VIVA LA JOY. (_bulldoze) wrote,

Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation.

Approximately six hundred and sixty miles west, or about ten hours drive at an average speed of seventy five miles per hour from Burlington, Vermont... is Neverland's exact parallel universe. We call this place the Twilight Zone, or, Garrett County, Maryland. And if ever you find yourself on a long drive west, through the states in route, I recommend strongly that the wheels of your car and the balls of your feet and the slightly mischievous tendencies of your otherwise average lifestyle do not experience the soil of this bizarre place.

To Garrett County, Maryland, the average is unacceptable and the exciting may as well be illegal. Half of it belongs to the family restaurants and their homemade pies of every fruit and flavor. Inside these restaurants is dirty carpeting, fat bellies (but not from beer--from all the pie), more family recipes than someone like me would have any clue what to do with, and a Southwest accent, even though we're only in Maryland here. The waitresses call you Hun and put their hand on your shoulder when they ask how everything is, and it seems nobody knows how to treat the odd stranger.

The other half of Garrett County belongs to the Courthouse. No seriously, this courthouse literally takes up about half the town. And with the way they practice their definitions of lawful and unlawful, the size seems not a square foot too large. Law in itself is a little dance that the lawyers do with the judges; all a game of mice in a maze and those smart enough to spot an untied shoelace can only sit back and hope it doesn't turn to mayhem with the trip of another fat and jerky lawyer falling at the feet of the fat and pretentious judge. In a place like Garrett County Maryland, onlookers only hope for smooth sailing in the court room, because the slightest misstep is jail time. Possession of cocaine is jail time. An unregistered car is jail time. Resonated pipes are jail time. Dreadlocks are jail time. Breathing loudly is jail time. In a quick conversation with another guy who was to be in attendance at the courthouse at the same time as my sister, we were instructed not to come back to this place unless it was absolutely required, because the slogan of this small town in Maryland was well-known as "Come on vacation, leave on probation."

And such a reputation makes sense, as on a quiet Wednesday in humble Garrett County, half the town and about thirty people from elsewhere, United States, occupied the courtroom and smelled the wafting of their sweaty underarms while the judge ripped at them for committing a crime that was, in most cases, the elementary school equivalent of sticking chewing gum underneath the desk. What a weird place it was, and we dared not condemn the seriousness of their system or speak of our massive urge to smoke a fat joint until we had safely ventured a few miles past the "Now Leaving Garrett County" sign. In the five hours spent in the Twilight Zone, I witnessed a place where unruliness is simply not tolerated, and there is less lenience on the streets of Garrett County, Maryland, than in jail itself.

Travelers, consider yourselves warned.

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