Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Turn out the lights...and lawyers

So that is what you do when you get divorced in Duval County - you walk through these doors - you go through a metal detector, next to the folks who reek of alcohol and benders before they go before the judge and are escorted into custody, you go up an elevator to the fifth floor, and you sit on a church pew in a well lit hallway until they call your name and tell you they are ready (this was ex-parte, so maybe there are differences)

You watch the old boys clubs of lawyers discuss their trips to Paris, and their hard walks up the five flights of stairs, and you get to see their southern charm plaid socks and eccentric bowties that make them a little more scholarly, but most of all, I saw a racket - I mean these folks sit across the table from each other, they demean the folks who pay their bills, and then they smile and shake hands and move on.  I did not quite understand that until today - these folks are just like the boys at the auto repair shop sharing stories about weekend escapades - they may not like each other, but they work together just about every day - and under the guise of representing their client, they keep a sheen of civility that can only be understood bu those schooled in latin, and prepared to do mental battle at an old conference room table.  My respect was increased for these folks, until of course, opposing counsel thought it appropriate to say "Congratulations" - what a jackass - that's like saying "let's party" at a funeral - what the hell was that supposed to mean - congratulations for a twenty year relationship ending in divorce was the true measure of what the past twenty years were about - petty, insensitive, and ill thought comments with little or no value, other than to boost and prop up an image that really, when push came to shove, was window dressing on a litter box.  You can tell I am struggling a little bit with that one - but hell, it is done, and with the exception of having to occassionally go over the house and beg the ex to try and keep the yard looking like folks actually live there - I think things are where they are supposed to be.  I just was barraged by a string of lawyer jokes - and the reason there are so many, is because they are true.  I agree that diplomacy works, but to some degree the shmarmy ass-sucking brand of Southern Diplomacy I ran into today, well, Go Gators!

Now this is the hallway I am talking about - you sit here - and you wait for the Oz to come through the door - and grant you your way home...or a heart, or courage, or a brain...but odds are, that may not happen.  Everyone is belittled in that hallway - while I was sitting there, and you can see it - this is probably the aisle that folks should have to walk down - not the decorated celebratory aisle in some church or rented hall - no party afterwards that could have paid for a house or some student loan debt - just two folks walking down a cheaply government furnished aisle with pews facing them on the sides, and then they enter into this door - and they get the following speech:

1.  You are about to get married.  Odds are, you have about a 30% chance of survival as a married couple.  Think about this, think really really hard, and then wonder if you are going to be the lucky 1 in 3 that stays married until you die.

2.  All of those little nice things that you think are quirky now - well they will annoy the living shit out of you in about seven years.  I mean teeth grating, knees on asphalt types of annoyance.  If you have not discussed this, then turn around, and try living together with no soap and toothpaste for a while.

3.  You may think you two are the only ones getting married.  Wrong.  You are going to inherit a world of folks - many of whom you cannot currently stand, and have very little respect for.  If this is the case, go work out these issues, and if you can't - let's do this when you can.

4.  You will be lied to, stolen from, lambasted, belittled, ridiculed, and all of the other words ending in "ed" - sure, none may be as painful as beatings or adultery or whatever, but after your spouse gains 80 pounds, stops being attracted to you, prefers beer and pretzels and soft core porn, and makes sure everyone knows what an ass you have become - then you will get my drift.

5.  Bodily fluids are a part of life.  Get used to them being everywhere.

6.  Go clean a house together.  If you cannot see doing that every week - together - then you may want to start over.

7.  Love does not conquer all.  Love masks many things - if you have not confronted the garbage and skeletons - don't worry - they will come back around.

If then, and only then, folks can get through these things - and of course this should be taught by a couple of divorcees - then after the pre-nup is signed - and you pre-arrange visitation for your yet to be born children - then they should be allowed to take a razor blade to their palms - and should have to - and become blood.

That way there is some assurance that marriage is no longer as easy as it is - and divorce, well perhaps it would be less common...

I can say that I have learned alot in the past twenty years, but this past year has been the biggest learning experience for me - there are many different worlds out there - and different points of view - but when push comes to shove - there is really only one perception that matters to any of us - and that is what makes the difference between the 1 that succeeds, and the other 2 that were sitting with me in that hallway today.

Go with Peace and Prosperity...

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