I slept a little later than I’d like to admit after a long night of charitable giving, so I hadn’t yet called the Hoboken Municipal Court before my phones started jingling. After the third panicked, “I can’t wait any longer – do you need bail money?” I figured I better make the call before my loved ones started losing consciousness.
After pressing quite a sequence of numbers, I finally reached a person – though not the right person.
Operator #1: Hoboken Municipal Court.
Me: Good morning! I’m Elly. How are you today?
Operator #1: Fine.
Me: Great! Say, I got a notice for a change of court date, but I don’t know what this is for. Can you help me out?
Operator #1: What’s the ticket number?
Me: There isn’t a ticket number. There’s a complaint number. Would that work?
Operator #1: Yeah.
Me: It’s SC 20…
Operator #1 (interrupting): Oh that’s for criminal court. Hold please.
Cue vomiting. I’m a defendant in a criminal case. HooRAY! I wait (not so patiently) for another voice to start talking.
Operator #2: Hoboken Municipal Court.
Me: Hi. I have a notice for a changed court date but I don’t know what it’s about. Can you help me out?
Operator #2: Oh don’t worry. I’m sure it’s a parking ticket that you just didn’t pay on time so they increased the fine by $10.
Me: Really? That’s not so bad!
Operator #2: Nope, not at all. What’s the ticket number?
Me: There’s no ticket number, just a complaint number.
Operator #2: Sorry honey, that’s not a parking ticket. Let me transfer you.
They don’t even have any hold music to keep you calm. They just leave you sweating and fretting after dropping these bombs on you. Then I reached my third and final operator.
Operator #3: Hoboken Municipal Court.
Me: I need the criminal court, apparently.
Operator #3: You got it.
I was not loving this lady. I suppose my ebbing patience wasn’t really helping the situation, either.
Me: Ok. Got a notice for a change in court date. I don’t know anything about the original court date. Can you give me any idea what the hell is going on?
Operator #3: Give me the docket number.
Me: Is that the same thing as the complaint number?
Operator #3: Yeah, lady.
I bit my tongue, then read her my complaint number.
Operator #3: Your court date is now scheduled for July 28th at 9am.
Me: Yeah, see, it says all that on this notice. However, it doesn’t tell me what the charges are. Also, I’ll be out of town on that day so if this can’t be resolved, I need to figure out if the date can be moved again.
Operator #3: Well you could just mail in the payment.
Me (nearly breaking my pen while trying not to raise my voice): What payment?
Operator #3: The payment for the fine.
Me: WHAT FINE?
Operator #3: For the cardboard.
I skipped a beat and practiced some deep breathing exercises.
Me: I’m being fined for cardboard?
Will the joy of the move that never happened ever end? FUCKERS!!!! I guess the freecycle fella that had been so excited by my free moving boxes had never shown.
Operator #3: Yup. You can just pay the ticket and then you don’t have to show in court.
Me: I never got a ticket. How much? Who is the payee?
Little Miss Helpful filled in the blanks on my many questions. Apparently I owe the city of Hoboken $75 for improperly disposing of my moving boxes. Happy, happy. Joy, joy. I suppose the good news is I at least won’t be serving any hard time in the Hudson County Jail. Though I could be in to a few snazzy prison tats.
UPDATED: And just moment ago I received via certified mail my official ticket in all it’s orange glory. Officially I did not tie my cardboard with string and must now make amends for my wrong doing. I may never, ever attempt moving again.