Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
100 Things I Like
When I first started creating a list of things I hated, I was bored at work, in a bad mood, and had no idea I could really come up with 100. One of the comments to that post said something about looking forward to my list of 100 things I like. My gut reaction was "Dude, I'm WAY too negative a person to like 100 things!" But in thinking about it on my way to work last week, maybe I do. So (duck to avoid corniness) let's find out together, shall we?
3. Just kidding about number two.
4. Wow, not even up to five and already cheating; that can't be a good sign.
4. When the sun feels like a blanket on my body
5. Green (duh)
6. Yogurt (see above)
7. Knowing peoples ages, middle names, and sibling order
8. Good lawyers
9. Good shrinks
10. Excellent customer service
11. Poland Spring Water
12. Not to go all A-Team on you, but "I love it when a plan comes together!"
13. Pea coats
14. Hot Sox
15. The number seven
16. The song Seven
17. Seeing grownups (especially ones dressed in business attire) run
18. Seeing people trip
20. Stuttering (yeah, I know, I'm going to hell in a hand basket. Just make the hand basket green)
21. Winning arguments without losing the core relationships
22. Working through difficult things and coming out stronger
23. Finishing projects
24. GEEK ALERT - doing my taxes (I think it's a pride thing?)
25. Problem solving
26. Reading good blogs
27. Reading in general
28. Watching the ocean
29. Learning and applying things I didn't previously know
30. Seeing other people run into old friends and get all excited.
31. The feeling I get when my plane touches down in New York
32. Driving (in a convertible sure is fun)
33. Getting sincere compliments
34. Building relationships with neighborhood proprietors
35. Having people other than my immediate family as a support system
36. Finding a new food I like
37. Talking to my Grandpa.
38. Going for walks
39. Good music
40. Being creative
41. Getting compliments from people who impress me
42. Having my hair straight
43. Making people laugh
44. Those dreams I have when I design entire houses, ballets, or wardrobes.
45. When I'm laying out in the sun and about to move to the shade because the sun is too hot, but a small breeze comes to cool me off, and it allows me to stay where I am.
46. When I find good presents for friends and family.
47. When I get bonus presents.
49. Truth tables
50. Applying new things I've learned
51. More reality tv than I care to admit
52. Movies that make me change the way I see the world (gay cowboys, anyone?!)
53. Post-its that aren't pale yellow
55. Hand-written notes and cards
56. That my brother will understand when nobody else will.
57. That my friends judge me for who I am now, not who I was 14 years ago.
58. Blogging and getting comments on my blog
59. Caller ID (can't believe I ever lived without it)
60. High quality hugs (not everyone can give them)
61. Pens that write smoothly
62. Mix CDs
64. Finding out what I was told are weird quirks of mine to be squashed and beaten out of me and therapized to death are really, just quirks that someone else somewhere in the world also has.
65. Kraft mac & cheese - nothing says cheese like fluorescent yellow!
66. Learning different points of view.
67. Falling in love with a song.
68. Rings, even though I only have two and a half, and never wear them.
69. Pretty flowers
70. The smell of Passover foods cooking in my mother's kitchen.
71. Mount Tam
72. The leather bracelet from Africa I've had since middle school (that I'm wearing as I write this)
73. Cool ring tones
74. Raspberry humentashen (if you're in NY, feel free to send me some; I'll blog about it)
75. Brandon Walsh's ability to always know the perfect thing to say in every situation (some people have WWJD, but I have WWBW do)
