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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

When I was twenty five and my son was five I enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts combined with a Bachelor of Law. A double degree…an ambitious thing to sign up to as the single mum of a kid with special needs…

First I was just studying, commuting by bus and train, travelling about three to four hours in a day, and coming home to my son…there was a tremendous pressure to be working as well. I published an article in the Uni magazine and got involved in a women’s rights group. I ended up running that with two other women, getting a small ‘stipend’ for my work and some valuable experience, including publishing a rather funky little magazine which was a collection of women’s writing.

Shortly after this a job became available on campus in the University women’s room, a job a friend and I took together, which I ended up doing on my own. It ran me into the ground. Eventually I quit and took a job in a cafe instead (by this time we’d moved to Sydney). Anyway…I did a mock trial, and from this I scored my first legal job.

I got a call from a guy saying he knew someone who was looking for a paralegal and was I interested…shit YEAH I was. So the boss calls me, and says, “Well, could you start tomorrow?” – that was a day off, so I say of course I can, and he says “Great. Well I think I’ll get you into the Commission to advise Counsel” – go to the where to do the what to the who now?

I laughed it off, thinking it was a joke.

Next day after very little sleep I head into the office. I get a quick, cursory tour of the office, then the boss says he wasn’t kidding, that he wants me to go the Industrial Relations Commission to “Advice Counsel” – as in to be helpful to a friggin Barrister! (I can never spell that word, hope it’s come out like fancy-pants-law-dude, and not he-who-makes-coffee). I am by now shitting myself on a rather large scale.

The guys tell me it’s a no-brainer, that I’ll sit there and I can call them if there’s a problem. I’m freaking out wondering wtf is going on. They show me a TOWER of papers, and suggest I hit the road. I tell myself “Get a grip, you’ll be fine” and I’m off. I grab this mountain of fucking paperwork and teeter out of the office. I negotiate the broken and lumpy footpaths of Surry Hills in heels, and with impaired vision due to the ridiculously heavy stack of papers I’m carrying, and jump a train with directions to the Barrister’s Chambers.

I find the building and get in the lift. There’s two guys in there as I get in. I give them a nervous smile and get in, feeling like I’ll die if I can’t put the papers down to rest my arms. One says to the other: “How are you feeling about today?”, the other says to the One: “Didn’t realise me balls could shrink to the size of raisins”.

WHO.SPEAKS.LIKE.THIS???And I hate to go all ye-olde-world here..but in front of a woman??

Anyway, whatever, I’ve got bigger fish to fry. I get off on my floor, teeter down the hall and poke my head in. I see a split second image of a large, dishevelled, overweight guy with attitude before I hear him bark: “Carry this!!” at me. He hands me a large filing box with a strap which I sling over one arm, and some more effing papers. And that’s it. We’re off.

We get in the lift and I realise the ball-shrinking-men are WITH US! Fuck! They all talk their manly talk while I try to let my brain catch up with the situation at hand.

We exit the building and head to the Commission, again with me sweating and nearly dying under the strain of the paperwork. Ball-shrinking-man’s number two asks if I want a hand, and I’m pissed by now so I say “No thank you”, thinking I’ll fucking manage, fuck off and talk testicles again to someone else.

SO…we’re not even halfway there and I feel that feeling. You know it girls. Yep. Right then and there, in the worst of times, I get my fucking period. Do I have anything in my bag. No Sirree! I was too freaked out about the new job to pay attention to the date and anyway, my uterus has always done whatever the fuck it pleases. I guess it’s a Leo as well.

So…we get there, I dump stuff on the table, and rush to the  bathroom to fashion myself some kind of emergency protection from toilet paper, praying we get a break in which I can run to the nearest pharmacy. I go back in and sit down, and Pierre, the ugly fat prick of a Barrister, shouts, spit flying, tie on all skewiff “WHERE is the NOTICE of MOTION?”. I had explicitly asked if he would expect me to find stuff from the pile of paper and been assured no. I explained, clearly and repeatedly I had NO legal experience, and I would definately NOT be of any practical assistance to the Barrister. They assured me it was fine, it was just a protocol thing, he wouldn’t need me to find anything.

I was scared of the large, angry, unattractive shouting man, so I began looking through the papers, thinking “Please, God, help me find the Notice of Whatsit!!!”. Of course, I don’t believe in God, and if He’s real, he knows this full well, and I reckon He’d of had his hands full what with all the Human Rights abuses that go on all day on His watch to care too much about my pissy troubles, so I didn’t, of course, find it.

Again, he turns around, I can smell my doom and annihilation approaching. He slaps at the papers, sending them sprawling and screams “I NEEEEED the FUCKING NOTICE of MOTION!!!” I jabber that I haven’t done this before, so I don’t know what one looks like thinking he should find the fucking thing himself if it’s that urgent.

I start to lose it and I try to call the office. No payphone. Damn. I have to put more credit on my mobile. Of course the company is having difficulties so they can’t process my credit card payment right now. But they appreciate my patience as they fix this problem. Fuck you I don’t have time for your thanks Vodafone!

Eventually I manage to make a call, and basically get told, it’s fine, man up. I go back in I sit and try to look intelligent whilst being of absolutley NO use to anyone. We have a five minute break. One of the Ball-Shrinking-Guys comes out (the one I figure is a Solicitor there with his client) and while I snubbed him before, I’m desperate to vent about my day. I ask him how long he’s been with this case. He says “Oh about two years”, then he asks me how long I have been. I laugh and say “Oh, man, I don’t even WORK in law! I got this job today and they’ve sent me right down here and I don’t know what the FUCK is going ON in there! I could really do with a cigarette. So how did you get involved with the case?”

There’s a pause as I begin to sense something coming for me, then he says: “I’m the client” and walks away. FUCK ME DEAD! They’d already told me the client was being charged $100 an hour for me to be there, and I’ve just told him he’s paying that for jack shit.

So…eventually I got to the pharmacy, and I managed to redeem myself later by taking a cigarette break with the client and dissuading him from following his accountant’s (the ball shrinking exclaimant) advice, the advice being “Might as well be hung for a ewe as a lamb” which could’ve led to his utter ruin. My take was, no, not if the lamb will cost you 80 grand, but the ewe could utterly finish you. So I guess it wasn’t a total loss. But that was my first day in the world of law. Yep. 

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