Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Always Delicious Taste of Irony

Perhaps it is an affliction with which only I suffer but sometimes the line between irony and coincidence blurs. At least to my eye. I have a hard time telling one from the other. Are they a single coin's dual - and dueling - sides? I know not. I am certain that someone smarter than I am can answer that question. That line of folks is particularly long but if you would like to join, be my guest. It might be some time before we reach you and we thank you in advance for your patience.

I spent a piece of my Christmas Eve morning at the office. My purpose was two-fold: finish up some work I had left unfinished when I skedaddled on Friday and grab up my stash of Christmas stuff for Margaret, the kids and Joe. I trust no one so the items I purchase for Christmas, whether on-line or in a store, get hidden away in my office until Christmas Eve. Then and only then do I wrap them and bring them home, at which time I stash them under the tree without saying a word to anyone about what they are or for whom they have been placed there.

The Firm's building has an elevator, which is a necessity for those among our number who due to one ailment or another, simply cannot climb up and down the stairs. I am not an elevator person. First, being more than mildly claustrophobic I always attempt to limit my "man inside a shiny metal box" time whenever I can. I adhere to that so firmly that when I die I shall be cremated. Ashes in an urn seems far less confining for some reason than spending eternity as "man (or diminishing amounts thereof) inside a shiny metal box". Second, given that I am a runner it strikes me that it would be more than slightly hypocritical if I opted out of walking up/down the stairs. I can run 26.2 miles (well, kind of/sort of to be fair) and I cannot walk up 48-52 stairs to get from the lobby to the 3rd floor?

Saturday morning I actually rode in the elevator since riding down carrying packages made more sense than attempting to carry a couple of trips' worth of stuff down the stairs. When I entered the elevator on the 3rd floor with my arms full, it occurred to me for not more than a moment that on Friday afternoon the elevator had been out of service while the mechanic performed routine service on it. I had seen the sign taped to the door in the lobby prior to hoofing it up the stairs upon my return from the bank. Although I could not recall as I got into it on the 3rd floor whether he had finished doing whatever it was he had been doing, I pushed the button to open the door and after it did, I hopped aboard and pushed the "L" button without giving it another thought.

No additional thought proved to be necessary for the car descended to the lobby and its door opened automatically, permitting me to cart my stuff out to my car without any difficulty at all. However, when I re-entered the building the combination of laziness and immunity from self-loathing overwhelmed my heretofore good judgment. I eschewed the stairs for a quick ride up in the elevator. Or so I thought.

I mimicked my earlier actions for they had worked so well: depress button to open door, step through open door into car and as door closes behind you, depress button for desired floor and wait for the ride to begin. When "it" (the ride) did not begin within a couple of seconds of the door's closing, I thought that a bit odd. When all of the buttons on the wall panel inside the elevator began to light up in a random, non-specific way I thought that might be even more odd. But when all of the buttons on the panel went out and nothing I did or pushed caused any of them to light and - more importantly - did NOTHING to suggest to the car that moving was indeed the next agenda item, I thought it not good. Especially since my cell phone was not on my person but rather on my desk....up on the 3rd floor.

I did what any right-thinking person would do. I laughed. I laughed because among the pieces of business that I had been able to wrap up almost completely a day earlier was the settlement of an elevator case in which I represent the entity that owns the office building where the elevator is alleged to have malfunctioned. Better still is the fact that the company that services the elevator in my client's building is the same company that services the Firm's elevator AND is a defendant in the lawsuit arising out of the alleged accident at my client's property AND under the terms of the settlement is paying 100% of the settlement on behalf of all defendants.

After I finished laughing I noticed that the elevator still appeared to be dead or - in the words of the great I.M. Fletcher, "extremely sleepy." I realized that it was not going to take me to the 3rd floor. Of concern to me was my realization that (a) the office was closed; (b) on Christmas Eve I was not expecting to see anyone else; and (c) my ability to tell my wife of my predicament was non-existent. Cell phone was on the 3rd floor; remember?

I thought to myself "WWTPD" (What Would The Plaintiff Do?) and I did what he told us at his deposition he did when the elevator in which he was riding allegedly malfunctioned: I pried the door open and stepped out of the car. I am less proud that I figured out what to do than I am than embarrassed that it took me close to two minutes to arrive at that solution. Perhaps I should have spent less time laughing....

....I suspect however that you shall not.


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