May 31st, 2002

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Judgment

April did not show in court today. So I now have a default judgment in the amount of $1128.14. I am still a little jittery from the experience, even though it was painless.

I showed up early, at around 8:20, not knowing exactly how they schedule small claims cases. I was hoping that I could see the case before mine so that I could get an impression of how the judge handled his cases. I've been in court a few times as a spectator in support of friends in criminal cases and custody cases. But this was the first time I've been to civil court. But small claims cases are handled in cattle call manner. Everyone's case is scheduled for 9 am.

At the outset, Judge Douglas J. Smith took roll of the the plaintiffs and defendants present. There was a case where someone supposedly hadn't paid his previous judgment, but the complainant wasn't there, and he claimed to have paid. The judge considered dismissing the case, but ultimately continued it. There were 4 cases (including mine) where one the defendant was not present. In one of those cases, the defendant had not been served, and the judge granted a continuance so that the plaintiff could serve the notice of small claims. There were 2 cases where neither the plaintiff nor the defendant showed up. I found that odd.

There were three cases where both parties were there. One case had non-English speaking participants, and the interpreter was not there, so they got to go wander around for a half hour or so until the interpreters arrived.

Then the judge left and the King Country Dispute Resolution Center treated us to a spiel about mediation. The people in one case agreed to mediation, and they went off to another room. The other case, the defendant did not want mediation. So back the judge came and the participants were all sworn in, and they began. Basically, a contractor wanted to be paid for his work, and the defendant didn't think he owed any more money. Both sides seemed irritating and self-righteous to me. The contractor had sent a "final bill" for $1300, but then increased the bill to $4300 for "unbilled services" when the guy didn't pay up. Then 9:30 rolled around and the judge interrupted the case so he could process the default judgments.

Sound Ford was first. They had sued Kevin and Ken Teague (2 separate cases) for failing to pay an installment agreement, and for bouncing checks to pay on the installment agreement.

Then came my turn. Judge Smith wanted the bounced check, and a copy of the proof of service. I included a photo of April in the affidavit Jason signed as proof of service. The judge made a snide remark about her letting that photo be taken, cause it shows her sticking her tongue out. She actually looks pretty good in the photo though, and it's really clear what her face looks like, which is why I used that particular photo. That way she can't claim it was served on someone else, which the judge also commented on that fact. I took that as a compliment on my forethought.

Then the clerk handed me the pink copy of my judgment, which included $750 for the check, $300 statutory damages, $5 bank service fee, $21 filing fee, and $52.14 for service. Grand total, $1128.14. Apparently I could also have added $40 to the principal, and I don't get interest from the time she wrote the check. Just from the time of this judgment. So that's about a $100 I didn't get.

So now I have to collect the money. She has 30 days to appeal. If I don't see any money in 30 days, I can put the claim on the civil docket and then I can take steps to garnish wages. I can refer this to collections now that I have a judgment. But that will take out 30% or more from what I recover. A guy on the bus back home told me about a collection agency that will do it for a flat $150 fee, but I don't remember the name of the agency anymore. Short term memory problems. I don't know how much effort I will expend on collecting though. I mostly wanted her to show up and explain why she didn't think she owed me the money. This will go on her credit record and cause problems if she wants to buy something on credit. That is some satisfaction, in case I decide not to pursue collection.

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Choke

I spent the early afternoon with Jessica today. Two thoughts running through my head.

First, Jessica likes me. She may be an incurable flirt and casual dater, but at least she likes me. Since Sunday, she's called me out of the blue 3 times (although once I wasn't home). She makes friends pretty easily, but she's still made a point to call me. She hasn't flirted with me in anywhere near the same way she does with other guys though.

Second, Jessica all but told me to ask her out. We had lunch at a taco bar on Queen Anne that was really really good. Not that mushy crap that most "Mexican" places in Seattle sell. As I left to go to work (oh yeah, I kind of played hooky) at about 2:30, I mentioned that I will have to go to that place again, as it was really good Mexican food. Her response was "And when you do, you should call me, unless you are on a date." My response, "Well, I don't go on many actual 'dates.'" Her retort, while giving me a look was "perhaps you should ask a girl out then." Doh! I should have already asked her out. And I should have asked her out right then. But I choked. Side note to those who say I am not shy.... fooey... this proves otherwise. In my defense, I know she's booked tonight and tomorrow night, as am I for the following weekend. But not coming up with something for another day in a quick pinch like that still constitutes a choke.

So here's the current plan. After I get off work (yep, back there now) around 8 or 9, give her a call and try to time it for around the time she gets off at 10, and see if I can talk her into something for Sunday or for Wednesday Thurs or Fri next week. I have around 6 or 7 hours to think of something good.

I set the security level to something broader than I normally would for this kind of post. It's not exactly confidential, but I just don't like my dating life to be a voyeur sport. In any case, the reason for broadening this to all friends is, send me some ideas. My current idea is to ask her to a picnic kind of thing in the mountains for Sunday. But she works in the morning, so she might not be up for that.

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Stream of Consciousness Butterflies

Is 10 pm too late to call a girl to ask her out? How about if you know she gets off work at 10 pm? I hate this. I was actually accused of not being shy the other day. I was so confident a couple of hours ago. Excuses and reasons not to call are popping up really fast now. Boy, I need to do the dishes. Ack. Perhaps I can just call tomorrow. That's defeatist thinking. That's choking again. fuck fuck fuck why can't I just telepathically communicate this stuff? This would be so much easier if I was a drinker. No inhibitions. Can blame it on the alcohol if it goes badly. just 3 or 4 minutes now. actually gets out of there around 10:10 she claims. didn't want to call earlier and just leave a message cause she couldn't pick up the phone. it would suck if i went through all this crap just to get her voice mail anyway. but it would also be such a relief not to have to actually talk to her. i could just tell her to call me back tomorrow or something. is it really that much easier to do this if I am not the one who is calling? clock now says 10:10. just a couple more minutes. haven't been this jittery over a girl for a long long time. i mean, not since like Christie way back in like 92 when I had to call a friend of mine every day for 30 days to try to talk myself into asker Christie out. noone to do that with now, and who wants to wait 30 days to get asked out. didn't work then. won't work now. perhaps if i hadn't choked earlier today. 10:11. fuck the 1 key doesn't work so well either. are you glad you are reading this shit. won't you be so disappointed if I don't actually call? or will you actually identify with me if I don't? 10:12. wonder if my typing is keeping up with this with few typos. i am still correcting them as I go. 10:13. gonna call at 10:14. tick tick tick. my heart is a bomb. which wire do i cut to defuse the bomb? the red wire or the green wire. fuck fuck. that's what this feels like. those scenes in movies where the timer is going down. 10:14 now. good bye. please pray for me or whatever you do spiritually.

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Yes. I called.

That wasn't so bad. (It never really is.)

Not a definite yes, cause she has a long shift in the morning. And she may be tired. But a good possibility.

I am vibrating now from the adrenaline.

Off to the Mercury now to hang out and talk with a couple of friends for a bit, then to go hang on the beach or somewhere where it can be quiet and I can maybe have a fire.