LOCAL VIEW —Bonehead—

I’m just taking a quick break while doing taxes to note it remains cold and gray over New England, as another cold high pressure sags south. Sometimes it is more difficult than doing taxes to get a warm front to move north of New Jersey up into New England in April, and this spring the cold seems especially stubborn. They set an all-time State record for coldest-April-temperature in Maine, on Sunday, when it got down to -17° (-27.2° Celsius) in the north. Though it hasn’t gotten so cold down here in southern New Hampshire, all the mud is refrozen as hard as rock first thing in the morning, and you don’t need boots until mid-morning.

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It has just been a hair above freezing this Tuesday morning, and currently is 36° ( +2.2° Celsius), which is continuing our slow and gradual snow-melt, but doesn’t have people traipsing about singing la-la-la songs about Spring, especially as the sky is grey with a light drizzle occasionally falling. I myself have been in a particularly bad mood because I had to go stand before a judge this morning, due to something boneheaded I did back in January.

Nearly every morning, as I return from dropping my gang-of-six at kindergarten, I pass the same school bus coming the other way. Often I have to stop, as it picks up a little girl with black curls. It happens so often I even know the girl sits two-seats-back on the passenger side, from watching her trot across the road, up the bus’s steps, and seeing her sit down through the bus’s windshield. On this particular morning I could see her cross the road from afar as I approached, and she was already seated as I neared and slowed. The bus’s door closed, which in the old days stopped the red lights from flashing, but now they don’t stop flashing until a little stop-sign on the driver’s side folds into the side of the bus. That stop-sign waggled a little, so I assumed the lights were about to stop flashing. Wrong. The bus driver for some reason hesitated, (perhaps to speak to a bad boy in the back of the bus, or perhaps to get a cough drop from her purse; who knows?) In any case I went gliding by the bus while its lights were still flashing, and right behind the bus was a police car. It didn’t matter  that no children were outside the bus and the bus’s lights went off a second later. I was nailed. To make matters worse, when I tried to pay the fine by mail, (as you can do with a speeding ticket), I learned I had to come into the court to face an “arraignment”.  Then I had three months to think about it.

Today I walked in for the hearing at 8:30 AM, and they got around to me at 10:00 AM. In the mean time I got to watch lots of other, fellow, bad-people come before the law. Back when I was younger people used to dress up in suits when they appeared before a judge, but now there seems to be a lot of black leather and dirty sweat suits.  I felt conspicuously over-dressed, but also curious as to the various troubles people got themselves into, such as forgetting to renew their licence and registration,  or illegally registering a car in a town where they didn’t live, or repetitively slapping a boy-friend and ripping his phone from the wall when he tried to call 911, but these all seemed common and forgivable crimes, and people seemed forgiving and even cheerful, unlike the dark looks I got when I came before the judge for “overtaking and passing a school bus.”

It did sound pretty bad, as if I went plowing through a bus stop with children screaming and books and papers flying. I did attempt to make it clear to the judge that all the children were in the bus and the bus started moving within seconds of my drifting by, but there was little doubt I was guilty.

I actually got off rather lightly: $124.00 for being two seconds too much in a hurry, and a bonehead.

But it doesn’t put me in a good mood, as I do my taxes. One way or another, the government gets your money. Furthermore, I feel like I’m always on the defensive, though I’m really not all that bad of a person.

Sigh. One of these days I’ll publish a novel and maybe get some acclaim.  In the meantime, I guess I’m one of the guilty multitude, milling through a grey and cold April.


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