Friday, April 15, 2011

I fought the law (and the law won!)

Some of us are just law-abiding citizens.

Brad the Tradie and I come from good working class families who pay their own way, eat lamb on Sundays and are good for their word.

So it's hardly surprising that neither of us have ever needed to engage the services of the court system, or a lawyer or actually .... anyone to do with the law. But the security blanket is still there. We all know that when you fight the law, the law wins right? Our parents teach us that when they instil our values system. EVERYONE knows that the bad guy loses in the end.

I'm a good girl.

VERY good. I'm not only a law-abiding citizen, I'm also not very naughty generally. I've actually never shoplifted. Or wagged school. Or assaulted anyone. Or ... anything really. I got a speeding ticket once... a long time ago... and was mortified that I was caught doing five kilometres over the limit. FIVE kilometres. Practically a criminal. Ohhhh, the shame, the shame....

I do like Law & Order on the Telly though.

BtT and I have a series link on Foxtel for SVU. He's a bit like Elliott the tough cop, all brawn and biceps. I kind of fancy myself as the tough, blonde ADA or whatever they're called. The one that trots into court, like Alex Cabot on SVU, and kicks bad guy arse. Imagine Blossy turning up to prosecute, in my best denim skirt (the Just Jeans one, not the Kmart one), a quite posh (clean...obviously) tank top (perhaps a little sequin action) and glam thongs (not the rubber ones, the silvery ones from Colorado darl!!!)
"You! Bad guy! You SUCK! I'm the law and the law wins, so you just go to jail. NOW! MOVE IT!"

SO, when a tradesman skipped town without finishing our pergola, it was ON.

Brad the Tradie was mightily pissed off. See, in his world, on Planet Brad, tradies are good for their word (and eat lamb on Sundays). If a Tradie says he'll weld and put up a pergola then that's what he bloody well does. And our pergola guy didn't. He didn't return calls. He took our deposit money and buggered off. So, after a conversation with an old mate from high school who now works in Perth somewhere in legal aid, we decided to kick some Tradie arse in the small claims tribunal.

Except that it isn't quite as easy as it should be.

Have you noticed that since everything is online now, that you don't actually TALK to anyone about anything any more? We filled in one of those online forms, trying hard not to make any unnecessary typos, paid seventy bucks using the credit card and ...ZAPPO! We'd officially dobbed on a Tradie.

It wasn't very satisfying at that point. I kinda wanted a sympathetic ear instead of a 'your form has been successfully submitted' pop up message. I wanted some old nanna to say, "ohhhh you POOR thing! Did that nasty man not come back and finish your lovely pergola? And now you can't buy an outdoor spa and a daybed because there's no roof over your new alfresco area??? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh DARL!!!! How AWFUL!"

But that didn't happen.

What DID happen was that we got a letter in the mail telling us (not even inviting us, no please whatsoever!) to turn up to court on April 14th. That's it. No phone number to call, no additional info, no brochure, nothing. And was woefully not enough in retrospect. Because these little black ducks have no court or legal experience and .....

We were hammered.

Sitting in the waiting area, Brad the Tradie and I didn't even know how to 'announce our attendance' at court. Upon reflection, I'm really not sure what we were expecting, but it certainly wasn't a bulk billing-style medical centre approach waiting room filled with .... ummm.... criminals. The quality of the riff-raff was impressive, all in one place, sitting up (kind of) straight in manner of waiting to go into a Principal's office. I was keen to take photos with my iPhone, but Brad the Tradie wanted to be discreet. Lets just say that I haven't seen that many home-made tattoos, acid wash jeans and mullet hair cuts in quite some time (if ever quite frankly! Although, the Gunnedah NYE 1990 Bachelor & Spinsters ball may possibly be the exeption). I liked the addition of props, eg, faux neck braces, crocodile tears and limps. I didn't touch the toilet door though. I opened it with my elbow and used a LOT of hand sanitiser. Didn't require the complimentary sharps disposal unit either, and am still not sure if I want my tax dollars to support this magistrates court for Bogan offenders. I think it perhaps should be 'user-pays.' Or maybe they could all exchange whatever weed they have for a court hearing or something.

Here, small claims civil cases are chucked in between all the riff-raff cases. Yep, a breeched AVO, a drunk driver, then... wedged in... us and our unfinished alfresco area. We were all shuffled into court and onto the pews and called one by one. Fascinating as it was to watch the criminals squirm, we kinda wondered whether this was really how we needed to spend a Wednesday. So here was Brad the Tradie, in his best T-shirt with a Manila folder in hand, standing in the magistrates court trying to explain to Judge Grumpyarse (who looked a little like one of the old muppets up on his pedestal flinging big words around and judging people) that all we wanted was a finished pergola. Really, that's all we want. Or our money back. I really like outdoor areas and I've got my eye on a rather special outdoor furniture set with a daybed and a 'reading egg', but it's got cushions and what-not so I need it to be covered with a roof. You know?

The yukky Tradie that ripped us off didn't show of course. And Judge Grumpyarse had the hide to ask BtT whether he could prove that this piece of shit even existed! And then told us not to bother wasting everyone's time. Needless to say, our day in court lasted on the minimal side of five minutes. Down went the gavel (or not... I may be being dramatic) and we hung our heads and left (trying ever so carefully no to touch any door handles). Our Judge Judy moment had passed.

So the question remains.. . Do good girls really finish last? After paying squillions of tax dollars do I feel just a little ripped off that someone who belts his defacto gets more time with the Mag than us?


But we still believe that what comes around goes around and that if we lead a clean Bogan lifestyle we will eventually be rewarded. What form this reward takes is unknown. It certainly isn't in the form of a pergola. But I must say, that today at the Greasy Spoon my five bucks worth of seasoned hot chips did seem a little more generously portioned than usual. Like the universe knew I needed a sign that good prospers in te end.

The law might've won this week, but karma kicks arse.

I Fought the Law and the Law Won (The Clash, 1977)