The kid asked if journalism was easy to get into. My first impulse was to ask him, “Why would you want to? The pay is wanting, the prestige minimal and the long hours are often accompanied by low to high levels of stress.” Instead —realizing that some people are just born to be what they are — I told him it depends on the field. Print was easier than TV but the Internet made it possible for just about anyone to be a reporter. He nodded.
The exchange took place outside of a courtroom. We waited on a bench shared by other journalists, a woman who reeked of perfume, bubble gum and hormones, and other people waiting to appear in front of a judge. He was a thick looking kid and his smile disarming, as if he was embarrassed by his interest.
I don’t know why he was there. The rolled up paper in his hand could have been a summons, a receipt or sheet of paper with scribbles on it. I was there to hear what Roman Granados had to say.
Granados is the Chula Vista cop accused recently of manhandling his girlfriend’s teenage son at a school ceremony. Actually, the teen’s dad says Granados choked and punched his boy. The DA, however, charged the officer with battery and cruelty.
Through a lawyer that morning Granados was supposed to enter a plea stating his guilt or innocence. Instead the arraignment was delayed until that afternoon and ultimately postponed until the following month.
“You like it?” the kid asked, presumably referring to the work of a reporter.
A deputy came out of the courtroom and read a long list of names. I wondered what kinds of people he has encountered year after year, working the courts, being in law.
I thought about Granados and wondered if he ever imagined he’d be a defendant after becoming a cop. The police academy prepared him for arrests and weapons handling. What about the scenario he was in now?
I caught a glimpse of a court clerk explaining to someone a procedure she must have explained dozens of times a day every day. For how many days? Weeks? Years?
I watched a harried attorney motion to a man to hurry while he, in baggy pants and work boots, sauntered over without an apparent care in the world.
A man dressed as a plumber was on the phone telling someone to “tell him I’m going to be late. No, I don’t know when. I’ll call when I’m done.”
Two other women, both of them alarmingly pregnant, hobbled by on heels and, laughing, waved their badges at a machine that let them into a secure area.
Every day in the courthouse a wide range of people and professions cross paths and intermingle. The drama is the same though the characters change.
“There are worse jobs,” I told him.
Happy Labor Day. Enjoy your time off from the drama