76. Being a bicentennial baby
77. Being able to diagnose people
78. Funky Band-Aids
79. Taking chances trusting people and realizing later my gut instinct lead me well
80. How good I’ve gotten at shopping at Trader Joe’s
81. Being able to do well at work
82. Making people feel good
83. Cooking a meal for the first time and having it come out exactly as I intended it to
84. Figuring out how to get to a new place via mass transit
85. Silly voicemails from friends waiting for me when I turn my cell phone on after a long day at work (thank you, J!)
86. Impressing my bosses
87. Taking other people clothing shopping (I’m quite good at it)
88. The tv show Blow Out
89. Getting to the Farmer’s Market before it gets crowded
90. Three-day weekends
91. Crunchy fall leaves (non-existent in SF)
92. Being able to give directions to people who ask
93. When the Bank of America teller offers me a lollipop
94. When my hair looks good
95. Arguing with someone smarter than I am and winning
96. When people on the telephone identify themselves (I don’t care that there’s caller ID – it’s the right thing to do)
97. Mini cannolis from NY (again, you send them, I’ll blog about it)
98. Summer fruits
99. Fashion magazines from the UK
100. Knowing there are a solid 100 things in the world that I like
Friday, May 26, 2006
Returning To the Scene of the Burn
When it was decided (not by me, obviously) we would go to the same restaurant I was taken to for Administrative Professional's Day, I thought about trying to find a different restaurant. I was not looking forward to a repeat performance of the awful sunburn I got there. But I am not a fancy girl, and the idea of finding a new fancy place where there'd be something I'd eat was not appealing.
I knew if the weather was nice on the day of the lunch, we'd wind up eating outside. I came prepared. I brought my SPF 50 sunscreen to work with me (it's the only SPF I own). At exactly 25 minutes before we were scheduled to leave for lunch my trusty Outlook Reminder popped up, and Banana Boat and I headed to the restroom, where I slathered sunscreen on.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I quietly asked the hostess if there were any tables available with some amount of shade. There were not. Damn. Good sunscreen makes all the difference though. We were outside for an hour and a half (another perk of going to lunch with someone higher than you - it's okay to take more than an hour) and when we got back to work, I was just as pale as always.
Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?
As of this week, I have my little baby attorney added to the mix. She's never worked in a law firm before in her life. So clueless and cute. Latest clueless and cute thing she did? On her timesheet, she'd written in over an hour of time for having lunch. She'd also written in time for when she was waiting to get an assignment.
Yesterday when I arrived at work, Nice Partner said to me "We're expecting Stacie from our [another one of our offices] to arrive this morning. Please make sure she gets settled and has everything she needs." Sure, no problem. I can dump someone in an office and make sure they've got a keycard. Then other attorneys were asking me if she'd arrived, giving me messages to forward to her, she came to me for questions and copies, phone calls for her were being transferred to me... and BOOM! That's how you find yourself working for FOUR attorneys at once.
Turns out Stacie is exactly my age, from New York, graduated from a SUNY school, and I'm pretty sure she's jewish. Nevermind the weirdness I felt that we're the same age and she's married and a lawyer and I'm .... just ME. It was just nice talking to a New Yorker.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I've turned on Word Verification on the comments. I hate it when I come across it on other people's blogs, because I all of a sudden have to actually look at the keyboard to type, which I rarely do. It's even discouraged me from posting comments. Didn't want to use it on my blog, but I feel like I have no other choice if I want to keep the comments open. I hope you won't be like me, and you'll comment despite the word verification.
Oh, and Spammer? You're a fucking loser. I don't have "cool graphics and great pictures" on my site. And no, I don't want a loan.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
On Saturday when I couldn't find my checks my sole concern was paying bills and rent. On Monday when I stopped by Bank of America, it was solely to ask how quickly they could get me new checks and how much that would cost me.
When a person walks into Bank of America (at least, at the one I go to) they are greeted and if you need anything other than to see a teller, they will have you meet with one of their "Personal Bankers" to discuss your situation. Yesterday I walked into BoA at 5:45 PM, knowing they closed at 6 PM, but assuming my check situation could be handled within 15 minutes. Oh, how very wrong I was.
The Greeter listened as I told him I lost my box of checks, and then rushed right into a banker's office and ushered me in. The banker shook my hand and asked for my debit card. He looked at it, clicked away on his computer, sighed, and clicked some more. He made a thin line of his lips, clasped his hands together in his lap, and looked at me sympathetically. Then he started talking, and my heart dropped.
Apparently my ATM card (and account it was connected to) was restricted due to suspicious activity. All day long I couldn't have used my ATM card but I didn't know that. Since Saturday I had been thinking I'd just lost my checks, and they were somewhere in my bedroom. They'd turn up, weeks after I got the new checks, and I'd feel silly for not having thought to look wherever I ultimately found them. It had never occurred to me that someone had stolen them. Nobody's even been in my apartment lately except Steamroller, Mr. Steamroller and myself (I think). Nothing else is missing (I think).
