Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

Divorce sucks and I had to watch

Against my better judgment, on Wednesday morning I went to court with my sister. I was there to provide emotional support, as she was there to argue a divorce decree modification filed by her former husband of twenty-three years.
So we got there at 8:30, even though we couldn't get into the courtroom until 8:50, AND we had to travel on slick roads to get there, AND I had to hobble on icy sidewalks in this damned orthopedic boot, but suffice to say that once I was frisked by cold geriatric hands (and proven to be no risk to humanity), the day only got suckier once we were on our way to spend the next two hours watching one marriage after another go down the toilet.
Basically, either the wife or the husband took the witness stand, and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and swear to God to be honest, and then was asked to state a full name and full address (which seemed creepster to me, given that the courtroom was filled with people from all walks of life ~), and was then asked questions pertaining to when the marriage occurred, how many children were born into the marriage, if the woman was currently pregnant (inane to ask one of the women present, who had been married in 1966 ~ you do the math), if the marriage was irretrievably broken, if maintenance would be provided, and the amount thereof (none of my fucking business, but there I was, witness to it all ~), AND how much child support would be paid, and if there was a parenting plan on the line.
Couple after couple after couple after couple after couple. Young, old, blue-jeaned and suited.
"Is there any reason you believe the marriage should be preserved?"
"Do you believe the marriage is irretrievably broken?"
There's a settlement agreement, a Form 14 for child support, presented to a woman, mid-thirties, with dark hair and a model's face and figure. She could be Eva Longoria's twin.
"Does this acurately reflect your spouse's income and your income?"
"Child support is in the amount of $1,200 a month. Was this true and accurate on the date that you signed it?"
And so on and so on and so on.
"State versus Michael McAdams."
Up stepped a man, middle-aged, balding, looking spiffy in a purple shirt with a patterned tie. He is supposed to pay $1,300 a month for two years in maintenance (which used to be called alimony), and child support in the amount of $600 a month.
The man's face was fire-engine red, his ears purpled. His voice was unsteady and he looked like he might cry. I worried that he was going to keel over. Again I thought how sucky it is that this man's private life was held open for me, for my sister, for my former BIL, for the handcuffed crowd in the peanut gallery.
Divorce sickens me. I felt like I could throw up. I had a quick desire to run out of the courtroom, only I was blocked in by my sis and three other people, who came in smelling like a combination of marijuana, B.O. and Vicks Vapo-Rub.
That courtroom was one of the saddest places I've ever walked into, been part of, felt. The juju was negative and depressing, and I kept thinking, Well, the devil is dancing today, and that made me feel even sicker inside because I first heard that statement from Nancy Grace, after Tot Mom was acquitted in the death of her three-year-old a year or so again.
The morning was about divorce and protection orders and stolen air conditioners and drug charges and child custody debacles.
It was a crappy start to a day that just got tougher and more personal once my BIL took the stand. Only I'm not going to write about this particular marital ending, as it's too close to home. Too close to my heart. And just too fucking sad.

No comments: