So if you ever want to feel totally awkward, take a divorce education class. No one wants to be there, no one wants to look at anyone else, no one wants to ask a question, no one wants to answer a question, no one wants to draw attention to themselves. The experience was surreal.
It was rainy and dark when I arrived at the 2nd District Court downtown. I parked on Grant Avenue, where people had begun gathering to view Christmas Village. I remembered the last time I’d been to Christmas Village, with my brother Chris and his family. Last year perhaps? We’d wandered through the brightly lit walkways, peering into miniature houses decorated by local businesses, sipping hot chocolate, watching the kids chase each other. No Village tonight. I was by myself. I was running out of time to take the mandatory divorce education class; tonight’s class was the last opportunity before my 30 days was up.
This was my third trip to the courthouse: the first was on September 28th, when I filed for divorce; the second was November 16th, when I filed changes to the papers. Now, December 6, 2012, I’d arrived with my $55 cash and my case number. As I went through security, I set off the alarm: too much jewelry? too many metal staples in my Dansko clogs? The police officer told me to “step away from the counter” and lift up my pantlegs so he could see my shoes. I approached the counter instead. He repeated his command, more emphatically this time, and I finally understood, stepped back, and raised my pant legs. Then he took my purse, placed on the conveyer belt to run it through the xray machine again, and asked me to show him my cell phone and iPod. He let me proceed to the information desk. There, I fumbled for my ID, my money, and my case number. I grabbed the “Parents in Divorce” handbook and found the stairs that would lead me to Courtroom 3D.
Once there, I spotted a less-populated row in front and chose a spot with at least three vacant seats on either side.
(more to come later)