The banker was talking, and using phrases like "identity theft" but I couldn't hear him. Then he did something I really appreciated. He had me switch seats and look at his computer screen. We went through screen after screen, identifying purchases I'd made, and ones I hadn't. In the middle of this, the banker's phone rang. "Would you mind if I take this? My partner is in the hospital."
That jolted me out of my falling-apart world little bit. Someone else felt like their world was falling apart, in a completely different way. It reminded me that the world is bigger than my problems. I am not the first person this happened to, and there are procedures in place to deal with this.
The banker hung up the phone and asked me if I was cold. He looked at his thermostat and told me it was set to 53, no wonder I was shivering. And then he did something that struck me as really funny: with his feet and knees together, one hand on one knee, he leaned forward, stuck his ass out, and adjusted the thermostat. It was hysterical.
He sat back down and we started talking. Even though he isn't jewish, we played a rousing game of Jewish Geography, and it turns out he used to live one town over from me in Florida. Small world. He told me he didn't miss Florida at all, and asked if I did. "No, I just miss my grandfather." He said he went back to visit once, and he couldn't stand the heat, since being so spoiled by San Francisco weather. Then we got back to work. The banker explained the protective measures he recommended I take. He explained why he suggested what he did. He told me I should decide quickly.I tried to center my thinking and focus. I resisted the urge to excuse myself to go call my father and cry and ask what to do. The banker sweetly pretended to straighten up his desk while I thought. After the longest thirty seconds, I asked two questions:
1. How much will it cost me to do what you suggest?
2. How quickly can this be done?
It's free, and he moved all my money into a brand new account while I was sitting there. He gave me starter checks, and reminded me to give my payroll people the new information (which I did this morning). He gave me his business card and told me to call him the day my paycheck will be deposited, so he can move all the money right away to the new account. He told me he wasn't going to put my phone number on the new checks. We talked a little while longer before he gave me his business card with his direct line, unlocked the front door of the bank and sent me off to go home. It was almost 7 PM. His partner is in the hospital, and he stayed late. For me.
I was in shock yesterday. I still am. I have had trouble speaking out loud since I walked out of the bank last night. I don't know how I made it through work today. This is insane. I have a shredder that I use and everything. I delete spam. I don't even respond to any IM's from people I don't know. I will turn around to a person standing too close for comfort when I'm putting in my PIN and say "Do you mind?" so that they can't see. I never walk around with my purse wide open. I never leave it anyplace. I don't know that I could be any more careful than I am.
Monday, May 22, 2006
No! Sleep! 'Til.... ??
Sunday Morning - due to mic checks for aforementioned Bay to Breakers, awakened at 5 AM
Sunday Night - force myself to stay up until 11 PM, fall asleep exhausted
Monday Morning - due to arthritis awaken at 4:11 AM. Reassure self Advil will make pain go away, fall back asleep
Monday Morning - due to weird dream awaken at 5:16 AM. Reassure self Nice Partner is not about to miss important meeting with head partners, fall back asleep
Monday Morning - due to worrying I would oversleep and be late for work, awaken at 6:28 AM. Reassure self alarm is set, fall back asleep
Monday Morning - due to alarm, awaken at 7:37 AM. Reassure self this is the time to get up, and I do, even arriving at work early.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Only trivial shit is ready to come out:
My room was getting out of control. I spent three hours this morning cleaning. Not the kind of cleaning/hiding people do when company is coming, where piles are created and straightened and things are shoved in closets and under beds. But the purging kind. Many bags were thrown out. My soul is more at peace now.
I had a big pile of bills to pay this morning, only to realize I have lost my checks. No, not my checkbook, but that box of checks the bank sends that you put into your checkbook. For almost two years that box have lived in the same spot. It seems to have run away from home.
Although its terrible, my loss inspired me to join this century and pay some bills online. This whole concept of not using stamps fascinates me. I just may do this again next month. Though hopefully by then I will have found my checks for no other reason than it bugs me to not know where they've gone.
Tomorrow is Bay to Breakers and it goes right past my house. I have The Best. View. Ever. I really wanted to take pictures and post them on here, but I don't have a digital camera. Or any real camera. This is a HUGE race. I will have views that even people with press passes won't be able to get. So, I'm going to take pictures with my lame Walgreens disposable camera, get them developed this week, and maybe I'll post them. You know, after you've completely forgotten about this and all the excitement has died down. So bummed.
