Drawing a deep breath, pen poised perfectly on paper in order to execute some highly-anticipated and voracious note taking, I posed the question to the voice on the other end of the line: “… OK, but what type of law does this situation fall under?”
Voice on the other end of the line: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Well, would it be probate?”
Voice on the other end of the line: “I’m not sure. Maybe. That sounds about right.”
“Maybe. Sounds about right.” I say to myself, repeating her and considering another way to extract the necessary information from this person — my closest link to anything remotely resembling assistance in the matter.
Hmmmm… I don’t really want to venture into these unchartered judiciary waters with the paper-thin supply of confidence that comes pre-packaged in a phrase like “Maybe. Sounds about right” but what other choice do I have?
Me: “Since you aren’t sure what type of legal matter this actually IS… Where do you suggest I start?”
Voice on the other end of the line: “Visit your county courthouse first thing Monday morning and ask them where to begin.”
Me (inside my own head): “I thought I was beginning with YOU. Someone I believed to be well-equipped in this arena. But whatever.”
Me (actually speaking): “OK. I’ll do that. Thank you.”
Bright and early on Monday we arrived in the courthouse lobby. “The nice officer standing guard at the door will know where to direct us.” I said to Lee, my fellow voyager. And he most certainly did direct us to the sixth floor of an adjacent building.
After bounding down the stairs—pleased to have at least a scrap of direction on our legal quest—and crossing the busy intersection, we managed to weave our way through an obstacle course of revolving doors and metal detectors to the elevator that would surely deliver us to the sixth and proper floor.
Upon arrival on the sixth floor and a simple inquiry directly regarding the matter at hand, we were swiftly directed to the fourth floor. The fourth floor houses the County Law Library and—or so we were told—any and all of the necessary forms for the remainder of our journey.
Feeling a teensy bit wary of the whole Nobody-Knows-What-the-Hell-They’re-Doing thing, we got back into the elevator and rode it to the fourth floor. Surely the Law Library would hold the preciously-guarded secrets of the mysteries surrounding our increasingly-tricky trek.
After signing the Law Library Guest Book on the fourth floor, a friendly librarian asked how she could be of assistance. For what would be the third time in explaining exactly what it was we were in search of, the librarian declared that the place we most certainly needed to be was… on the fifth floor.
It was precisely at that moment that I burst into a fit of laughter as though suffering from some form of tourettes. And I’m certain that the poor, innocent librarian-turned-target-of-my-mental-breakdown suspected as much.
I explained my odd and inappropriate behavior to her by recounting ALL of the places we had traveled to on our adventure of odyssean proportions. But sixth floor, fourth floor, fifth floor, across the street, across town, across state lines, across the border… it no longer mattered.
Dizzy and reeling from countless elevator rides and red tape… I was fairly certain that if we ever located and retrieved the proper paperwork appropriate for our legal situation… neither one of us would know how to pick up a pen, much less spell our own names.
We did eventually procure the information we’d been searching for with such great gusto. And when we did—after flipping through a jillion jargon-packed pages—we swiftly stuffed it into a folder and have not spoken of it since.