I spent Saturday, Sunday, and today watching hours upon hours of bankruptcy practice videos. I need to complete 25 hours in continuing education before I can reactivate my license and purchase malpractice insurance and, thanks to these marathon sessions, I am up to roughly 10.5 hours. Almost half way there, and my eyes and brain are starting to feel it.
Today I was especially lawyerly; I went looking at office space. My friends have nice offices in the Upland-Claremont area, and I thought I might find something similar in my budget. We called around and quickly found some buildings with rooms to sublet. Thank you, economy, for being so piss poor that people are desperate to sublet minuscule rooms to floundering stay-at-home-moms-turned-attorneys. It almost makes up for you turning me into a floundering stay-at-home-moms-turned-attorney. Almost.
The first room for rent was in a cute Greek Revival-inspired one story building on the corner of a charming downtown district. I was excited, especially at the price. My friend, Margerie, and I showed up a bit early, so we took the opportunity to chat up a paralegal situated in a weird area of the building with a pop out. On her messy desk was a book that I read and liked, and it appeared from her equally cluttered office that she collected elephants (my favorite animal), but, really, other than those two redeeming qualities, she was bat-shit crazy. I could elaborate, but you’ll just have to trust me that a person who answers her office door with disheveled hair and striped socks only to tell you about her diabetes, hip replacement, and all the attorneys conspiring to chase her out of town is one taco short of a combo plate.
The crazy person in the striped socks suggested we cut through her office and walk down the hall to meet with the property manager– the only attorney in town without a vendetta against sickly paralegals with a quirky fashion sense. I was hoping the rest of the building would look a bit better than McMurphy’s cell, but nope! ALL OF IT = TURD, CIRCA 1978.
Imagine the interior of cowboy-sailor-English Pub restaurant from the 1970s. You know the one: your parents took you there when you brought home a good report card.
Wagon Wheel? Check.
Anchor with whale rope? Check
Paintings of Beagles on a fox hunt? Check. Check. Check.
Turns out the property manager/only attorney in town without a vendetta against sickly paralegals with a quirky fashion sense forgot our appointment. We almost stuck one of our cards on her name placard in the shape of a captain’s wheel to let her know we stopped by (I can’t make this stuff up, folks!), but as luck would have it, the door to the available space was wide open.
Remember when Greg Brady turned Mr. Brady’s home office into a lover’s lair? Winner! Winner! Winner! The gold carpet, the faux wood paneling, and the caramel pinch pleat drapes and lace sheers that stopped FOUR FEET FROM THE FLOOR all called out in a sing-song voice, “Far out everybody, a renter!”
Margerie cleared her throat awkwardly and said, “Wow. This is a nice sized space. It looks like you would have plenty of phone jacks.”
I agreed, and eyeballed the large window behind all that fabric. “Well, there is plenty of natural light,” I offered.
We both walked towards the window to look at the view, which happened to be the main street cutting through the downtown district. We pulled apart the lace sheers for a better view, and that’s when we saw them. Piercing the window like a constellation were 5 bullet holes.
Stop. Allow me to repeat that.
Piercing the window like a constellation were 5 bullet holes. Bullet holes! Holes!! Plural!!! I CAN NOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP. And the best part? The part that had Margerie and I clutching our stomaches and wiping the tears from our eyes? The largest bullet hole–the one large enough for THE BREEZE TO BLOW THROUGH–was covered with a meticulously cut 2×2 inch square of clear packing tape. News Flash, property manager/only attorney in town without a vendetta against sickly paralegals with a quirky fashion sense, YOU FORGOT TO COVER THE OTHER FOUR BULLET HOLES.
I’d like to say the next office we visited was better, but it wasn’t. Oh, sure, it wasn’t RIDDLED WITH BULLETS, but it did smell like the inside of a Wienerschnitzel at closing time. In the 10 minutes we were there, I swear my arteries hardened. I left wondering if this was a sign, if I would ever find a place of my own, and if there was a point value for greasy air.
The search for the answers to all of the above continues.