My hairdresser gave me a free haircut today. My hair is getting so long that she knelt on the floor to make sure it was even (I was waiting for her to ask me to stand). There was almost an awkward moment when she mentioned her roommates. I could have sworn she lived with her boyfriend, and I wondered if they'd broken up. Turns out they're still together, and I managed to find that out without either of us getting embarrassed. I like my hairdresser a lot. Not just for the free haircuts. She's really smart. I am drawn to smart people. The only thing that's mildly disappointing is that you'd think, of ALL people, you'd be able to talk with your hairdresser about the Bravo show Blow Out. But no. She doesn't watch tv.
But that's okay. She reads a lot of books instead of watching tv, so we talk books. We had a nice chat. I told her what salon I went to when I first came to San Francisco. She said it's where society ladies go, where people go to be seen. I told her they were nice and did a good job, but it was very expensive and I wasn't entirely comfortable. She nodded and said she could see that.
Can we talk about deserving things? Oh yeah, it's my blog. Of course we can. I was flipping by MTV and they were doing a show on proms. One of the kids MTV was profiling was a girl from New Orleans, whose high school (among other things) was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. She said something about deserving a nice prom, because of how horribly her city was ruined. While I absolutely agree that what happened is AWFUL, and disagree with how long it took and to what extent FEMA got involved, something about that girl saying she deserved a nice prom rubbed me the wrong way. I know, I KNOW. I'm a horrible person for saying that. It hasn't even been a year. But please, read me out. I think it would be great if she could have a beautiful prom. I'm not saying she shouldn't. I think it was the word deserve that rubbed me the wrong way. In the back of my head, I was wondering "For how long will she deserve things? At what point will she stop feeling owed?" Hopefully I'm just being an asshole thinking this, and of course she won't go through life thinking she deserves everything because of Hurricane Katrina. Really, I think it was just the word "deserve" that is nagging at me.
Now I must go fry in hell for thinking such thoughts.
If You Think It, Blog It
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Slips, Trips and Falls
I am endlessly amused when people trip or fall, and have talked about this before, I think. I could tell you today about a spectacular fall I saw a year and a half ago, and I'll start laughing so hard I'll almost pee in my pants. I have called friends only to say "I gotta tell you about this trip I just saw!" I never laugh when friends trip or fall. Though once my friend's daughter tripped and fell and we both laughed, but then the little girl cried harder and said "Why are you laughing at me?!" and I felt awful and vowed to never laugh at her again and I haven't.
This old lady on the floor was not going to be added to my reel of good trips and falls to remember for my amusement. Because this was not funny. She was humiliated. She was in pain. I felt horribly for the old lady with the dress up around her waist. She was just laying there, and all the other old people were just walking around her on their way out, gawking at her.
"Come on, Green" is what I got from my grandpa. In my family, the (somewhat) unspoken mantra has always been "Don't get involved." I don't know why. I've asked why, and not gotten any solid answer. But we look, and never touch. Even when good things happen and I've wanted to send a letter praising someone, it's been discouraged. I don't understand.
I stepped over to the woman, tugged her dress down as close to her knees as I could get it, and rejoined my grandpa. It was the least involved I could stand to be.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Once Wasn't Quite Cute
From: Grandma Secretary
Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 3:36 PM
To: Yogurt, Green; Earlobe, Loose; Sleeve, Tissue-Up-The; Lady, Cat; Various Other Grandmas
Hey ladies, let's wear purple color top tomorrow!
Was this REALLY that much fun last week that we need to do this again? I think not.
Is It Possible To Be TOO Open Minded?
But a few weeks ago when my friend was in town (the one I went to Walmart with) we went with another friend to a burger joint. When I came back from the bathroom I was a little confused. I asked my friend to go to the bathroom and tell me if what I thought I'd seen was correct.
Now what you have to know is that I never lived in a city before. Any time I was in any city, I went in, did whatever I was there for, and went home. The things I was in the city for were always very proper - work or jury duty (Fort Lauderdale), Broadway shows or work (Manhattan), visiting my brother (Boston or LA), etc. I certainly never wandered around any cities very much. Since moving to San Francisco, I've seen people crouch down on the sidewalk to smoke crack. I've seen hookers soliciting customers. I've seen crazy homeless people get in violent fights with themselves. One homeless guy came at me outside of my building one time, but he was seeing someone else when he looked into my eyes and eventually let go of me.
