Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A funny encounter down-state.

Today I made my first of what is sure to many treks down to Ottawa, Illinois to the LaSalle County Courthouse. (Well, first I made a stop at the LaSalle County Government Center which funnily enough, is NOT the courthouse. Oops. Thank goodness for GPS and smart phones, yes?) My new job has me traveling all over the state. Well, north of Springfield, that is. Makes for interesting experiences in my court appearances.

Downtown Ottawa appears to be very charming by my cursory trip through town. Free parking nearly everywhere in close proximity to the courthouse made me swoon, even when it was apparent I couldn't park in the lot directly adjacent to the courthouse because I didn't realize that I had to enter by turning left on the following street. The courthouse was typical of the less-populated counties in which I have attended court: large, made of brick, and very old. They always look like a courthouse which is wonderful for people like me who just might be directionally challenged. (It is a true story that I usually get lost the first time I go anywhere. Once I get lost, I very rarely make that same mistake twice. It is almost the shame of getting lost that prevents me from making the same mistake twice.)

Another factor that makes traveling out of county more pleasant to more rural areas is the friendliness of the courthouse employees. For the most part, the security officers at the metal detectors tend to greet you with a smile. The clerks are rather helpful and will answer your questions or at least direct you to the appropriate person. And the bailiffs in the courtroom tend to be a lot of fun. Helpful and friendly, I almost always walk away with a story to share.

And so goes this particular incident. I was in the courtroom, waiting for my case to be called, when the judge decided he was going to hear a particular matter in which all other persons had to exit the courtroom. That included me. I parked myself on a chair right outside the courtroom to review my motion and the bailiff starts up a conversation. Now the bailiff is an older gentleman, but very friendly, as per usual.

B: "That kid in there must be a mechanic. He's got a muffler burn on his neck."
F.A. (clearly not getting his point) "Huh. Must be."

I threw in an appropriate chuckle since the bailiff was getting a kick out of his comment.

B. "I don't even know if people call them that anymore. I know they did when I was in high school. I mean, that was a year or two ago."

At this point, I begin to catch his drift. He meant a hickey. Ooooooh. Got it. My chuckles turned real as I realized he was making fun of the kid's hickey. Of course, as the kid exited the courtroom, I had to take a look at his neck to see the "muffler burn." Sure enough, there was a bright purple hickey clear as day.

Good eye, bailiff. Good eye. Once again, you have shown me that the smaller county bailiffs never disappoint in the entertainment department.

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