Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome to Mayberry...er, Aurora.

I've passed through Aurora, Oregon more times than I can count. It's the easiest way to get to Southeast Portland from my parent's house. I stay on the main highway that runs through it and, though I've wondered what lies beyond, I've never deviated from my path. All I really knew about Aurora was that there are a lot of antique shops and that one should never speed when going through it. I've found myself occasionally wondering if it was like the quaint little towns I sometimes see in movies where everyone knows your name and people are actually nice. When I see those towns I, even if briefly, find myself longing for the comforting hug of a nice small town instead of the harsh kick in the ass that the city often doles out.

Until now.

Today I had to go to court for my ticket. I called prior to my allotted time to make sure I had the right date and time (being as how one can barely read what must be the 10th level of a carbon nightmare) and that the address given was where I was supposed to go. Good thing I called. Why no, that isn't where I go. I should go to "this" address instead. The town itself has a population of about 950 people. So, blink and you just might miss it. I drove up and down Main Street twice looking for the address I was given and the closest thing I found ended in 10 not 20 and it was the American Legion building. Well, that can't be it. That's not a courtroom. I went to the building that matched the address on my ticket (which was also the Police Station). I felt dirty just looking at this place. It was gross and run down and made me feel like I needed a tetanus shot to enter. I walked into the musty smelling front office of the Municipal Court building, explained my dismay and was directed back to the American Legion building. She told me that she was also the Court Clerk so she'd be over there soon. I suddenly found myself wondering if this Municipal Court building/Police Station also doubled as the General Store, Post Office, and local watering hole thus making it impossible to hold "court" in the building that actually had Court in the name. I bid farewell to Aunt Bee and made my way back over to the American Legion building to wait.

Aunt Bee eventually let us inside, checked us in, and asked us to have a seat. I took in my surroundings and found it all very laughable. Basically, it was a room that probably had a potluck in it prior to court and would certainly have a Ho'down in it just as soon as they moved the beat up desk out, folded back up the tables, and stacked all the chairs back up. I determined that Officer McCrosswalk was there (apparently being out of plain clothes and into full uniform adds like 20 pounds...I'm just sayin'). He was playing the role of Bailiff at today's festivities. Opie was setting up the mics and Barney Fife was trying to work a TV for a reason I still don't know. We continued to wait and then I saw an older lady walk in through the very doors that we did and grab a black robe from Aunt Bee. She walked up to the aforementioned beat up desk and took her seat (20 minutes late, but who can blame her what with running the post office and general store and all). You gotta be kidding me. What kind of parallel podunk universe did I just cross into?

When it was my turn I walked up to the mic at the sad little podium atop a fold up table. She read my heinous charge of "Failing to Stop and Remain Stopped for a Pedestrian" and followed with "How do you plead?" I said, "Guilty sounds good." She asked if there was anything I wanted to say on my behalf before she assigned my fine. I said, "Well, does pointing out that I'm typically an annoyingly cautious driver and currently unemployed do anything for me?" There were chuckles from the "courtroom" and she smiled. She said she wasn't sure, that my record was clean, and she asked how long I'd been driving in Oregon. I said, "Since I was 16 and I'm mumblethirtymumbletwomumble now." She informed me that she'd reduce the fine to $190, but that was the lowest she could go. She didn't even cut it in half. Podunk towns need all the money they can get I guess. People aren't all that friendly in Mayberry anymore.

I called the company I had the interview with last week (no, it wasn't Lucy). They haven't made a decision. She hasn't gotten much feedback at all, actually. She told me that all the big wig (who I'd never met) told her was to keep searching. Not looking all that promising anymore. I'm still in limbo and feeling like I'm about to fall flat on my ass.

1 comment:

tricia.rules said...

Is this the same Aurora that's a suburb of Chicago and the home of Wayne Campbell??

Man, that stinks about the $190. I guess they gotta make enough to fund those beehive hairdos for ol' Aunt Bee. Hairspray don't come cheap, especially if you gotta buy it at the general store (no Wal-Mart!)