In that burger joint bathroom, there was that little metal container for tampons like in every public bathroom I've ever been in. But it had this weird diagram of something. (Now, one of my learning disabilities happens to be deciphering symbols. As in, I can't. When someone told me there was a symbol for pasting in WordPerfect, my first thought years ago was "Oh! That makes so much more sense! I couldn't figure out for the life of me why they had a picture of a pot of honey.") It looked to me like this bathroom diagram was indicating that the metal container was for needles. As in, junkies could throw their used needles in there. It really looked like a picture of a person and a needle. I thought maybe they kept a sharps container elsewhere in the restaurant. What the hell do I know about these things?
My friend, who has lived in SF for over a decade, came back from the bathroom laughing at me. It *was* for tampons. Not needles. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've since looked more carefully at the diagrams in other public bathrooms, and a lot of them have that same diagram. Guess I never noticed it before.
Monday, May 15, 2006
So I tried it. Well, to be honest, I have a "more is better" mentality. So maybe I added a whole can of tennis balls. Hey, at least it wasn't a hopper.
My tennis balls now smell like Bounce fabric softner. My blanket ... looks exactly like it did before I washed it. I guess that means the tennis balls did their job?
A Nomination for Queen Mensch
As I got older I learned that a mensch is a person who does the right thing, even when it's hard. It's someone with grace under pressure. It's Brandon Walsh. (Some people wonder 'What would Jesus do?' I wonder 'What would Brandon do?')
Over the last month or so, each time I have opened a magazine, the same name has jumped out at me: MeganMcCafferty
In case you don't feel like researching it, here's what I'm rambling about: Megan wrote some books. They've been published. She has a blog. She doesn't write about her current life, but instead posts from diaries she kept as she was growing up. Such a cool idea! You may be wondering if I'm going to start doing that. I'm not.
There's a 19 year-old Harvard student named Kaavya Viswanathan. She wrote a book. According to my very reliable source (also known to some as People magazine) it came out that she took over 40 different fragments from Megan for her book. Huh. Smart enough to get into Harvard, but not smart enough to know that:
A. plagiarizing is illegal
B. if you do it too often, chances are good you'll get caught, especially if what you stole gets published
C. even if the legality of it was not an issue, isn't there a MORAL problem with it?
Shit, I only went to a community college and even I know it's wrong to take something from someone else and claim it as my own! Maybe I could get into Harvard...
Here's why I think Megan should be nominated for Queen Mensch status: in a People interview she is quoted as saying, "... I hope she's not defined by this. Who would want to be defined by the mistakes we make at 19?"
What I find ironic is that Kaavya probably started out HOPING to be defined by what she was able to accomplish at the age of 19. Wonder how well known her name will be in the literary world in 10 years.
** Per Newsweek, Kaavya's book was pulled by her publisher, and her contract for a second novel was canceled.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
It's too hot out, which means it's too hot in, too. Fuck this non-air-conditioning crap. My pathetic Walgreens fan is not cutting it. I hate Walgreens. I miss CVS with their carpeting, big spread out aisles, and superclean stores. I may never have spent any more time outdoors than it took to go from car to store during the four years in Florida, but I was rarely too hot (never mind sliding into a car that has leather seats).
All weekend I've had a hard time thinking. People mention a place and I feel a blank look wash over my face. Every time I've tried to picture something in my head, I can't. It freaks me out. It's the feeling that makes me think I should stay in bed not talking to anyone for several days or weeks or months or however long it takes for this feeling to go away.
But I'll settle for just going to sleep in a half hour and trying to start over tomorrow.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Yes, There Really *Is* a Memo
To: LEL, Cat Lady, Green, Tissue-Up-the-Sleeve, Various Other Secretaries In Our Row
Subject: Tomorrow's Color
Date: Thurs 5/11/2006 5:20 PM
Thank God it's Friday tomorrow!!! ... Ladies, wear coral color top tomorrow.
**I am wearing light pink. I do not own any coral colored tops. Perhaps I will get kicked out of Grandma Row for this infraction?
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Wanna Know A Secret?
