Stupid Presidents!

Happy President’s Day, my ass.

This morning I decided to attack the pile of clothes that was trying to defy gravity by towering precariously on a chair in my room. As I gathered an armload of clothes that were too dirty to put away, yet too clean to put in the laundry, out fluttered a slip of paper. I picked it up, and, SHIT, SHIT, SHIT, I said. It was that ticket I got right after New Year’s for running that stop sign, and I had totally forgotten about it. As it happens, tomorrow is the last day to pay it.

OK, no problem, I thought, I’ll just log onto the handy little traffic court website and pay it online. Except that it kept telling me my citation number and birth date didn’t match. So I tried searching with my licence number, which also apparently didn’t match my birthdate. So I tried the automated phone system, which cheerfully told me the same thing. So I tried holding for an operator, but the same cheerful robot (I’m really starting to be wary of robots) told me that “Our office is open, but we are unable to assist you at this time. If you need operator assistance, please call back later. Otherwise, press one to return to the main menu.” Um… So I tried “calling back later” about a thousand times, hence my spot-on memorization of the cheerful robot message, but to no avail. At last, I thought I had better just go down to the ghetto place where the court house is, and pay it in person.

So I hopped on the 10 and freewayed down to the courthouse, parked, mused that it appeared to be a ghost town (hmm, how quaint, nobody is here, except for this couple parked in front of me in a red Tercel making out with each other. However, I am sure there will most definitely be someone in the courthouse who will be able to help me with a smile. After all, their phone system robot is so cheerful! I’m sure that all employees at the Los Angeles Courthouse will be equally as friendly and helpful)! I am an optomist.

Unfortunately, I was never able to determine the level of cheerfulness a human courthouse employee might exhibit, because there was a paper sign taped to the door announcing that the courthouse was closed today for stupid dupid President’s Day. Maybe there would be a mail slot or a handy ticket payment drop box somewhere on the building, I thought, and walked all the way around it. But… nah. Why do that? That would be “convenient,” and “efficient,” which are things we here in the government try to avoid.

So, just to recap for you, someone put in the incorrect birthdate on my traffic ticket. The ONLY way to access the ticket online or via the phone system is by entering my birthdate. The court house was closed today, but the phone system robot specifically told me they were open. Unfortunately I cannot see a paper sign taped to the courthouse door from my living room.

Hey, here’s a thought! When the average government office starts operating even almost as efficiently as, oh, I don’t know, a store at the mall or a child’s lemonade stand, and doesn’t make you want to slit your throat every time you have to deal with it, then I can pat our presidents on the back for a job well done.