Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

A Day Without a Post

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Total Black: $2,642.01
Total Red: $230,360.63

I had wanted to finish this project with 365 posts: one for each day from August 9th, 2009 to August 9th, 2010. Yesterday was the first night I hadn’t posted in seventy-five days. I was in the emergency room instead.

The contract attorney position ended yesterday. I believe we were on the project for nearly thirty days straight. Naturally, we all decided to go out afterward and get drinks. That was around 4pm. I had finished up at the position a bit earlier because I had an interview with another temporary attorney staffing agency and it didn’t make sense to return only to work thirty minutes. So, I wandered around a bit after the interview to kill some time until my colleagues finished. In my wanderings, I got stopped by a reporter for WPIX-TV Channel 11. She asked me about my socks and whether I shopped for them often, how often I bought new pairs, and so on. They were promoting, a company that sells subscriptions to socks, sending a few new pair in the mail every few months. Cool idea. And I got two free pair of socks and may have had a cameo on the local news.

Eventually, I made my way over to the bar where we meeting up. I ordered food and grabbed a beer. Once my co-workers arrived, I switched to bourbon and ordered more food. More people arrived. I ordered more bourbon. Then, at some point, the tape stopped. I remember having a cigarette. I remember paying my tab. I think I recall walking the eight blocks back to my apartment. At some point, someone called an ambulance and I was taken to the emergency room. While at the emergency room, I tried calling too many people. I wasn’t really aware of what was happening and I knew enough that being taken to the emergency room was serious, so in my drunken stupor I thought I’d let people know. I started emailing the co-workers I had been with. I tried calling my mother, my sister, and a friend here in the city. I guess I thought if I could get someone on the telephone, I could have a nurse tell them what was going on, and then that person could explain it to me. Really illogical drunken logic.

Unfortunately, just as I got my mother on the telephone, my cellphone battery died. That caused massive panic on her end because all she knew was that I was in the hospital and now couldn’t reach me. To make matters worse, when I was ultimately discharged, I wandered the ten blocks back to my apartment only to find that I didn’t have my keys. The suit pants I had on have a hole in the pocket. It’s one of those “to do”s that you just never get to. I don’t know if I lost my keys or if I was smart enough earlier on to put them in my bag. Either way, I didn’t have them because when I wandered out of the bar and made my way home, I left my bag behind. Thankfully, the Woman Who Sat Next To Me took my bag for me. So, without keys, and in a seriously inebriated state, I figured my only option was to sleep it off at a nearby hotel. That cost upwards of $250.00 When I finally awoke in the morning, I went back over to my apartment, hoping that I’d find my keys in my apartment door. They weren’t there. So I had to go find a locksmith to break into my apartment. That cost another $250.00. Once inside, I plugged my phone in and called my mother. It never occurred to me to use the hotel telephone or to call collect. That’s too 20th Century. In the world of cellphones and texting, once my phone died, I was incommunicado.

My mother, it turns out, had been, all that time, worried sick. She called my sister who also wasn’t sure what was happening. She called our dentist because his son lived in New York and she thought maybe his son could find out something about what was happening. That must be some sort of worried-mom logic. She called the New York police three times. When I called, she and a friend were out at the casino, so once they made it back home, the friend called hospitals in New York, pretending to be my mother, asking for info about me. Because of privacy laws, all she could find out is that I had been discharged. When I finally got in touch with her this morning, she was very relieved. Of course, when I spoke with her again just a few hours ago, she plugged returning to Pennsylvania as the cure-all for my problems. Given my post the other day, Should I Stay or Should I Go, I wondered for a second about going back home, into the safety of mother’s arms. You never seem to want nurturing more than when you’re ill. But I have more interviews next week with temporary attorney staffing agencies, so I’ll have to pass that up this time.

I spoke as well today with the friend I had texted while in the emergency room. He noted that the drugs I’m on as part of the medical experiment do not mix well with alcohol. It hadn’t occurred to me that they could have played a role. I did find it suspicious, however, that I seemed to all of a sudden just fall off. One moment I was drunk but doing fine. The next I was gone. Tape stopped. I’m lucky, and thankful, that nothing more serious happened to me. With these pills, I’ll have to watch my alcohol intake. I could have been admitted to the hospital for something much worse than intoxication. Still, my day without a post did not go without cost. I lost all of today, caused unnecessary worry and strife to friends and family, and lost more than $500. That’s no way to get out of debt.

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