On my most recent drive up to Chicago, just for a lark, I was listening to New Life Russian Radio, or maybe it was Vashe Radio (Your Radio). I do not know, it was all in Russian! I will never get to Russia in what is left of my life, which is a shame because I wanted very much to take the trans-Siberian railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok, to sit by a grimy train window as the strange and elusive Russian countryside flowed by, talk with random travelers from who knows where, drink black tea from a samovar, and eat hot baked Russian potatoes for weeks on end. I have always wondered what Caucasians in Russian are like. Those I have met here in America seem intelligent and comradely. Pun intended! Russians in Illinois, who would have thought it? Puts me in mind of the Russian conspiracies currently being investigated in government: for high crimes and treason.
On the last high-speed, congested stretch into Chicago, young drivers darted in and around the shifting lanes. I gritted my teeth because I know how fast an accident can happen, and how awful it can be. They were too young to know yet. Then I saw my exit to Chicago on the far left, but I was several lanes to the right, just seconds from missing my exit. I saw the kind, crazy driver behind me brake fast, almost standing his car up on its bumper to let me cross over. I darted in ahead of him and got around to make my exit. I waved a lucky, happy hand out of my window in thanks.
As always, I felt a thrill driving through the urban canyons of Chicago, scanning the calm mid-western faces in varied hues as they filed along the streets. These are steady people, I like them. I love Chicago, Illinois the same way you would love a person.
In the elevator going up to the courtroom on the twenty-second floor, a handsome, elderly attorney said to me, in a way that was both smarmy and coy, “That is the biggest file I have ever seen.” I said, “Yes, it’s a big case too, do you want it? It’s a nursing home negligence lawsuit, loss of leg. It’s worth millions, if I had an attorney to take it for me.” He sighed and said, “Oh, and all I get is ambulance chasing.” I said, “Really, do you want it?” He said “No, I’m having a hip replacement soon.” I imaged hiking miles around the Daley Center Complex was not helping his hip. My neck, my hips, my entire back in between, everything hurt from it.
As I maneuvered my cart of case files into the courtroom, a courtly senior attorney held the door for me, smiled mischievously, and whispered, “Are you bringing lunch?” I shot him an appreciative glance for his wit, and we laughed silently. It felt good. I might have told him, “Sure, tacos and Philly steak sandwiches, twenty bucks each, how many do you want?”, but I did not want to try the judge’s patience by speaking in his courtroom out of turn.
After my hearing, in the elevator going down to the lobby, I tried my own hand at humor, asking the distinguished man who was the only one to share my ride, “Are all judges dyspeptic*, or just the ones I get.” He snorted, then gave a wry smile. I said nothing more. Oh, dear, was he a judge?
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* irritable due to depression or indigestion.
Caption: What Do You Call A Plane Full Of Lawyers
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018