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Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Today was a good day... sort of. I started the day hellbent on filing
motions and vacating the old charges against me, prepping for
Friday's hearing. I only got one fine paid. There are charges against
me in two different counties but I have to go to three different
locations to pay what I owe. So I get to courthouse number one. Not
a lot of people waiting, a plethora of folk behind this massive 80 foot
counter and the 'number served' box is at 7. I take a number. I get
ticket number 20.

About that 80 foot counter. There are about 12 stations with
computers and processing equipment to serve the hard working
people in the great county of Cook, but there are only two people
working these stations. Two. Every three minutes or so, a bunch of
female employees walk from the area behind the counters and back
in, laughing and bantering loudly. Now this particular room which is
the size of a regulation football field is full of county employees,
none of them actually doing anything. I am not making this up. Some
of them are in groups talking, others come and go freely in and out
of the room and stop and chat with other co-workers. Others are
just sitting at various desks on the phone. You can hear some
conversations because as county employees, I guess you're at their
mercy so the discussions over the phone are not business related. I
heard one waaaaaaaaaay in the back talking about the new Ocean's
Twelve flick that just came out.

Anywhoo, It took these two folk about an hour to get from 7 to 20
and then while I was waiting, working employee #1 (older male
gentleman) went over to the lone cashier, also behind the counter
and tinkered with the cash register and literally broke it, shutting
down the line for about 15 minutes. Soon, there were three of the
other socialites, trying in vain to fix the cash register. No avail.
Sister cashier walked away for about 15 minutes and then came
back, this time the register was up. She seemed frustrated but not
from the previous situation.

Number 20! I went up and had to wait through a conversation
between working employees number one and two. From that convo,
I found out why sister cashier was frustrated. She yelled out that
she needed help to properly requisition the amended forms she
had to process to make payment options available for those already
seen at the counter. That's right, you have to go to open counter
one or two to have your info looked up, then you must wait to see
select what you want to do... pay the fine or pay a fee to have an old
charge vacated. Why one can't do this when they walk up to open
counters one and two is a mystery.

After we found an old traffic ticket and some related fines, I was told
that I would have to go to another location to pay the other fines.
Why I could not do that at this particular office was a mystery to me.
"Those are the rules", I was told. Now, sister cashier was frustrated
and angry because available clerk one and two would not remove
the staples from the paperwork, causing her to remove them
herself. Shame. All that attitude over staples. Now we looked up my
ticket number, and the clerk said "Rodney?" and I said "No". She
mistyped the six digit number that I RESEARCHED and gave to her to
help expedite things. She did this about four times and never asked
me my name, SSN or drivers license number. It took her about 10
minutes and some help to get my DL number and identity right. She
gave this to sister cashier and I was almost home! Or at least I

My motion papers was third in the pile so I saw. I moved over the six
inches from working clerk's station to the designated cashier
station waited. And waited. And waited. Sister cashier got mad about
the staple thing, went to an empty station and started serving other
respondents! She did this for about 45 minutes, and every now and
then she would peek down the long counter to see how many folks
were waiting. Now, clerk one and two got help from two other bored
employees that thought maybe now would be a good time to help
out, seeing that it got very crowded very quickly. People are getting
help finding tickets and fines, but no cashier to help them pay. Forty
nine minutes (and I counted) after getting help from working clerk
number one, my name was called, and this heifer had an attitude
when I told her good afternoon and wished her a good day!

Two hours to do something that could've taken about fifteen
minutes. I was in the suburban office of the clerk of the circuit court
and had to race to the city (downtown, where parking hit me for me
$25) to file motions to vacate other petty offenses I've assessed
over the years. I got there at 4:15. Sisters there started complaining
aloud that no overtime is given by the county of Cook, but a
compassionate sister helped me anyway. Guess what? I have to
miss another day of work tomorrow and make a court appearance to
vacate the remaining fines and tickets, because the city of Chicago
works differently than the suburbs. Same office, different
jurisdiction. Great. I'd rather risk my job missing three days of work
to pay and vacate rather than not doing the deed and going to jail
Friday due to non payment and lack of effort. I'd lose a lot more than
a job if I didn't try. You think?

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