Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If it pleases the court, your honor...

Yesterday morning I represented myself in court. Contrary to the adage "A person who has himself as a lawyer has a fool for a client," I did quite well, thank you.

The plaintiff in the case, a vieja who's evicting me because after allowing me for a little over a year and my now-former roommate for three years to live in squalor despite numerous complaints and requests for repairs and replacements, now has a bug up her as to do something she ought to have years ago, renovate the apartment, but now so she can rent it for a higher cost, sought both possession of my apartment as well as back rent—despite her husband, probably an "illegal," who's been representing himself as my landlord while clearly the seƱora is the building's owner, having declined to accept October rent. Consequently, my security deposited was awarded to the slum bums. After I presented my case, reciting from notes I'd scribbled in the hour's time prior to the courtroom's doors being opened, suggestion that the judge order city housing inspectors investigate my apartment building, in particular my unit, where, I said I was confident, much to both their disgust and their dismay, they'd discover beaucoup code violations. (As the judge while I spoke my piece took no notes and in the courtroom there was no court recorder, my rhetoric fell on deaf ears. One day soon, however, once enough residential and commercial renters are fed up by slumlords, in the streets throughout the U.S. will rain anarchy. SO, get to work on this serious prob, Obama!)

After I'd informed the judge I am moving out of my apartment Oct. 30 and requested merely time enough to remain there 'til at least that date, guess what was the judge's judgment.

Give up?

None. The case is continued 'til Nov. 2! At which time, the judge so ordered, I re-appear before her and present to my landlady the keys to my apartment. Reminding the judge that come Nov. 2 I'd have already vacated my apartment and left the state, I inquired as to what could happen to me if I did not re-appear for the continuance court date. Finally, clued in, the affable but otherwise sometimes bewildered judge suggested that in that case once my truck is loaded and I'm set to skedaddle I simply at that time present to my landlady the aforementioned keys. That way neither the plaintiff (the vieja) nor the defendant (moi) need show up in court on the continuance date.

Ironically, since a one-way truck rental is beyond my financial means, and I had to opt instead for a two-way, Nov. 2 I will be in Chicago, where that day I'll return my truck to Elmhurst, then, as promised (in a blood oath), my best friend will transport me to Chicago's grungy Greyhound station, where that evening I hop a bus for a ride back to Nashville—where, finally, I'll be able to hang my hat.

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