The Way Things Are






Oh. I guess I did NOT
2005-05-20, 10:57 p.m.

Oh. I guess I did NOT see you on Monday like I said, did I? I had a trial. Yep. More legal bullshit to deal with. How much can one girl take?

So, there was this lawsuit, see? And it wouldn’t settle, and two attempts at mediation didn’t work, so there was a trial. I was in the county seat of another county 2 hours away from where I live for 4 days, sitting in the most mind-numbingly boring, tedious, and frustrating show of lawyerly one-upmanshipism that you could ever have the misfortune to witness.

My lil foundation was the plaintiff in the original lawsuit (general contractor absconds with last construction draw, subs are pissed and subsequently file liens, so I have to sue the general, of course), but it became so convoluted and confusing that there were other plaintiffs besides me, and criminal charges, and exemplary something, and cross-this and interlocutory-that. AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT INTERLOCUTORY MEANS!!! Go ahead, ask me about liens. I am a freaking expert now. OK, I take that back because it will surely come back to BITE ME IN THE BUTT if I ever again spend 6 hours on the witness stand being interrogated about liens, and retainage, and Texas property codes, and contracts.

I know nothing of these liens. Nothing, I tell you.

Never fear, my sweet pets. I gave as good as I got. Because there is nobody as good at arguing about technicalities than I. I have finally found a true talent, a calling if you will (and you know you will, you devil), besides faxing and filing. I am an expert witness! I argued, and rolled my eyes, and refused to be SUCKED into the cleverly crafted and woven sentences that these attorneys (and there were 12 all taking their turns with me, and I with them) used to lay traps for me, so that they could shout AH HAH! SO YOU WILL ADMIT….whatever it is they are trying to get me to say so that I will make their case for them and we can all go home.

I just refused. They had me read portions of contracts to them, written by lawyers, for lawyers. I did. I refused to interpret them for them, though. I asked one of the lawyers, the most tedious one, whether he thought I had a pair of lawyer glasses I could put on to interpret this sentence for him. I told I could tell him what it meant grammatically, but legally, no. He told me that he doesn’t even like his own lawyer glasses.

Another lawyer tried to make me admit to something or other being “a goodly number” of whatever it was. I told him I don’t know how much a goodly number is, and that I would not say there was a goodly number of anything, because for all I knew, he would come back and tell me that there was actually a fair number, or a moderate number. Everyone laughed, and he apologized.

I was waiting for one of them to ask me why I depended on my attorneys to draft the legal documents, so that I could reply that I trust my attorneys, and if attorneys can’t be trusted, what does that say for all the clients these guys are representing.

Alas, I was thwarted in my quest to really insult them. As it was, I just stuck to thwarting them in their efforts to make me so very stupid. I looked only moderately stupid. However, I frustrated them and did not allow them to make me make their cases for them, and my own attorney was greatly and wonderfully impressed and thankful.

I do believe that the court reporter might have caught me muttering under my breath “Oh Jesus Christ, not this again” sometime about the 4th or 5th hour when I was asked for the forty bazillionth time to read a certain passage out some random document.

There were 75 exhibits, all documents, by the way. All of which we examined in excruciating detail. I was really sad that there were no fun exhibits: no gun, no shattered skull, no blood spatter analysis.

At one point, the judge asked if there were any more exhibits to be offered into evidence – I think this was sometime Thursday afternoon – and I swear, I had just about suffered a mental break from the boredom and tedium. I cam thisclose to offering him “How about this shoe? This pen? A piece of gum? I could present you with a large shit, perhaps?”

I didn’t, but it would make for a good story, wouldn’t it?

You know what’s weird about these kinds of legal things? It’s like that old cartoon with the sheepdog and the wolf (or was he a coyote?) You know, the one where they are friends, greet each other in the morning, clock in, and become sworn enemies. The dog goes to protect his herd, and the wolf goes to try to eat the sheep, and they spend all day fighting to the death. And when the whistle blows, they clock out, tell each other good night, and go about their separate business.

It’s so hard to bring the two sides of my brain together like these lawyers do. They are at each other’s throats during the proceedings, and slapping each other on the back out in the hallway. I had lawyers who I would assume hate my guts by the way they worked me over on the stand, tell me later that I was just such a great witness. That part is hard for me.

Part of all this makes me so sad, too, because I was friends with this general contractor. He and his son ran the business, and I really liked them. The son came to our fishing tournament the year that construction was going on, even. I was so happy to see them, and so sad that we were suing them and going after criminal charges on the dad.

Oh! There was this one lawyer who had the most ALARMING toupee ever in the world’s history of bad rugs. It was just alarming. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. My own attorney caught me staring at it and had to stifle a laugh. I just wanted to jump up and YANK it off his head and maybe run around with it in my mouth, like the dog. Show off my prize.

It’s over, I’m not permanently insane from it, and life seems to be back to what we call normal around here.

I swear I’ll never leave you like that again, my little chickens.

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