On Tuesday afternoon last week, I made my way to Moncton to deal with a traffic ticket – it was an experience and education on several levels.
The first learning was that there were a surprising number of individuals charged with driving without a valid operator’s permit. Of the 23 cases on the docket that afternoon (all from the Sackville/Shediac area) at least 10 of them were for this violation and at least four of these were for the second or more infraction of the same nature. This led me to wonder (and worry) about how many people are on the roads without insurance.
The second learning was in respect to the utilization of resources. I was in the courtroom from 1PM until about 4:30PM and there were, at one point or another 14 RCMP officers in the courtroom – present of course to give testimony to one case or another. In the end, as a result of other delays and complications only 4 of those 14 ended up giving testimony in two cases. The cost is staggering.
The third learning was that courtrooms are not very accommodating for hearing disabled persons. Upon arriving I spoke to the court officer and indicated that I was hard of hearing and asked if they could assist me in ensuring that I responded when my name was called. The officer gave me a headset that was uncomfortable and caused feedback into the sound system in the courtroom – so much so that the judge had to ask that it be turned off. While using the headset I was unable to hear any of the ambient sounds around me as I had to remove my hearing aid – this left me feeling very isolated and vulnerable. Even using the headset I didn’t hear my name called.
Yes, I was there for almost four hours… the first thing that contributed to my long stay was that I did not hear my name called in the first round. Eventually, after speaking with the court officer my name was called in the second round.
I was charged with not having signed my vehicle registration card. When my name was called, I tried to plead ‘guilty with an explanation’ as it was true, I’d not signed the registration card – but – there is no place on the NS vehicle registration card for the owner to sign. The Judge would not accept my plea and directed the Crown Prosecutor to speak with me at a break. The break came at 4:05PM. Upon reviewing the documentation I provided, the Crown informed me that he would withdraw the charge. The Judge returned from her chambers at 4:20PM, the Crown withdrew the charge and I was free to leave… with an educational experience – making a commitment to myself to drive in such a manner that ensures as much as possible that I never have cause to return!
This morning I am in the office finalizing some paperwork and returning phone calls. This afternoon I’m out doing a couple of visits and this evening I will gather with the Welcome Team for our regular meeting
On Tuesday I will be working from home, beginning to craft the liturgy for Sunday and then in the office on Tuesday evening with a group of folk taking part in the first of five webinars: Strengthening Youth Ministry.
Wednesday will see me in the office in the morning and afternoon. The morning will coffee with the Open Sky group and the Lectionary Bible Study and in the afternoon a couple of one-on-one meetings and an annual meeting with the Ministry and Personnel Committee. Wednesday evening I will be travelling to Moncton to take part in a regional meeting.
Thursday will be spent working from home trying to craft a sermon based on one of the following texts: Isaiah 49:1-7, Psalm 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42. Any advice? Is there one of these or a theme that you’d like to hear a sermon on? This is your chance…
Friday and Saturday will be days off and I am looking forward to a visit with Justin and his girlfriend Emily. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!
On Sunday we will gather at 9AM at Upper Sackville United Church and 11A at Sackville United Church – if not before!
And please, do be careful on those slippery roads and sidewalks!