Happy Lollipop Tuesday, my dearest dearies. I so adore you all that I’ve decided to go to a gig with Dave, whip open my laptop, and tell you about a time that scared me out of my wits instead of socializing with humanity. Because right now I’m having trouble with a big girl decision I recently made. I decided to try to do something very difficult and it’s scary and adult and since those sort of things make me want to curl up in a ball with a block of cheese and a bucket of hot fudge, I thought I’d instead open up this laptop and be reminded that I am the creator of Lollipop Tuesdays and I shall not be daunted by the great open plain of adulthood. After all, I have gone to a pole-dancing class and reenacted The Battle of Manassas and competed in the World Pinball Championship. I shall remind myself that even though I’m scared to death to go outside every single day, I do it because by golly, my resume reads like an adventurous person and I do therefore I am, dammit.
So let’s talk about the time I decided to represent myself in court.
Oh! Happy Lollipop Tuesday ladies and gentlemen.
Once upon a time I worked at a fudge factory. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I was the office manager and I signed sheets for people that read “fudge packer” because that was literally their job and I tried every day to be mature about the whole thing. But then they kind of lost some money and had to lay people off and I was one of them. So I claimed unemployment for 5 weeks and then began working for the woman who wears fashion capes to work and I felt like Anne Hathaway before she quit to pursue a writing career.
That’s where you all come in. Right there with that Jackie who is an executive assistant and blogs about being the Jane Goodall of the corporate jungle.
Anyway, here I am three years later being all zen with my recent decision to go to grad school for two masters degrees at the same time, and unemployment sends me a random piece of paper in the mail that states that I was not laid off three years ago, that they were taking the money back they gave me from insurance, and that if I didn’t agree with the charges of fraud, I had the right to hire an attorney.
Let me tell you, that’s some seriously adult stuff right there. I miss being a kid when I get a letter like that in the mail.
As it turns out, I couldn’t afford a lawyer and hiring one would have been the same amount that they were going to take away from me so no matter what I was screwed unless I could 1) represent myself and 2) win. But I was scared and the paperwork was confusing and I wanted to play video games instead. So I told myself to make it a Lollipop Tuesday, told everyone I was going to do it so I couldn’t back out, and did the dang thing.
Let me tell you: it wasn’t fun. There’s a lot of really complicatedly simple and stupid paperwork to do and then you have to ask people who know you to go to court and be like “yeah, she was laid off. we all were” and then go to court and swear to tell the truth and sit in a tiny room in a tiny place with a tiny man who is very stern and records you and asks you the same questions over and over and then decides if you’re lying and mails you a letter to tell you so.
I put myself on autopilot so I can’t remember much except when I was waiting in the lobby to review my file (that’s a real thing. It’s pretty much like it is on the movies, don’t worry. You just act like you’re demi moore in a few good men). There were a bunch of lawyers there with briefcases looking very serious and I realized that all I was doing was staring around the enormous room like an idiot so I tried to look busy and got out my phone and contorted my face very seriously and played Hay Day.
It’s like Farmville. I’m embarrassed that I play it but I do. I’m sorry. I’m trying to quit.
So I planted digital corn and milked digital cows very seriously and when I was let in with my witness, we told him all about the day I was laid off 3 years ago and he was all stiff and grumpy and we finally made it through to the end. He tells us we’ll get a letter in the mail and ends the recording and hits the gavel and we’re done.
And then something amazing happened; he began to tell us his life story.
I kid you not – the moment that gavel landed, he suddenly lit up, and began to tell us about the first time he went to court and about how it’s a procedure people used to know and now no one does anymore and how he got his pilot license and how one day he got pulled over by the police for speeding and got out of the ticket and a bunch of other things I really couldn’t hear because I was thinking about the cost for parking in the garage next door while I listened.
But I listened. Because this guy was about to send me a piece of paper in the mail telling me if he liked me or not and I didn’t know what else to do.
And then two weeks later I got a piece of paper that said he believed I did get laid off from and I could go about my life in peace.
I fought the law and the law didn’t win.
That’s the moral of the story I suppose: I can do anything. Anyone can do anything. We just tell ourselves that we can’t and if there are people out there who can climb Mt. Everest and stand up for social injustice and be social workers and make products that change the entire world, I can suck it up and go to court.
So tomorrow I will embark on my new journey. Because it’s an incredibly small thing to do in comparison to all the things people are doing everywhere else. And someday I think that’s how you become one of those people: by being bold.
Please excuse the sincerity of this post. And the fact that I’m ending it with a quote. Just pretend it didn’t happen and go read one about how I can’t stand being trapped in an elevator.
Every day I’m hustlin’. ♣