Sometimes, Drinking Apple
Schnapps Under the Covers Will Do
The wind was blowing way too hard this morning. The kind that knocks your earbuds out of your ears and chills your soul. That was probably my first hint that this day was going to be a Monday falling on a Tuesday. On my route to the Metro, I am accosted by a worker/custodian inside the pharmacy I used for a shortcut. I believe his rant stems from the point where my attaché inadvertently hit a bunch of neatly stacked lady wipes. Well, what are lady wipes doing on display in a store anyways? And why is this guy so angry?? Doesn’t he realize I could be a… I don’t know, a mystery shopper or something??? I really didn’t used to be this… negative.
The train was inevitably late. Tack on another 20 minutes to get to the office. 10:25. I get to work and already see that my pseudo-fancy office phone says I have missed 3 calls. The welcoming red light on the receiver tells me that there is a message awaiting my attention, but honestly, I let that shit pile up. If you need my attention, send me an email or a text. Don’t make me jump through hoops (i.e. press four or five buttons) to let me hear you say, “Can you call me back?” I look through Missed Calls on my phone’s display for the list of needy attorneys. This is odd, nobody normally calls me before, like, eleven. That’s why I’ve started coming in no earlier than ten. While the workday supposedly starts at nine, what the hell am I gonna do for two hours while I ‘patiently’ wait for one of my bosses to urgently call me?
So, I have these three calls. They’re all from one attorney. I’m not sure which is worse in the life of a paralegal: Arriving at 10:25 to find 3 missed calls from one boss all after 9:45, accompanied by an email asking “WHERE ARE YOU???” or another boss candidly telling you that you have a nose hair drifting down towards your upper lip in front of your colleagues. I’ll probably go with the latter, but I should tell you that just by using the second person shouldn’t necessarily incriminate the author of this blog.
Aside from that point, it still is a shitty position to be in. Already yelled at by some stranger before I get to work, now I’m preparing myself to be bitched out by one of the bitchiest associates in the firm. I really wish I knew it came with the territory that becoming a paralegal didn’t mean you would be working for life-changing causes, that you would have some sort of deep relationship with these cases and lawyers, that you would become an Erin Brockovich. The reality is that you unwillingly forfeit your pride and respect for a salary and benefits. You gleefully swing around on the lowest rung on the legal ladder. Like a monkey wearing a fez.
After filling up my 20 oz. mug with three single-serving pods of coffee from the friendly Flavia machine, I decide I have enough courage to press redial. The first thing I hear after I say hello, sorry I didn’t get back to you, I was [fill in suitable lie,] is “I know you don’t really get in after 10, so I didn’t think to call before then.”
Pat yourself on the back for that one.
“But this is actually important. We need you to go down to the DC Court of Appeals to file an emergency pleading.”
“Five minutes ago.”
I should have expected that one. This is the first time I’ve filed at this courthouse and after a year of working as a paralegal, I have too much pride to ask where it is. Instead, Google Maps would be my savior. I gather the pleadings and documents from my boss and head down to street level. I take out my only friend, the iPhone, and plug in “DC Court of Appeals” into the Maps app. That’s funny. Two different locations pop up with the exact same name. I guess it’s time for Russian Roulette. I pick one randomly and hope it’s the one that won’t lead to my head being blown off in the end.
I call for a cab and tell Mr. Driver the address. He takes me there and I walk into the huge courthouse. I am taken through security, which is just as strict as airport TSA except that along with the ability to strip search you, they also confiscate your phone and lock it up. As normal protocol, I ask the completely uninterested guard where the Clerk’s office is and he kinda points down the hall for me. So I stumble aimlessly down this half-mile long corridor, looking both ways every step until I see a small door saying “clerks office.”
I walk in, unload the big box and present all the items in an organized fashion. The lady, just as knackered as the guard, looks at me after going through everything and mentions I’m in the wrong court. Not even knowing where I am (remember, I was suppose to be somewhere 5 minutes ago) I ask her where these pleadings are suppose to go. She says, the DC Court of Appeals. I say I thought that’s where I was. She says, nope, wrong office. Fuck!
7 minutes until deadline for filing.
Since I don’t have my phone and I’m now completely lost at what to do next, I run back to the security station and have to beg the guard to give me the phone behind the 38th Parallel so I can call my boss. He asks me which building I’m in, I tell him I thought I was in the Court of Appeals.
“DC Court of Appeals or Court of Appeals of DC??!?”
I should remark that off the bat he is screaming at me. Not yelling. Not barking. Screaming. So loud that I hear two other voices suddenly in the background having to calm him down. While one attempts to alleviate this erupting volcano, the other voice coolly asks where I am and confirms I am in the right building, but funny enough, the Appeals Court happens to be on a different level. Another pat on the back, Mr. Paralegal. So I, again, run through the courthouse until I get to my final destination. I get to the Clerk’s office and for the first time that day I encounter some decent people. They help me with the documents and then look at me and ask me for the fee.
The fee? What fee? I wasn’t told about a fee…
“Okay, how much is it?” As I start pulling my wallet full of one dollar bills out of my back pocket.
2 minutes til deadline.
That, in a nutshell is the life I lead every day. People wonder why I sleep throughout the weekend and drink vodka nonstop.