Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The List

It's posted at the local courthouse at 8:00 am every Wednesday, and it has a mere 16 slots on it. If your name is on The List, you are one of the chosen few who will get to spend 15 minutes with a district attorney who can help you do things like filing divorce papers. You don't even have to pay for their services because the state of California does that for you. Neat, huh?

There's a small problem with The List, though: There are a lot more than 16 underpaid Californians who want to be on it every Wednesday. Those who are serious about The List start lining up at the courthouse before the rising of the sun. Today, I really needed to be on The List, and I showed up at 7am, groggy and undercaffeinated but confident. There were already 12 people ahead of me. At least I got on The List, but it was a close call.

Finally, after three hours of idle time spent at the courthouse waiting for The List to be posted and then waiting for my appointment time to come, I was told that I wouldn't be able to finish up my paperwork today. My official date to finish filing is not until next week, even though the county clerk, Gerardo, and yes I do know him by name, told me twice that it would be this week. He was wrong. Nadine, the attorney, and yes I do know her by name, said that I could come back next Wednesday. But not really, because next Wednesday is a government furlough day, meaning that the courts are all closed and no one will be there, so I could come the following Wednesday which is two weeks away, except that Nadine isn't working that day because she works on Tuesday that week instead.

This leaves me with the choice of (a) waiting for two weeks to finish my filing, or (b) going to the other county courthouse that is 30 miles away but has 15-minute attorneys on duty every day of the week (except the third Wednesday of the month, and on Tuesdays when they only serve people with blonde hair who are wearing purple) and getting on That List, which is even harder to get on because I have to get up earlier and drive farther and deal with a bigger crowd of underpaid Californians who all want to be on That List.

I can at least say that my three hours of idle time were not wasted today. I finished reading the second half of "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (the ending of which was NOT supposed to make me cry) and knit a few more rows on the headband I'm making, which incidentally is looking more and more like a project I'm going to be unhappy with in the end, which makes me want to rip it out, which makes me cry because I hate ripping out beautiful stitches.

But that's okay. I should have at least four hours to devote to my knitting next week while I'm waiting around at the courthouse to get on The List. And if there happen to be more than 16 people ahead of me in line when I arrive to wait for my turn on The List, I can take them all out one by one with my knitting needles. I'm Ninja like that.