Sunday, November 30, 2014

Terrible People

Welp, now that Thanksgiving is over and we no longer need to pretend to be grateful for what we have, I can get back to my regularly scheduled griping about the injustices of the world.  Today's topic: terrible people.

Fortunately there's only two in particular that have my goat at the moment, but boy are they doozies.

Person One: 
A Man I've Never Met

Remember back last October when my car died a warrior's death?

 RIP Sweet Prince 2000 - 2013

Well, the poor old car was totaled but no one was injured, and we came away from the experience feeling deeply grateful for our good fortunate.

Lol, j/k, the other person in the crash is suing us.

Now I probably shouldn't say too much about this since it's ongoing but fuck that I am going to talk about it anyway and if there's a jury reading this let me just point out that chiropractics are not a legitimate treatment recognised by the AMA.  (In 1996 they called chiropractors a "cult.")  But let me back up a bit.

Back in October, when we got into the accident, it was like a nightmare.  I woke in the backseat completely disoriented; everything seemed eerily silent and dust motes were drifting through the broken windshield.  The lights were on but only made the air more hazy.  I kicked open my door and scurried away from the car with Jack and Andrew because at that time it looked like the engine was on fire and we wanted to be safe.  On the highway median, we huddled together, observing the pile of smoking wreckage that had been the beloved vehicle that had borne me to Los Angeles all the way from central Pennsylvania.  I felt like a person watching their house burn down.  I loved that car.

Then someone (let's call her "Sue") approached us, yelling.  Her first words?  Not "Is everyone okay?"  Not even "What happened?"  Her first words to us were "Who was driving that car?" followed by something like "You could've killed someone."  As if it were on purpose, as if we hadn't done everything to avoid this.  As if the most important thing was finding someone to blame.  She was pissed, out for blood.  Maybe it was the adrenaline, but let me tell you, when you have a brush with death and then someone comes up to you and starts blaming you for scratching their new Mercedes, well, it's pretty unforgivable. 

I admit I lost my cool.  I was still groggy from sleeping and very disoriented, and having someone yell at me while watching my poor car smolder on the side of the road was just too much.  I began shrieking, "Are you fucking serious?  Are you kidding me?  Look at my fucking car!  Look at it!  Do you realise how lucky we are?  We all could have been killed!  How could you even say that?  My car's been totaled!  Look at it!"  Someone led me away (maybe Jack, maybe Andrew, maybe a police officer... hell, maybe even Sue) and put a blanket over my shoulders and I stood there in shock.  I felt totally numb and all my perceptions seemed very surreal.  Afterwards I felt bad for yelling at Sue, who was undoubtedly just as shaken up as us.

If this is getting a little too intense for you, let me soften the image for you by adding that because we were returning from a Halloween party, I was dressed as Harley Quinn and Jack was dressed as Harry Potter, so yeah, there was a hysterical clown with a wizard trying to calm her down in the middle of the highway.

This was the first year I was Harley.  Last year I had a sewn-on mask which was cool up until the point where I was talking to the police dressed as a clown.

Anyway, the police took a report but no charges were filed.  They asked if everyone was okay and we all said yes and we didn't even need to call the paramedics.  That was that.  Everyone went home.

Fast-forward to a year later.  We started receiving very fishy documents in the mail from Sue's lawyers.  Sue was now claiming to have a mysterious "soft tissue injury" that she needed chiropractics for.  She'd already said this to our insurance, who asked for some proof of either the expenses or the injury.  She failed to furnish anything.  So then we started getting stuff from the lawyer, things like a Request of Admissions, which by signing will basically say we agree with all her claims and pay whatever the fuck she wants.  They might as well have mailed us a blank check.  We ignored all these documents.  One of them demanded that we sign an agreement stating that we "relinquish all contentions that [Sue's] claims of injury are falsified."  Um, no?  I mean, I'm sorry to say it, but I have trouble believing Sue received a non-specific injury she refuses to show proof of a year after the accident.  And trust me, if I thought it was real, Andy and I would do everything in our power to make it right.  But that's what insurance is for and she's adamantly been refusing to co-operate with them.

So after getting a lot of papers (like probably a couple acres' worth of trees died for all this paper), I did call the lawyer's offices to see if I could glean more info.  Specifically I wanted to know if we were being sued or just bullied.  Because it felt a lot like bullying.  When I called, I explained I wasn't a client but that my household had received these documents.

"Are we getting sued?" I asked.

"Sure looks like it," said the guy on the phone.  I don't know if it was a lawyer or a receptionist.  He sounded like a sulky teenage kid on X-Box.

He kept saying "Shut up, Mom," to someone in the background.

I expected him to call me a faggot but he didn't, so I continued.

"I mean, I... I have no idea what these papers are."

"Talk to your insurance," he said, gruffly.

I realised that, as a lawyer, he was probably being careful with his words and trying not to incriminate himself.  Weird.  If he was suing me, can't he say he's suing me?  I'm going to find out eventually, aren't I?

"I'm not trying to trick you or anything.  I just want to know if we're being sued," I said.

"I don't feel tricked," he said.  If sneering were a liquid, it would have been leaking out the phone like maple syrup.

"Er... good," I said awkwardly.  "Because I'm not trying to.  Er... thanks.  Good-bye."

So that was pointless.  Assuming we were not being sued, we continued to ignore the documents being sent to us.

But then the plot thickened.  We'd let our insurance know about the documents, of course, and we suddenly got a call from them stating that we'd failed to respond to summons.  Wait, what?  Getting summons is like, a huge deal.

The insurance explained that the other party had mailed them a "Proof of Service" stating that they had delivered summons to us and we'd not responded and that this was some time-sensitive shit that could automatically be found in Sue's favour if we did nothing.  Holy shit!