Someone asked me last night if I wanted to hear their secret. You bet your ass I did. So I got told a secret. (No, I'm not going to post it here.) What I asked after I heard the secret was "Why?" meaning, why did you do what you did? But what I was wondering behind that was, why is THAT considered a secret for you? What part of that is the part that makes you feel like it needs to be hidden? It was late at night and the conversation will continue another time maybe.
I always want to know more about people than is appropriate to ask. Maybe I shouldn't be so fascinated by other people. But if you tell me you went somewhere, I want to know:
Why'd you go there?
Who'd you go with?
Did you like it?
What did you like about it?
What did you wear?
Do you want to go back?
Do you think I'd like it?
Why? What about it do you think I would specifically like?
Are you going back soon?
Will you do the same things the next time you go there that you did the last time you went?
I could go on and on.
I used to want to be a psychologist. I thought it would be an easy job where I'd make lots of money. Sit in your leather chair with your fancily manicured nails, ask people why they think they did what they did, why they think they thought how they thought, and collect money. Every so often write a recommendation on a patient's behalf or do some psychological evaluations. Make sure to exude your disgust of your patients thoroughly. What's that now? Oh. I guess that's just what my psychologist did then. I could leave that part out. But I think a huge part of what appealed to me about being a psychologist, aside from guiding people towards solving their own problems, was hearing their secrets. Knowing what they would be paying me money to hear about.
I'm never going to be a psychologist. But I will always love hearing people's secrets.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
My Jaw Dropped
She has this expression of "I don't know what you're talking about, but you sure seem nice and this is kind of interesting" on her face. He has this expression of "Well sure it's a big book and you're a little baby, but it's got fun buttons to push and I'll break it down for you and we'll read it together." Or he looks a little like he's going to sneeze if you don't know him.
But mostly I'm in shock because my father just looks SOOOO gentle, and SOOOO patient. Mostly I'm in shock because I'm jealous of my baby cousin. I'm in shock that my first thought when I saw that picture is "I wish I'd felt the patience and gentleness he's exuding in that picture."
Monday, May 08, 2006
Public Transportation Is Filthy
Back when I lived in Florida, I flew out to Boston to visit my brother when he was in law school. He took me all over Boston, and when we got back to his apartment at the end of the day, he told me to go wash my hands. Why? "Because the T is filthy." Oh, okay.
My first "real" job (as in, not babysitting) was working as a cashier in a supermarket. Because I would spend anywhere from 3-6 hours a day handling money, my hands got filthy at work. So I got in the habit of coming home from work and promptly washing my hands.
So between the job and mass trans, I'm now in the habit of washing my hands right when I walk in the door.
Today after work I had to go food shopping via public transportation. The people watching was great.
I got to see a gay guy try to pick up another gay guy. Apparently they saw each other this morning and the first guy was trying to suggest they meet each other tomorrow morning to ride the train together. I silently rooted for the strained conversation to go more smoothly.
You know how people lose their balance right when the train starts? Why is that? There's the beeping noise that lets you know the doors are about to close, then the doors actually do close, and then, ya know what happens? That's right! The train actually STARTS TO MOVE! So why the hell do I ALWAYS see at least one schmuck come close to falling over, looking around with a disgusted look on their face, surprised that the train didn't tap them on the shoulder and warn them, and gently suggest they hold on? I don't understand. The woman who almost fell tonight wasn't busy doing anything like keeping track of a kid, or tons of packages. She had one bag and just got on the train and stood there, lost in her own thoughts. Rule one of people watching: Don't let it make you fall over.
I'm endlessly entertained by train people. But naturally, when I get home I promptly wash my hands.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Pay Your Bills!
Earlier today as I was playing in my checkbook, I was thinking of this post and it was reminding me of when I had to make similar phone calls.
At my first legal secretary job, I worked for a sole practitioner. The great thing about working for a small firm is that you get to do a little bit of everything. The worst thing about working for a small firm is that you have to do a little bit of everything. Including calling people regarding their unpaid bills. I was 20 years old. I lived with my parents. Once a month I gave my dad a rent check. Once a month I paid my Visa bill. That was it. I was young and couldn't imagine ever NOT paying a bill on time. Ehh, youth.
