Arthur Spooner, Bailiff Byrd, boyfriend, broken window, Carrie Heffernan, cell phone bill, couples fighting, court, date, dating, Doug Heffernan, first date, girlfriend, Judge Judy, Judy Sheindlin, King of Queens, lawsuit, single, singleness
I barely made it home from work today. After several 12-hour work days and several more on the horizon at the hands of a strict project deadline, my brain is on overload. I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I’m not complaining; it’s just part of the ebb and flow of my job, and I know it will get better in just a few short days. But as I walked home from the train using my little, colorful umbrella to ward off a torrential downpour, all I longed for was my couch and a couple episodes of meaningless television. That’s the maximum that my brain can handle tonight, anyway.
After I literally dropped my bags and keys at the door, I plopped down on the couch and let out a deep sigh. Before I knew it, I was laughing as Doug was brainwashing Arthur to brainwash Carrie to order take-out every night from the places Doug likes. (Genius, that Doug Heffernan.)
As I started to relax, I thought about what I could blog about. With my recent schedule, there has definitely been no date-related material to share. (Unless you consider my Sunday afternoon chats with the weekend security guard at my office building a date.) So in my fuzzy mental state, I made a deal with myself:
Challenge: Find one show and watch it. No matter what it’s about, find some way to apply it to life and dating.
Um… blog challenge accepted!
And with that I was off, the remote control taking on a life of its own as it scoured through way too many channels for any one human being. Finally I landed on something both intriguing and horrifying, both insightful and idiotic. I landed smack dab in the middle of Judge Judith Sheindlin’s courtroom.
Yep, you heard me right: Judge Judy!
After the usual witty banter between Judge Judy and Bailiff Byrd, we meet the usual suspects.
The plaintiff: Joshua says his ex-girlfriend Sarah broke his bedroom window while she was harassing him in the middle of the night. He’s suing for damages to the window.
The defendant: Sarah says Joshua wouldn’t text her back or open the front door when she stopped by. She’s countersuing for a cell phone bill.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much got this case figured out already just based on the introductory monologue. (To think the extent of my law education is watching Law & Order: SVU and Legally Blonde. I’m a natural!) But Judge Judy is nothing if not thorough. Let’s hear both sides.
Joshua appears to have come prepared. He’s got photos of the window and repair estimates. It was a big window, folks.
Sarah claims the window was already cracked. She says they needed to talk to Joshua to resolve something about a cell phone bill, but he wouldn’t answer the door at one o’clock in the morning. How rude! I mean, they had been arguing over text earlier in the day. Why did he stop responding to her texts? How were they supposed to resolve things?
Judge Judy asks where Sarah was when she was doing all this texting.
Sarah: I was actually out at a restaurant with a friend.
Judge Judy: Girlfriend or male friend?
Sarah: A girlfriend.
Judge Judy: So you were texting him while you were out for dinner?
Judge Judy: Don’t you people know that’s rude?
Classic Judge Judy! She goes off on a rant about texting while in the presence of others… and texting at the movie theater. And I agree with every word. The wisdom she holds behind that black cape and little white neck doily is deep.
Back to the case. Judge Judy questions whether or not Sarah had been drinking at the restaurant before she stumbled over to Joshua’s house in the wee hours of the morning. Sarah denies she drank at all, but Judge Judy finds that hard to believe. Sarah insists that the reason she was at the restaurant so late is because they had a free taco bar from ten o’clock until midnight. Fair enough, Sarah. Valid point.
Then Sarah tells her tale of the night’s events after she arrived at Joshua’s house:
- She rang the front doorbell. No answer.
- She knocked on the side sliding door. No answer.
- She called him on his cell phone. She heard it ringing. No answer.
- She went around to his bedroom window. Knocked on the window. (She, of course, noticed that the bedroom window was already damaged.)
Judge Judy reviews the window repair estimate, which totals $1,110.80. What is this? The Sistene Chapel?
Regardless, Joshua called the cops.
Three months later, Sarah returns to his house. I mean, they still hadn’t resolved the cell phone bill issue, people! Those free nights and weekends aren’t always free, you know!
Joshua called the cops again.
Sarah is really concerned. They went to Verizon together and got a shared cell phone plan. Now he’s not paying his half. What kind of relationship is this?
Judge Judy has had enough of this circus. She rules in favor of the plaintiff for $1,110.80 to repair the window. The countersuit is dismissed, and Judge Judy marches off to her chambers, her hair not blowing in the wind at all.
Lessons learned today:
- Being a court stenographer is really hard. My fingers couldn’t keep up.
- Bailiff Byrd may have the best job of all time.
- Don’t speak in Judge Judy’s court when it’s not your turn! She must have shushed them 50 times.
And I guess the biggest lessons learned were stated by both the defendant and the plaintiff themselves during the closing interviews, brilliantly edited together as follows (verbatim!):
Sarah: Ultimately, I called an end to it.
Joshua: She broke up with me while she pounded on my windows.
Sarah: I realized that he had anger issues.
Joshua: When somebody doesn’t return your phone calls…
Sarah: Control issues… and it just kind of dwindled away.
Joshua: You need to stop calling, and maybe not go over their house.
Sarah: I learned to not get into a relationship too fast…
Joshua: Oh, anytime, I’ll say it on TV…
Sarah: And to not trust people.
Joshua: Sarah, do not come to my house ever again.
Judge Ruth’s closing remarks:
To all the unmarried folks in the courtroom of this blog, hear me loud and clear when I say these two things:
- If someone doesn’t answer your texts, don’t try to break into his house in the middle of the night. That is not a reasonable response.
- More importantly, don’t get a cell phone plan together if you’re not married! This also goes for house deeds, apartment leases, and shared ownership of cute little puppies or carrot juicers. I’ve seriously never seen these situations end well.
[Insert loud bang of gavel here.]