September 3, 2014 § 28 Comments
I had been standing out in front of the courthouse for more than an hour, “discussing” the facts of her case with a client.
“When did you first talk to him?” I asked her.
“One month ago.”
“And that was the first you ever heard of it?”
“And this lawyer never called you before then?”
“And you never got any mail from him?”
“Oh, no. Never.”
“So how did you find out about it?”
“Well, about a year ago this lawyer called and told us to pay.”
“I thought you said you first heard of it a month ago?”
“I did? It was a year ago.”
“Okay. Did you talk to anyone about it more than a year ago?”
“So what happened when the lawyer called you a year ago and told you to pay?”
“I told him I wasn’t gonna pay because we had already told him that.”
“Already? So you had spoken with him before?”
“Yes. About two years ago.”
It was one of those days. I left the courthouse pretty beaten down and drove along Maple to Torrance. At the light there were two cars with their flashers on. A big, white Mercedes SUV had crumpled the rear of a little Ford Transit that was wrapped with a logo saying “Prestige Auto Collision Centers.” Some stuff you can’t make up.
Instead of driving their cars into the capacious parking lot by the courthouse, the drivers simply left their cars at the place of impact, blocking the right lane. They leisurely stood around taking pictures while the rest of us got into the middle lane. The left lane was for left turns only.
I was the first car at the light, and it took forever. My mind was wandering. “Why don’t they move their cars? Why won’t my client pick a story and stick with it? What kind of beer should I grab at BevMo? What’s for dinner? My armpits itch.”
The light turned green and I had to make a right turn in front of the mashed-up Transit. My blinker was on, and Prius-like I slowly eased ahead and began to turn. Thankfully my window was down, because just as I committed to the turn a voice shrieked in the window.
It was a biker on a fixie, no helmet, splitting the tiny space between my car and the Transit, going straight through the intersection at full speed as I tried to turn right. Reflexively I smashed the brake. The biker shot by, missing the front of my turning car by inches. He turned around towards me, mid-intersection, and flipped me off.
I was shaking.
The driver in the car on my left yelled at me. “That fuggin’ idiot! What the hell was he doing? Good job, man!”
“No,” I said. “That was my fault. I should have looked.”
“With what? The eyes in the back of your head?” The driver shook his head and I drove off.
“So that’s what it’s like,” I thought, still trembling, “when you wear the shoe on the other foot.”
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