My job is often an adventure, and sometimes I end up spending time in interesting and unexpected places, watching very personal details of people's lives unfold and take on a life of their own.
Today was one of those days... I spent the morning in Oskaloosa, at the Jefferson County Courthouse. I've never been to Oskaloosa, but I was pleased to note as I arrived that it does, indeed have a town square, and on that square is a bar called "The Oskie Bar". It may have been open at 9:30 when I got into town, but fortunately I had other business at the Courthouse and didn't venture over to see.
A few observations at the Jeff County Courthouse:
"We haven't had a reporter here since that guy had a bomb down in front of Rosie's (cafe)"
"Yeah. Didn't that guy blow himself up?"
"I'm not sure. I only remember bits and pieces."
The district attorney had subscribed to the philosophy that if you just walk really really fast, people will think you are both busy AND important. Seriously, this dude was race-walking up and down the hallway where I and many people from around the area were sitting, pacing, waiting for some sort of ACTION.
We got there at 9 am, and we did not see the inside of a courtroom until 12:30. People were tired of waiting in the hallway. One gentleman, whose telephone kept ringing to the tune of "Sweet Home Alabama", announced unhappily that he hadn't "ate nothing but Pop Tarts all day."
I really wanted a cigarette, but consoled myself with coffee instead... I walked over to Rosie's Cafe with one of the people that I was with, where a group of about 8 old ladies sat at a round table and gave me the once-over as I walked in wearing my blazer, skirt, and boots. An old man wearing overall's leaned over to me at the counter and said "You working over to the Courthouse?" Which also translates into "You ain't from around here, are you?" I told him I was from Lawrence, and the waitress chimed in that she, too, had once resided in the "big city" of Lawrence. They were all very friendly.
Court finally convened around 12:30. First up on the docket: A tall gentleman with a long mullet, who was wearing a black t-shirt with a big mean eagle on it that said something to the effect of "God Have Mercy, But We Will Not--September 11, 2001" This man pled no contest to disorderly conduct, and was informed that he was to stay away from his lady friend who had apparently gotten him into this trouble. I could not hear what point he was arguing, but the District Attorney finally threw up his hands and said, "Stay the hell away from her--it's that simple." The judge then added his two cents by saying "Well, you can lead a horse to water..." I have no idea what the hell HE was talking about.
Once dismissed, Mullet man swaggered out of the courtroom, but not before winking at me and announcing that he was gonna go git a beer. I like to think that the proximity of The Oskie Bar served him well after his day in court, and that perhaps he wouldn't need to drive away in his pickup truck with confederate flag mudflaps. But I don't know.
Why are so many young, high-school age boys from small towns all redneck/gangsta and shit? I saw a few of those today. Young boys wearing pants down around their knees, one wearing a big fake diamond in his ear that was the size of a dime, practically. Each boy could not keep from touching his private areas in some sort of
slouchy gangsta-peenie-itch-readjustment-cerebral-palsy-looking-thumb-thing. You could almost smell the jheri curl on their blond little heads. And you know that they wanted to end each sentence with "Yo." These are the same kids that, if they don't end up in juvie, get a couple of years older and spend their Friday nights kickin' it in their bad-ass neon enhanced pick up trucks, complete with either confederate flag or silver naked lady mudflaps, up and down Mass. Street here in Lawrence. Hollerin' at the women and rockin' some Skynard on shitty speakers. Yo.