If you want the experience of buying a new computer but don’t have the money, do what we did: Allow it to be stolen, hope the police recover it, then wait six months while the wheels on the justice bus go round and round. When you finally get it back, it feels like you went to the store and bought a new one!
In the meantime, for a thoroughly depressing experience, go to your town’s Court of Common Pleas and hang out for about four hours. The drama there is strangely muffled. On one hand you sense important things are happening. The steady parade of people in suits following arcane rules of procedure give everything an air of slow but determined justice.
On the other hand, everyone always seems to be waiting. For someone else to show up. For this file to be delivered. For the judge to return from recess. Mostly everyone looks bored out of their minds. Someone before you passed the time by scrawling UNCLE SAM HATES YOU into the back of a courtroom bench. Out in the hallway people pace or text or just sit and stare. You get lulled into a state of perpetual anticipation without a clear idea of what to expect. So when something does happen — a man is sentenced and escorted in handcuffs into the hallway where two women, one black and one white, who have been waiting for him suddenly burst into tears — it unsettles the tedium. You can’t help but feel uncomfortable. Should I acknowledge this? Or should I keep staring at my feet? “Ain’t no sense in crying,” someone sighs as the women walk away down the hall still tearful and leaning into one another.