I went onto the Los Angeles county court site later and checked these documents.  They stated that the guy serving the summons had been over to our house no less than 8 times without any response from Andrew.  (Weird, since we stay in most evenings.)  On the 8th time he delivered the documents to me.  My full name was written out there on the sheet.  He delivered them to me, a resident of the house over the age of 18, on Andrew's behalf, on October 1st at 8:30 pm.

But I never got summons.  And trust me, I would remember something like that.  What's more, why wouldn't Andy be at home with me at that time?  Curiouser and curiouser.

We checked the calendar to figure out what was going on that night.  And we discovered that...

...we'd been in San Diego.

Remember the hedgehog mastectomy?  Most bizarre totally legit excuse ever.

That's right.  The documents were fucking falsified.  Kali had been getting her staples out that night and we hadn't even left the vet's office until 6:40 pm.  We'd gotten dinner and hadn't returned home until almost 10 pm.  And we have credit card charges and a whole office of people who can confirm we were two hours away when these summons were supposedly delivered.

I Googled the lawyer after this incident out of curiosity and what I found was pretty much what you'd expect.  Did you know that lawyers have records of the number of probations / bar suspensions they've gotten?  Yeah.  I didn't either.  (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to name names so I'll just quote this part on the Bar Association website where it says Sue's lawyer was "suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 9-day suspension and... stipulated to 17 counts of misconduct in six matters.")

I can't believe any of this.  I can't believe Sue is trying to profit from this situation that could have been so, so much worse, and I can't believe her lawyer is lying to try to win the case.  Is perjury still a thing?  I'm pretty sure perjury is a thing.  But hey, I'm not a lawyer.

While I'm not unaware of things like this happening, I can't quite believe this is happening to my family.  I'm very disappointed in humanity right now.  I hope the lawyer eventually gets disbarred because I don't think you have any business practicing law if you're not concerned with actual justice.

I'm guessing this whole thing will eventually be dropped.  We have two legal counsels through our insurance companies (I'm involved only as the owner of my poor, poor car and not in any other real way), and we're going to fight this all the way to the top (or more accurately, all the way to the rock bottom, where the liars and sleaze-bags can be found).

Moving on...

Person Two:
As if you didn't know

So my mother-in-law visited last week.

She's been in a foul mood ever since Andrew escaped his tower.

She was on her best behaviour but it was still very stressful and I could tell she was uncomfortable.  "Barely veiled hostility" isn't the same thing as "being friendly," you know?

The one thing that really, deeply bothered me is that we went out for dinner at a place without any vegetarian options and so I opted out and said when I got home I'd make something.  And she asked me why I ate fake meat if I'm a vegetarian.

Every time we've ever gone out together she'd asked some asinine question about vegetarianism, which she clearly thinks is weird, but most are common and harmless: "How do you get protein?" and "Do you get enough iron?" and "But what do you eat at Thanksgiving?" and things like that.

But asking why I eat fake meat was a new one, and baffling to me because it was clear she didn't understand my motivations.

"Because it tastes good," I said simply.

"But then why don't you just eat meat?"

"Because I don't really agree with killing an animal just because it's tasty."

"But you eat the fake meat."

"Yes, because nothing died.  That's a way for me to enjoy meat without feeling bad about the animal dying," I continued to explain.  My patience was waning really, really quickly.  I couldn't tell if she was that dumb or if she was trying to troll me.

"Well, it's not like I killed the animal!" she exclaimed proudly.  Completely seriously.

Pictured: An entirely guiltless and morally acceptable way to commit murder.

I admit I saw red.  Mind you, I'm not a militant vegetarian.  While I feel strongly about my personal choice, I virtually never talk about it.  But this was just too much.

"Isn't that, like, an argument a Nazi officer could make?  That he didn't kill anyone and only ordered others to?" I asked.

Boy did the table blow up at that one.

"Please don't bring Nazis into this," she said, offended.

"Godwin's Law," added Andrew.  I felt a twinge of irritation because I knew he was right.  I wish I had used a more recent example... for example, Osama bin Laden.  He never suicide bombed anyone personally but he's still culpable for a lot of deaths.

"I'm just asking you to respect my decision to eat meat..." began his mother.

I wanted to flip the goddamn table.  Wasn't she the one who always brought up our respective dietary decisions?  Wasn't she the one who always questioned my choices?  I have literally never, ever said a word about what she eats.  I don't think she'd even know I was  vegetarian if the twins hadn't told her.  I don't care what she eats at all and never have.  (Although at that moment I did sort of want her to eat a dick but that's a different matter entirely.)

"I do respect your choices and I've never said otherwise," I said, through gritted teeth.

"Well, good," she said, sitting back all smugly, as if we'd resolved something.

Later she said some dumb shit about time travel but I'm feeling too annoyed now to write it out.

Bonus dumb shit: Jack's friend said this.  She is the most incredibly scientifically illiterate person I've ever met, but she's at least really friendly.  Also she got me to the front page of Reddit with this meme so I can't really complain.

I think that this thing with Andy's mother is going to have to come to a head eventually because I can't imagine our relationship remaining this strained for the rest of our lives, and I can't imagine my wedding with her there ("Why is the cake vegetarian?") or my first child or a family reunion or anything.  I don't think we'll ever really like each other but right now she really gets under my skin and a lot of it is her pointing out all the ways in which I'm weird and she disagrees with me.  It's very stressful and I don't think either of us want our relationship to remain pulled taut like this.  It's unhealthy.  ("Like not eating meat.")

That's about all I have to say about terrible people today.  In a world of seven billion, I suppose only being upset by two isn't so bad.

Gotta keep things in perspective.  Two bad apples don't ruin the tree.

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