Bluffton Today Column
January 20, 2010
I woke up last Friday morning to a Google Alert notifying me of the Naughton v. Naughton final divorce hearing in Beaufort County Family Court. As if I didn’t have enough stress surrounding the day’s proceedings, now even my Blackberry has to taunt me?
I spent my drive to the courthouse mumbling under my breath, crying on the phone to an extraordinary friend, and cursing technology. Of course, I was also simultaneously thanking the technology gods for allowing me to listen to my favorite radio personality via satellite during my drive. I was a little out of sorts, to say the least.
I realize that I am a technology addict. I can’t imagine life without the internet, my laptop, my Blackberry or my iPod. Seriously, how did I exist without them? Over Christmas break when the track ball on my beloved b-berry broke I had a momentary panic attack and addressed a series of questions in rapid succession. Do I call IT? Are they in the office? How quickly can I get a new Blackberry? Is it under warranty? Should I go to the Verizon store?
I am over-exposed to technology. We all are. But, I do believe it makes me more efficient and a little smarter in that I know where to go for information and I don’t have to battle the Dewey Decimal system to find it. But, it also makes me - all of us - less personal. We can easily lose our personal connections by hiding behind an email or a Facebook status update.
So, in an ironic twist … while my wake- up call was like something out of “2010: A Space Odyssey,” my divorce hearing was like an episode of Little House on the Prairie. (Well, if Ma and Pa had indeed decided to divorce.) The role of the court – in their not so humble opinion – is to reconcile the husband and wife. Two strangers to the court whom the judge knows nothing about. Smart, right?
I do give them some credit. I mean, if you embarrass easily, the line of questioning may be enough for you to run right back into the arms of your betrothed. In my case, even though I knew the question was coming (special thanks for the heads up from my attorney), I was still taken aback.
“When was the last time that you and your spouse had sexual relations or last co-habitated together?”
Apparently the court system is all about getting personal.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that I had to answer the question. I also had to provide a witness who could swear to the same. So, there sat my brother-in-law – selected as my witness because of the close proximity of his office to the court house – answering whether or not my ex and I had rendezvoused at any point over the last twelve months.
Suffice it to say, my face was as red as a Jersey tomato in July when I marched back down the courthouse steps, a little worse for wear.
I’m thinking it may be time that we update the ol’ South Carolina law books and maybe bring things into the twenty-first century? And, while we are making the bold move to not care about who people live with and/or have sex with we may also want to address why dance halls may not operate on Sundays; why horses may not be kept in bathtubs; why merchandise may not be sold within a half mile of a church unless fruit is being sold; why every adult male must bring a rifle to church on Sunday in order to ward off Indian attacks.
And why, if a man promises to marry an unmarried woman, the marriage must take place.
Um, I’m pretty sure that’s how I got into this mess to begin with.
This column is in no way meant to disparage the wonderful state of South Carolina. Check out www.dumblaws.com for more state law hilarity, even New Jersey.
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