Civil Litigation makes me sad
as is the usual problem in life, nothing in life turns out
to be as dramatic as you invision it. well, actually this
is probably just a problem if you're keeping an online
journal of your life and you wish that something incredible
would happen to you just so that you could fill the pages of
your journal with truly amazing adventures.
but it was not so. i thought that, upon telling my boss
that i was quitting, i would be in the midst of a herculean
rage. him throwing deskbooks at me, cursing my mother, my
father, my lineage, and finally me and anyone who looked
but no, instead, he took the news with the utmost grace,
even saying sommething to the effect of, "well, you gotta do
what's right for you, i wish you well."
so anyway, i am winding up my two weeks with him as i
anxiously await news from my dream job. ugh, just writing
that makes me sick with anxiety. anyhow.
yesterday he decided to make a "housecall" this is basically
where he goes to the client's place of abode and just does
legal work for them there.
so i drove with him to the outskirts of the city, finally
easing up next to what appeared to be a newly built
a background on this case. the lady living here had bought
a condominium (not the one that we went to) under her
sister's name. i can hear you thinking...whaaaaaaaaat?
well the problem was that, although she was a willing and
able buyer, she couldn't get any credit.
so, she got her sister to buy the apartment, take out the
loan, and sign all the papers.
long story short. her sister owns the condominium and is
responsible for all mortgage payments.
seems cut and dry right?
of course the fuck not, this is the law.
so, since our client basically "owned" the condominium,
because she was the one who actually made the mortgage
payments, lived there, and made all renovations and general
upkeep there got to be a situation in which her sister (who
had LEGAL title) decided taht she wanted her sister out (who
has EQUITABLE title).
you can guess what kind of jerry spring turn this took.
so there i entered the condo where we were meeting her. i
noticed right away that thsi was the kind of condo that,
although new, wasn't really the "posh" kind. the pool
outfront was filled even in early march, there was already
that grimy, rusty look to everything, and just generally, it
seemed to lack that "wow" factor that rich people's condos
so i entered into the condo and i took a good luck around.
it was nicely decorated, a little bit too old stylish for
me, but overall quite nice. i was immediately confronted by
a dog who stuck his nose directly in my crotch and lifted
up. i kindly push him away and found a hand sticking out at
me. the hand was attached to a middle-height woman, who was
"the legal intern, i presume?"
so she ushered us in and offered us a beverage, which turned
out to be a problem. i didn't want anything. the attorney
quickly took a glass of water while i said i was okay. but
she wouldn't let it go, she was flitting around the kitchen
brushing off each one of my declines as if they were
bothersome fruit flies, it got to a point where the attorney
gave me this look of, "for christ's sake just get some
water," at which point i took the proffered diet coke.
it was then that i realized how extremly nervous she was.
so as we sat down and listened to her sob story in all of
the gory details i had the chance to look around the condo
some mroe. i noticed a picture stand with about 8 pictures
in it. each one had a teenage girl in it who didn't seem at
all pleased to be in any of the pictures.
the first one was of her in some sort of tie and blouse
giving to the camera man what was apparently her best
imitation of a smile.
the second she was with her mom (our client) in a somewhat
haphazard embrace. the third she was with some elderly guy
who looked like he was her grandfather (which i would have
thought was the case had it not been for subsequent pictures
with even OLDER people in them).
i finally zoned back in from the pictures to listen to the
soap opera unfold. apparently what had happened was that
our client's ex-husband had slept with her sister. after
the ensuing messy divorce, the sister and ex-husband decided
to "screw her" and take back the condo.
you couldn't make this shit up.
and all the while as she was talking about her ex-husband
the thing that pained me the most, as i watched her
wistfully recount their relationship as she stroked her
dog's head, was that she really seemed to still love him.
it started to make me really sad. you could see that, right
beneath her righteous indignation for all of the ills that
her ex had heaped upon her, the bond of 19 years was just
too much to snap the string of endearment just because of
what had recently happened.
so as she sat there mournfully recalling all of the
painstaking details of her condo hunt the front door opened
and slammed so loudly that i almost spilled diet coke all
over the table.
the daughter of the pictures was home.
the dog happily ran around the corner into the entrance
hall. i heard the excited sniffling of the dog and
subsequently, "jesus christ! get the fuck offa me!
MOOOOOOM, can you get your dog away from me?"
the girl turned the corner to the sound of what seemed like
the burden of a million chains caste upon her shoulders. as
i looked up that she was indeed wearing chains. they were
attached to a leather jacket which were in turn attached to
what appeared to be a spiked collar.
she stopped like a rabbit in the open plains, her keen
cynicism twitched and she immediately assessed the
situation, rolled her eyes and sauntered into the kitchen.
"amanda...could you say hello to my attorney and his assistant."
assistant? that made me sound like i was on a fucking
"i did when i came in, didn't you hear me?" and as she was
saying this i coudl hear her opening the freezer,
"don't tell me we're out of bagel bites."
"i didn't know we were."
"well if you're hungry have a banana."
at this amanda pushed all her weight up onto the kitchen
counter thus making her chains clink and clank as they fell
upon the linoleum, "where's paul?"
paul was apparently our client's "new" husband and also the
elderly man in teh photographs.
"he's always golfing."
for some reason this seemed to make our client really
uncomfortable, almost as if to signal, 'he's not really
always golfing we do hang out a good deal.'
but as she stroked the dog's head and looked away sadly, i
could tell that this wasn't the case.
she looked up meekly at us and with a thin smile said,
"i'm trying to learn how to golf...not very good at it, i
get too frustrated."
all the while i sat there just envisioning this woman
sitting in this condominium, bitterly and yet sadly thinking
about the havoc her ex and sister were reaking upon her out
of pure spite. i imagined her sitting there day in and day
out as her daughter was off at the hardware store or god
knows where someone hangs out with that much metal, her
"new" husband playing golf, thinking about her ex and how
things had turned out.
i just thought about her watching tv, anxiously hoping that
there was a new episode of CSI on rather than re-run, with
the dog's head ever present in her lap, and i just felt sad.
really really sad.
i hope that her life isn't as sad as i make it out to be in
my mind, that somewhere, somehow paul does indeed hang out
with her, that her daughter was just having her "i'm a dick
and a teenager" day.
but as i sat there watching her anxiously recount all of the
travails to which she had been subjected, while feverishly
running her hands through her dog's thick fur, i got the
horrible feeling that this was her life. sitting in a condo
with noone to talk with but her dog.
i need to get out of civil litigation.