Life with Mom
—-This is a story of a shared life with Mom after her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.—
A few months ago, Mom got into a fender bender here in town. The young guy whom she side-swiped insisted that she call the police. That maneuver (calling the police) guaranteed someone a ticket. Surely, someone on the scene did something illegal, and guess what?…it was her.
When she received her “Lane Violation” notice in the mail, she pleaded “Not Guilty”. Pleading “Not Guilty” buys you another kind of ticket; A ticket to traffic court to meet justice mongers and the people who commit “crimes”.
She tried to convince me that I didn’t need to go with her, but I disagreed and went anyway. There was no way I was going to let her go into a court room alone, even for such a tiny violation. Courts can be intimidating and confusing because of all the legal rigmarole and story changing that goes on (by both those charged with upholding the law, and the violators).
We had a horrible time finding a parking spot. Not wanting another “Lane Violation” ticket, we ended up in a neighboring lot. We feared that we may be “trespassing”, but apparently no one noticed or cared.
Once in the building, I went through the metal detector. An alarm went off. The guard studied me, and came to the conclusion that my barrette was the hot metal. He let me into the court room.
As we were sitting there waiting to be called, we began to notice a strange pattern. Almost every “defendant” was asked if they would accept a reduced charge of “Parking on the Highway”. If they accepted this charge with a fine and possibly a court ordered driving school class, they were on their way. If not, an opportunity to speak to the Assistant District Attorney was arranged.
Mom and I approached the bench when she was called. Not to our surprise, and more to our amusement, her charge was reduced to “Parking on the Highway” with $150 fine and no points. The Judge asked if that was acceptable. Mom said it was not, and that she wanted to talk to the ADA. On we went, back into the audience awaiting our turn to see the ADA to see if we could reduce the charges even more.
When the ADA called Mom up, he explained that the charge was reduced as far as it could be, eliminating the points that normally go with “Lane Violation” charges. I asked if it could just be dismissed. Mom went on to explain that she hadn’t had a ticket in 50 years. He agreed that she had a clean driving record, noted it on the paperwork, and then wrote “low fine”, for the judge to see.
We thanked him, and disappeared into the audience again. When the Honorable Judge called Mom back up, he asked her to explain what happened during the fender-bender episode. She explained to him that her vehicle took most of the damage, and that the last time she was in court, she was 8 months pregnant, 50 years ago. He asked me who I was. Next, he turned to Mom and said “No Charge. Take your daughter to lunch. Have a nice day”. We thanked him and proceeded to leave the court room. On our way out, people were smiling and giving us the thumbs-up.
The highlights from our court visit:
-We didn’t get a parking ticket.
-I didn’t get frisked by the guard.
-No fine or points for Mom.
-We learned a little how the “system” works.
-I get to have a court-ordered lunch.
Every-so-often, I remind Mom:
Please, please, please, if you’re going out driving today, DO NOT PARK ON THE HIGHWAY!
I know I won’t.