This is what I was ready to say in front of a judge on Thursday morning. I practiced my arguments over and over again and was ready to win my case. In early January I got into a small car accident and it was then that the police officer who came to the scene discovered that my license had been expired for about 3 months. He gave me a ticket that required that I go to court where the judge decides my fine, so on March 22 I was ready to go tell the judge that I was indeed innocent and that it was not my fault that my license had expired. I prayed in the morning and left my house an hour before my appointment in order to be there on time. As soon as I got onto the highway I was struck at the amount of backed up cars and trucks. It took me about half an hour to get to the exit that usually takes me about 10 minutes; this was only the beginning. When I reached the area the courthouse was located in, I felt comfortable knowing that I was close, the problem however was that traffic in this “old town” section of the city was ridiculous because of construction. I was literally in a race against time. My appointment was 9:30 and it was already 9:25 when I was still trying to figure out where to go, as left turns are not allowed in this part of town (and the courthouse was to my left).. yes, it was horrible.
As I tried to avoid getting into another accident, I decided to park my car and walk to the courthouse which I thought was pretty close… it was 9:28 now. I ran out of my car, grabbed my entire book bag, and the running began. I was running on the sidewalk next to dozens of cars whose passengers were all staring at me… yes, I was very embarrassed yet I continued. I came across intersection after intersection and at this point, I wasn’t 100% sure of where I was headed. I could see several buildings so I figured it was one of them. I crossed the street running and asked a police officer where the courthouse was, he pointed in the direction I was running, so I continued. My heart was pounding, my eyes were tearing up (as I get really emotional sometimes), and I could barely catch my breath, but I ran. I got to one building, went in and asked where I was supposed to go. The security guard said “assalamu alaikum” and wanted to chit chat with me but I was in such a rush, I brushed him off and asked him where I needed to go, to which he answered “that building”. I ran to the next building, went in with some relief knowing I was almost there, only to find out that I had to go upstairs. Yes, I had to run up a flight of stairs to get to the judge… I was exhausted. It was 9:43 at this point and I knew the judge wasn’t going to be merciful. I went into the building where I was searched and my bookbag and cell phone were taken because of security reasons but I grabbed my wallet and ran into the courtroom. I went in to find that the judge hadn’t begun.. alhamdulilah!!*
I sat down as the judge explained to me and a few dozen people what we were to do when our names were called. I waited patiently then when I heard my name, I got up, prayed to God as I walked up to the podium and kept telling myself, “stay confident, stay confident”. I was ready to say that I plead not guilty, but the judge didn’t ask me! He just said “let’s see, no operators license, did you get that fixed ma’am”, “yes” I replied (I totally forgot to say “your honor” although I practiced saying it a million times). “Can you show that to the officer” he asked. I handed my license that was renewed to the officer and he said “that’s fine your honor”, “ok, then, case dismissed” replied the judge. WOW!! What a sigh of relief! The whole process in front of the judge took less than a minute but I was so happy to be done. I left the courtroom, went back to get my belongings and walk all the way back to my car and head off to class.
Finally, on the way back to my car I stopped at Subway to get a drink because I was so thirsty. The lady behind the cashier then asked me in her cute Asian accent as I was paying for my drink: “in the morning, were you running, running, running, on the sidewalk this way *pointing to the direction I had been running in the morning*?” I couldn’t help but laugh very hard and confirm that indeed it was me…
*Alhamdulilah means all praise is due to God