I went to court today. No, I’m not a lawyer. I got pulled over a little more than two weeks ago and received a ticket for not having my insurance papers with me. Apparently a court appearance was needed to rectify the paperwork problem. Now we all know why lawyers are always in demand: They become judges.
I haven’t been to downtown Tucson since I first came to Tucson more than three years ago, except the ocassional musical or ice-skating fiasco. Sitting outside the “Consolidated Courts of Justice” (the technical name for the place, mind you), and eating a hotdog brought about new observations and experiences.
Going to school in Tucson doesn’t mean living in Tucson. School’s full of rich kids with rich parents, driving their big cars and complaining about the lack of parking space. Surrounding yourself in this environment 24/7 means you begin to believe all of Tucson is like that. It’s not.
A black man who muttered constantly to himself sat near me, while working types reading their novels filled most of the other outdoor seats. Young Hispanic parents walked with little children who made a sport of chasing pigeons. A boy who can’t be much older than high-school age mans the hotdog stand. In the distance, little pockets of homeless people try to catch their forty winks in the shade.
It’s not the prissy goodie two shoes society that exists in school. It is ironic that the people who get summoned to courts are the often the victims of a society that has ripped them off - either by not providing them an affordable education or jobs that would have helped them off their feet. The dome of the Courts stands proud and its marble exterior seems to mock the poverty that lies at its feet.
In the courtroom, two veterans sit nearby. One of them is rehabbing from drugs and alcohol while the other just turned 79 and had open heart surgery. The younger of the two tells us that he knows he’s going to get time, but hopes to postphone it until his rehab program is completed. They share war stories.
There are times when I see the inequality in society and express my helplessness with a sigh. Other times I wonder if it were high time my generation started its own wars and wrote its own stories about how we tried to set things right.