On August 13th, I received a $175 ticket for parking in a totally legal and legitimate spot--or so I thought. Apparently it is not okay to park within 5 feet of a driveway. Who knew? There was no way I could combat the actual validity of the ticket--because honestly I was parked within 5 inches of that driveway--and they say ignorance is no excuse from justice. So my best bet was to attempt to get the fine reduced or suggest an "alternative method" of payment... Fresh baked cookies, your honor?
I got there early so I listened to a few cases before mine came up. I was relieved to see that the judge had a good sense of humor and was joking around with most of the defendants: good sign. But then I realized that he wasn't reducing or dismissing anyone's charges: bad sign.
Finally he called my name. The result of a thousand prayers to help me not cry: I smiled and I admitted responsibility and calmly asked if I could have an alternative payment method.
To my delight he said that would work just fine, "How much a month would you like to pay?"
Pay?? By "alternative" I meant different means not in a different way! So I swallowed hard and I asked if I could do community service instead. He began to assess my finances: Oh you're a student? How do you pay for school? And rent? Which dorm do you work in? How many hours a week do you work? etc. etc.
After thinking for what seemed like forever...
Verdict: 18 hours of community service with a church or nonprofit organization, to be completed by the end of the year.
It'll probably take me 18 hours alone to organize that dusty old Relief Society closet in the institute. Awesome :)