The fact that these clients - some of whom were supposed to be upstanding citizens- sometimes weren't paying a bill that I PUT EFFORT INTO, absolutely disgusted me. Not only did I spend lots of time saying, "M, did you bill for that phone call?", but I entered all the time each day. I formatted all the bills. I was the one who suggested the idea of including a SASE with each bill in the hopes it would encourage clients to pay us promptly. All this work I was doing, and to think these punk clients were just tossing my bills aside. Geez, you'd think they were embroiled in some sort of nasty divorce, complete with custody battle or something. Oh yeah. They were.
One of the worst things I had to do at that firm was to call clients and get them to pay. My boss was usually really good about prepping me to do new things. She would write out scripts for when she wanted me to call various people in the Court system. Opposing attorneys. But with this collections thing all she gave me was "Use your imagination. Say whatever you want." I wanted to cry. These were ADULTS I had to call. This was worse than the first time my boss had entrusted me to put together an entire divorce to be submitted for Court (I cried then).
Ultimately, I fell back on what had always served me best: lying served with a side of playing dumb. I'd also throw in a little status of the case, to make it seem like I was calling to HELP them. My calls went something like this:
GY: Hi, Julie?
GY: Hi Julie, this is Green from M's office, how are you?
Julie: Hi Green, not so well. Simon refused to pick up the girls because my boyfriend walked them down to the car instead of me. Plus he hasn't given us back Gregory's clarinet from when it was left at his house. All due to the fact that I brought Steve to Greg's recital. Is that fair? Can M call his scumbag lawyer about that?
GY: Okay, I'll definitely mention all this to M for you.
Julie: Is she there? Could I speak with her please?
GY: Oh, I'm sorry, she's in Court right now. (M was *never* available to clients, unless they were being beaten while they were calling, were calling from jail or threatening to fire her because they could never talk with her. I was a pretty good liar, but I really became the Queen of Lying working for M. The lies just flowed out of my mouth. I should win awards.) But I'll make sure to let her know about this as soon as she comes back. I was just calling to let you know that we got a date in Family Court for you. It's July 18th at 9:30 a.m. Also, our billing person mentioned our office hadn't gotten a check from you. Do you know if one was sent out yet? (I always tried to mildly disassociate us from the money, and the client from having been responsible for sending it in.)
Julie: Oh, July 18th? I'll put that on my calendar. (NY Courts are outrageously backed up. I'm blown away by how swiftly things move through the courts in both FL and CA.)
GY: Great, and I'll make sure to let M know about what you mentioned. Could you check on the bill and let me know if we need to send you out another one? The post office can be so unreliable.
Julie: Yeah you know, I don't know that it ever came. Maybe you should send out another one.
GY: Absolutely. I'll have that done today.
Sure Julie. We both know I was giving you an out, and you were taking it. I'm so glad I don't do collections on any regular basis.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
There's Nothing Cuter Than Baby Attorneys...
Just kidding. But I am getting one. The HR guy walked by my desk and asked if I had a minute to come talk with him yesterday. Sure I was going to get fired, I walked into his office. When he said there was no need to close the door, I relaxed. A tiny bit.
There will be some summer associates (they'll be 3L's in September) at my firm and he asked if I'd like to support one of them. You bet your ass I would! He asked if I was sure I'd be able to handle the workload of two and a half attorneys. He gave me a little speech about that a lot of how the summer associate sees the firm will depend on how I present things to her. I love this firm, and I love the people I work with (minus LEL); it will be no problem at all. And then he let me pick which person I wanted! Which one do you think will be more clueless and provide the most blog fodder?
I am so excited! There is nothing cuter than someone with an expensive education who can write a Memorandum of Law but doesn't know how to use the fax machine to get it sent out. Except someone who doesn't even know where the fax machine is!
It'll only be for two months, and I know between doing hours of research in the library, and going on all the little summer associate trips there'll be very little actually needed of me. But it's an honor just to be chosen.
P.S. LEL was not asked. Cat Lady is still not talking to her, and it's been much quieter lately. LEL is systematically alienating everyone around her. Not only did she recently tell someone printing something for a partner to stop printing because LEL was printing something for Cowboy, but yesterday she told the baby attorney she works for that no, she couldn't arrange for a messenger to deliver something because Cowboy was expected in the office soon (in about 40 minutes). Then she proceeded to sit at her desk and read the newspaper. Later I went in to the baby attorney and told her if LEL was ever too busy to help with something she needs, to feel free to ask me.