Thursday, January 06, 2011

$700 Fine for JayWalking in LA!

I'm living proof that a $700 Jaywalking ticket will make you arrive in court a day early with your best Johnnie Cochran swag on full blast.

Next day, I'm back... ready... feeling and looking good like a Cochran man should.  Inside the chamber, the Repeat Offenders posse douse my ears with HazMat-grade cynicism.  I shift my focus to the "No Talking" sign and pray for the proceedings to begin!

The Judge enters the chamber bringing new meaning to the phrase "justice is blind."   His Honor rarely looked at anyone during the proceedings. It was as if we were witnessing a Master Ventriloquist dispensing No-Look justice in 30-second sound bites.  I witnessed at least 30 no-look trials where fines were reduced and payment extensions granted.  But, every request for community service was cut-off by His Honor's judicial remix of the Destiny's Child hit, "No, No, No, No, No!" 
Finally, I'm summoned before the Judge.

Keith Johnson... Crossing against a Do Not Walk sign... how do you plead?
No Contest, Your Honor.
Same as guilty. Fine is reduced to $50, State of California fee of $145.  Will you pay today or do you need an extension to pay?
(Hmm, fine greatly reduced, but I'm walking outta here with all of my cash)  Your Honor, I'd like to request Community Service.
Do you have a job?
No sir, your Honor. 
How do you provide for yourself?
I've lived off my now depleted savings,  and...
So how do you provide for yourself (with a hint of irritation in his ventriloquy)?


I...
The record will reflect that I answered immediately, but I swear to you, time stood still.  I had the facts, figures, and estimations to answer him.  Neither his curtness nor the indignation of having to share my personal information in this impersonal forum could knock me off my stride.  

Inexplicably, something compelled me to abandon my strategy and to just tell the truth even if it might be deemed inappropriate.  I stuttered just a bit in reply to his request of "how do you provide for yourself..."

G-G-G-God Your Honor.

W-W-WHAT DID HE SAY? stammered the Judge, his head finally jerking upwards to see who invoked the name of GOD in his Chamber.  He swung around, visibly flustered and asked the Court Reporter, DID HE SAY GOD?    

Did I? Did I just say God?  I could hear sprinkles of laughter emanating from various parts of the chamber as I confirmed that my provisions were truly a blessing from God.

He grumbled out his verdict.  NO Community Service.  Pay by March 23.  If you can't pay by then, come back before the bench!

Foolish, dude! My mind was quick to remind me that uttering God was not a part of my legal strategy.  But logic couldn't account for my journey, especially my journey back to Los Angeles.  I left a great job in NY without a job in LA, and went from single in Manhattan to a family of four.  Yet, through God's blessings, all of our needs continue to be met.  We've seen miracles in our finances and opportunities.  I bear witness to the spiritual truth that there are many blessing channels, but one source and that source is God.  Great is thy faithfulness!

I spent the rest of the day battling the dreaded ego.  "You lost."  "No Victory Update on Facebook for you?"  "Did you really say G-G-G-GOD?"  Thankfully, the story doesn't end there.  I was blessed this morning with a new perspective.  Thank you God!

Perhaps someone needed to be reminded that they're not alone in facing life challenges;
Perhaps someone needed to be reminded - yes, God is faithful; yes, God is our provider, but also the profoundly simple, awesome truth that...  God Is.
Or perhaps - just perhaps - God desired to hear me publicly proclaim that which I profusely thank Him for in my quiet time.

I thank God for this morning's insight.  And I'll even share with you what I shared with Him...

Perhaps the notion of standing in a Court of Law, where one promises to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, So Help Me God, released just that: My Truth about God's Truth, the Universal Truth about a God that loves each and every single one of us.  And that truth roared forth like the Chuck Brown classic...

I Feel Like Bustin' Loose, Bustin' Loose Y'all!!!  

Love, from That Johnson Boy