had to hobble with and around before he could join me, and (c) two lawyers making arguments in a useless-but-you-gotta-do-it proceeding before Hobble and I could have our five minutes of Her Honor's time.  (You knew they were both gonna be blowhards because they each began their remarks with, "I will be brief.")

By the time we got in and out (with a blessed adjournment of six full months, because Judge Two still just can't let a case sit indefinitely even if everybody wants her to), my hour was up- and the vultures were circling. Leaving me, still with one more errand to be run, in a potential pickle. But I have a Plan.  I have two dollar bills in my wallet, and while no private business or civil servant will deign to make change for parking meters, there's a vending machine- and a totally acceptable candy bar on offer for a buck fifteen.

There's a scribbled sign on it- BILLS ONLY, NO COINS- but I ignore that. I have bills. The bills make me wanna SHOUT! It takes them. It dispenses eight ounces of Snickers- and then out comes my precious 85 cents of coinage in change....

in nickels.

I now have no choice but to exit my spot- fortunately unticketed in the 10 minute of exposure- and try my luck again.  On the way, I see Hobble on the corner, and I decide to be kind and offer him a ride. He declines, but Someone was watching, for there, closer to my final destination, was a spot that only my tiny (and well-tired***) car would have a prayer of backing into. With a meter machine that took my useless pile of 5-cent-pieces.

See? It's all good.

----

Even when it appears to be horribly, horribly bad.

Yesterday was the earliest and furthest of the appearances- Rochester at 9 a.m. Which, thanks to the dog's scheduling, wound up with me just staying up after she woke me up at 5, getting a proper diner breakfast en route, and arriving in the downtown Federal Building a good 20 minutes ahead of when the clients were expected.  It was built at about the same time as Buffalo's city court erection****, but Nixon's architects were somehow better visioned than Nelson Rockefeller's. It was built out of marble, with plenty of glass and street-facing exterior offices, all of which have now been fenced and walled off by 20 years of terrorismophobia. But the marble's still nicer to the eye than the Brutalist brick- at least until you hang shit on it.

Obama and Biden's portraits came out of the lobby right after the Inauguration, but this was my first sight, surreptitiously photographed, of their unfortunate replacements:



Several people who saw that refused to believe that's his official portrait photo.  The more I looked at it, the more I wondered if, yeah, maybe there is some rogue in the General Services Administration who did it to mock him.  (He's very sensitive, if you hadn't heard- and they're now investigating and even prosecuting people for laughing at and telling jokes about him and his nominees.)

Despite the intestinal distress coming from the sight of that bigly-ugly mug (Eleanor's response was that he looks constipated), the final two hearings of the week went well, I got through the rest of the day without incident or ticket, and other than the rain, it remained all good.

Now on to next week- only three appearances, and only one a day.

----

* You might sympathize with a state employee being pressured by "standards and goals" reports. But when that employee is a judge, that pressure is meaningless to anything other than their personal pride. Judges, once elected for terms ranging from 10 to 14 years, enjoy complete job security- even convicted criminals cannot be removed from a bench without extended legal proceedings- full dedicated staffs of three or more employees, and near-dictatorial control of what they do, when they do it, and what and when they decide things.  In theory, a judge could be reassigned to the wilds of Allegany County (or, worse, the Bronx) if they really bucked the system, but that's about the only leverage anybody has over them.

** Most of the spaces are now regulated by one-to-a-block meter machines, which accept nickels-and-up coinage and even credit cards (but not bills, although Baltimore, for one, orders them with slots for greenbacks). Buffalo and Rochester both got the original versions a year or so apart; the City of Good Neighbors has now "upgraded" to a version that requires you to key in your license plate number which is printed on the receipt, because people were being too Good Neighborly and giving their unused-time receipts to people pulling in.

*** AND remarkably clean. Apparently when you drop $160 fixing a tire, one of the only four things on a new car not covered by warranty in the first few thousand miles, they wash your car for you. We also removed the FUDT bumper sticker, just in case the tire was "keyed" by a Trumpernutter.

**** Yes, I'm twelve.

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