Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Almost locked up in Barbados Pt. 5
The sun rose just minutes after six on January 28, 2009. I had been up since four a.m., beating my alarm clock by an hour and a half. Though I had gone to bed late the night before, I didn't sleep very well and had fitful dreams. Earlier in the evening I had laid out my best suit, pressed a shirt and agonized about the best tie to go with it. I was methodically preparing for my court case. In order to stave off the panic that I could no longer deny, I tried to be practical.
Thinking I would kill two birds with one stone, I had made arrangements two days prior with the people at the dealership to get my car tuned up while I was in court and on the eve of the fateful day I also took the time to prepare some notes about what I would say when asked how I pleaded.
It started out: "Guilty as charged, your Honour, but with an explanation, if I am allowed." I wrote an entire page making the case that I was a careful driver, had never had an accident before for which I could be blamed (except for the chicken I had killed twenty years before when it ran across the road in front of my two- stroke Suzuki van which despite my best efforts would not stop in time - "I've never fully gotten over that, Your Honour") and what had happened on that day in January, 2007 was out of character for me; I was truly sorry that it had happened and to the best of my knowledge I had not killed any more chickens since.
Would my 'mea culpa' sound sufficiently pitiable to keep me out of jail or from getting a crippling fine? I wasn't sure. But when the day of reckoning arrived my practicality also told me that since I had no idea of how long I would have to wait before my court case was heard, I needed a healthy breakfast. I decided against toast ( the symbolism made me really nervous) and had pancakes, eggs - sunny side up - and a cup of Red Zinger tea instead. By 6:30 I was dressed and ready to face the music.
Traffic into Bridgetown was luckily still light and I made good time, arriving at the repair shop at 7:15. Richard, the receptionist, had heard my story when I called to arrange the appointment and now he was wishing me luck assuring me that after the car was fixed, the shop could deliver it to the prison if worse came to worst. I thanked him for his consideration and informed him that after my prison term was over, I would be looking for a different repair shop. He thought I was joking. (A future surprise is in store for him.)
Twenty minutes later, I was walking east across Bridgetown to meet my destiny.