Aug 7, 2006

How Did A Nice Guy like Me Wind Up Here?

First things first. I was listening to the Onion Radio News today and the title of the report was, Man Forced to Witness His Own $10 Haircut. Well, I get my hair cut for $9. What's the damn joke here? Years ago, I was the head of a department of 35 salaried and a load of hourly employees (the question of who in their right mind would put me in charge is another post, for another time). Anyway, the big wheels lording over my department from headquarters, decided that 9 of the salaried folks had to go due to changes in the needs of the business. The matter fell to me to administer. I made a list, ranking them from 1 through 35, worst to best, and turned it in to Human Resources. The actual selection of the 9 was not that difficult. We had about that many known screwups. Oh sure, you could haggle about number 8 and 9 and make the case that they were more deserving than, say 10 and 11, but ultimately you were arguing about shades of grey. No one really got too excited by the whole event, except the nine people who were out scout, as they say. The big wheels were evidently afraid that someone would go postal on us, so they made me and my boss meet the chosen few at a neutral, offsite location to give them their paperwork and get their keys, IDs, etc. After we notified the first couple of people, my boss turned to me and said, "How did a couple of nice guys like us wind up here?" That is the question I had to ask myself this morning. Today was the day that I got my Order of Protection (OOP) against my son, the drug addict. You may wish read yesterday's post for the details. The first thing I discovered at the city court building is that there is a special department for OOPs. There must be a lot of people seeking them. Also as you can see from the picture above, they have a nice big sign on the door, so that everyone who passes by looks at the sign and then at the schmucks sitting inside. Just what I needed. One guy waved at me through the glass and when I waved back, he came in and started talking to me like we were friends. I have no idea who he was. The second thing I learned is that we have Order of Protection against people we are related to, former spouses, people we have lived with or someone with whom we have a child. Injunctions Against Harrassment (IAH) for everyone else. The need for the difference remains unclear, at least to me. I also discovered that I would henceforth be known as the plaintiff, which has it all over being the defendant, it turns out. When I arrived there were several other people in the waiting area. I went to the counter and the clerk gave me some papers to fill out with the particulars of my case. It took about ten minutes to finish them. There is a sign saying that it will take from 10 minutes to 1 hour to complete the paperwork. I guess that puts me in the top 1 percent of plantiffs, not that I am bragging or anything. There is also a sign saying the whole process might take up to three hours. one saying not to enter the locked door and several advising us to turn off cell phones. Bureaucrats love to tape signs to the walls. The waiting area was a good-sized room, with a table and chairs that can seat eight. Around the perimeter of the room chairs were lined up against the wall. One end of the room is a counter with thick glass. The court staff sits behind thick glass and you talk to them through round grates in the glass. Evidently, if trouble breaks out, it is staying on our side of the glass. I half expected an enraged husband to burst through the door screaming, "Loretta, I told you you wasn't gettin' no 'strainin' order on me you b***h." But it was pretty quiet. There is a locked door that leads to the judge. He doesn't preside in a courtroom, but rather in an office. He sits on one side of his desk and you on the other, while you discuss your case with him. Then he issues an OOP, or less often an Injuction Against Harrassment. When I arrived at 10 am, there was an middle-aged couple sitting at the table reading, just like they were at the library. They never spoke and never looked up until their name was called. The woman went to talk to the judge. The guy just kept reading. It turned out that they were father and daughter and she was getting an OOP against someone, maybe a husband. There was a young couple, she in medical scrubs and he in a gangster outfit. She was getting an OOP or is it an IAH, against her former boyfriend and he was the new boyfriend. Here's a dating tip from your old pal Merle. If your current girlfriend asks you to go with her to get an OOP or IAH against the old boyfriend, run for it. They huddled in the corner groping one another inappropriately, while they waited. When I say groping, I mean hands under the clothes, giggling, GROPING!!! I would have complained but I would have to shout through the grate and gangster man and I were on the same side of the glass. So I just looked away...mostly. Ain't love grand? There was another 50ish guy waiting to get an OOP against his bum son. He was pleasant enough except he when had a long, loud discussion with the clerk about how they typed a CH in his name when it should be CK. The bulletproof glass made it difficult for them to communicate. Then he sat near me and explained that he has been fighting this CH vs. CK thing his whole life. Evidently, he has had just about enough. One woman, seeking an order against her husband, brought her mother for moral support. After the plaintiff did her paperwork, she brought out a makeup kit and spent a half hour applying a new coat of paint to the old chassis. It never hurts for a gal to look her best, even in court. Another woman came in and picked up her paperwork. She had a binder full of notes and a Daytimer. Apparently, she had plenty of documentation against someone. I would later find out that you don't really need much data to get an OOP. They pretty much hand them out and it is up to the defendant to get it tossed if it is bogus. I guess the court errs on the side of caution. Lastly, three women showed up, one with a newborn. The other two were advocates from a women's shelter and they were there to help get an order against a bum husband who had beaten her up. She had blood all over her shorts. The clerk told them that they were too late for the morning session and that they would have to come back at 1:00 pm. They left. When the judge finally called me in, we spoke briefly about the particulars of my situation. He issued an order that my son can't call, write, communicate through a third party, come within 1000 feet of my home, car or place of business. The problem is how do you serve a restraining order on a homeless guy? When my son called me later today, I told him about the order. He said I was being ridiculous. I told him that he is welcome to call me when he is in a program, and not until. I gave him the old, "Its for your own good" speech. We will see how that works. How did a nice guy like me wind up in this mess? Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong and sometimes just full of it. Tag:

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