Thursday, August 19, 2004

Ack! Hack! Hack! Ack!

I've got a fucking cold. I hate colds, I hate sinus trouble. I stayed home from work today for over half a day. I wanted to stay home all day but I had clients depending on me. One in particular, I'll call her Madge, has been waiting to settle her case. She fell on some stairs at her apartment building almost three years ago. Normally these types of cases make me yawn but truly this apartment building looks like it should have been condemned when God was a boy. Its amazing to me what HUD will approve fit for habitation by humans. Iraq looks better. Anyway, a few months ago Madge found out she has breast cancer. She wasn't going to have any treatment because her father died from cancer and she saw what it did to him. I told her things weren't the same now and she deserved to give herself a chance to live. She asked me if I would have treatments and I said "absolutely." I know her family was on her to take them too. She told me later though that had it not been for what I said she wouldn't have. That kind of took me by surprise. Madge is "old WV." Poor but proud. Raised in the southernmost county in the state where you mind your business and everyone else minds theirs but you still know everything about everyone. Now, when I first took over her case, I wasn't too fond of her or her kin. But, like a festering sore you pick and pick and pick at so that it never heals, they've grown on me, especially Madge. When her son called to tell me she had a stroke, I sat in the alley and smoked and cried, thinking of life without Madge. She wants to take me out to eat when she gets her settlement, as a thank you for all I've done. I normally don't do things like that but I know how much it will mean to her. Her looks are... shall we say... interesting. She slicks her hair straight back away from her face and then cuts it at the nape of her neck. She then shellacs it with something resembling black shoe polish. I think this is what it is because it doesn't move a millimeter and leaves these interesting... ummm skid marks on her forhead where she curls 10 or 15 stray hairs. In my seven years as a paralegal, I had never sit in on a deposition until Madge's. She refused to do it without me present because, hahahahaha, she didn't trust my boss (her lawyer) because she didn't know him like she knew me. Opposing counsel was some stoic pussy who should have been something other than a lawyer. One of the biggest misconceptions I believe Southerners face is other folks tend to subtract IQ points when they hear our accent. Madge has a deep, deep Southern WV accent. Most people in that area speak a form of Elizabethean English. Make no mistake though, Madge is no idiot. Her son has two or four teeth missing on top but the boy is no dummy. Strike one against stoic pussy attorney. While trying to explain where her apartment was in relation to the ground and other apartments, he got all messed up and continued quizzing her over and over on the same thing. My boss is at the head of the table to my left and Madge is to my right. She had already tested my humor quota so I spent time looking at my hands and trying not to laugh. When stoic pussy lawyer pushed the rough outline of what the aparment complex looked like, she put her finger down and said, "This here's the ground floor apartment," she looked up at him with her bug eyes and said, "are ya followin' me?" I almost lost it. I was shaking so hard I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Then she said, "and this here's the second floor apartment, are ya followin' me?" I made the mistake of looking at my boss. His face was red and he was shaking to keep from laughing. That was all it took. We both bust out laughing. We laughed so hard I cried. Madge, stoic pussy lawyer and the court reporter looked at us straight-faced as though we were nuts. Needless to say we went off the record until my boss and I could compose ourselves. It was classic and we still use that saying around the office to each other when we need a laugh. So, we did settle Madge's case today. Its bittersweet. The settlement is deserved and I know this will make things a little easier on her. The stroke was a small one but she's having physical therapy to help restore strength and movement on her left side in addition to further cancer treatments. She asked me today if she could call me if she needs our services again. I told her of course she could. I hope though, she decides to call me sometime, even if she doesn't.
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    Blogger Varla said...

    Madge sounds like a wonderful woman. "Salt of the earth"...I think they say. I hope she recovers well, and you get over your cold quickly. Are ya followin" me?

    8/20/2004 01:55:00 AM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Bwahahahahaha!! I'm followin' ya Varla girl. I do feel a little better although I, once again, could not sleep last night. Finally made it to bed at three and got to work only 40 minutes late.

    8/20/2004 11:20:00 AM  

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