Thursday, November 14, 2013

Law and Order

I recently found myself needing an attorney.

I've never hired one, so I didn't really know what I was supposed to say when I called numerous law offices.

I also thought that maybe I was crazy and didn't actually need legal guidance.

One attorney that I contacted quelled those fears and told me undoubtedly I needed some protection. We were all set to go into an agreement when he had an unexpected medical emergency and had to back out.


...And on the back burner the finding-an-attorney dream went.

That is, until I was asked to sign an affidavit that sounded pretty fishy to me.

Mentioning this to my boss, I was instructed to stop everything, and find an attorney that day.

Making calls, the first office I called told me they couldn't help me because I needed a specific kind of attorney.

The second law office, upon hearing my tale of woe, asked me to come in immediately.

My boss prepped me that I'd only have 15 minutes with the guy, so come prepared and expect to pay $250.

And off this girl went.

I waited in the lobby, hearing a variety of depressing songs, anxiously awaiting my turn, nervous and preparing what I would say. My legal dilemma you see, is a very long tale.

At long last, we met. I'm about an inch taller than my prospective attorney, but at this point, it doesn't matter. He's got the required initials after his name that I needed to utilize, and so I told him my sad story.

Somehow though, my story kept getting turned around into personal matters, (mine and his) how I got involved in medicine, discovering that we had many mutual acquaintances, being married (or not being married) divorce, affairs, the whole shebang.

Admittedly, I was worried that the short amount of time that we  actually spent discussing my legal matter was stretching into hours of personal conversation. I was imagining the bill I would be receiving.

Until my future attorney said:
"Sarah, you need a cheerleader, and I'm going to volunteer".

Now, does "volunteer" mean what I think it means?
vol·un·teer noun \ˌvä-lən-ˈtir\
: a person who does work without getting paid to do it

Our meeting continued, and while he spent a lot of time staring at me and asking me what I'm thinking when there were long stretches of awkward silence, I tried not to look deeply in the matter.

Honestly, I've been kicked pretty hard lately and have no memory of what it's like to be treated decently by the outside world.

Also, I forgot my lip balm, so I spent most of the meeting trying to moisten my lips without appearing seductive (Is this real? Why do I have burned into my mind somewhere that licking your lips appears sexy, even if unintentionally?)

He also kept telling me that the Universe is in charge. The Universe this, the Universe that. Apparently, everything comes down to the stinking Universe and how it decides this, that, and the other thing. Great. I'm really excited to leave the fate of my life in the hands of planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, and all matter and energy.

At the end of our meeting, still unsure about pricing, I asked "Is this going to cost me a million dollars?"

He patted me on the back and said "Don't worry about it; I've got you covered."

Okay, okay, the meeting was odd, and I certainly didn't anticipate 2.5 hours of fun-in-the-sun talking, but how is an attorney/client meeting supposed to go? All I know about attorneys is from watching Law and Order and that really didn't prepare me for anything in life.

I recall thinking during our meeting "Man, if this were a date, I'd be telling all my friends that it went really well! Two and a half hours of talking! I think we hit it off!"

When I mentioned the details of my meeting to a co-worker, she asked if I clarified to my attorney:
"I'm sorry, I didn't plan on paying you with sex."

Four days passed, and I received an email that was incredible. For the first time since my legal dilemma began, I had someone on my side who had the ability to defend me. Things were well on their way to getting resolved, hallelujah.

Today, I returned to my attorney's office to sign some papers.

The paperwork sitting in front of me, I keep waiting to actually sign the blasted document.

But our conversation went into how I'm doing, to what I do for fun (Decidedly, I hate this question. It always leads into troubling matters. Is this a guy's secret weapon question? When all else fails ask a girl what she does for fun?)

And into "Sarah is really boring" mode I go, where I explain that while I have a select group of peeps, I much prefer being by myself. Alone. In silence. I do this intentionally, like an insect who pretends that it is dead. Defense mechanism. I create an even more boring version of myself than you would think humanly possible.

He responds that he too is just like me. He prefers a low-key life. In fact, he just read an article that spoke to his heart. It was about how he just doesn't find people to be all that interesting.

Great! The matter is settled then.

This is when we begin discussing the great flood of 2013 and the marriages that crumbled apart because of it.

He tells me that it really makes you start wondering about what "Till death do us part" actually means, and why so many people do not take it literally.

He tells me about how secret communication, texting, sexting, and emailing all leads to the destruction of wedded bliss.

He tells me you graduate college, you're young and full of yourself, you're full of hormones, you marry someone, spend 25 years raising kids that you've created and when they're grown and gone, you find yourself eating dinner with a virtual stranger and all you can think is "Ew. You are not my type" and just like that, their interests are no longer yours, their dreams are not your dreams, nothing about the two of you is the same anymore and you have no idea what even brought you together in the first place.

He tells me "I'm sorry, it looks like I burst your bubble."
I tell him I'm speechless. Because really, what can I say? I've never been married, and while I'm not  living in denial that marriages fall apart, I'm just here to sign some papers and go on my merry way, not feel depressed.
Then he asks: "But the real question is, how do you feel about children?"
And so, I give him my thoughts on marriage and children.
And then I wonder "Why am I telling my attorney how I feel about marriage and children?"

He gently starts asking questions about my dating life, since I expressed concerns over my life (you know, because of this legal issue). I begin stuttering. I can no longer speak English. I say something about "interpersonal communication with people" Hello, oxymoron.
Finally, when he hears his next client comes in, he asks if I'm ready to sign said documents.
I sign, and I thank him for the work he's done for me.
He says "Let's go out to lunch next week to celebrate."
Hey guys? There's nothing to celebrate. No court case, no arrest, no suing, no damage transpired.
The blood drains from my face. A first! Usually, it runs straight to my face and I look like a loblolly (a new word I learned; definition here)

My response was somewhere along the lines of:

I'm really, really bad at turning people down.

I don't even know what is going on anymore.

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