Sunday, February 5, 2017

a tick, a tick, a tick, good timin'

I have a friend who is a criminal defense lawyer in the Philadelphia area. I see her on the train every so often and we have a short conversation until we get to my stop which is a mere twenty minutes from the downtown station where we board. It's not nearly enough time to cover everything since the last time we saw each other.

The last time I saw her (which I believe was at the end of last summer), she told me a funny little anecdote that I will share with you now.

Since she practices law by herself, she rents a single office in a suite belonging to another law firm in a building in Philadelphia. One afternoon, the other law firm had a conference involving several attorneys from various other law firms. During a break in the discussion, one of the visiting attorneys — a man named Robin — received a call on his cell phone. He glanced up from the lighted screen of his mobile device and caught the attention of the hosting attorney.

"Is there somewhere that I can take this call in private?," he asked.

"Sure.," the host replied and he directed his office guest down a hallway to an empty conference room on the left. 

Robin smiled and thanked him as he toddled off down the hall. However, when he reached the end of the hall, he stopped and looked at his options. On the left was the conference room to which he had been offered and directed. On the right, was the unoccupied office of a law partner who had gone out to grab some lunch to bring back. The office looked way more inviting with its dark wood shelves filled with endless bound volumes of law books, its large polished wood desk, its surface arranged with neat piles of papers and folders corralled within two gold-trimmed trays. Behind the desk was a big chair, upholstered in leather the color of chocolate and trimmed with brass nailheads displaying an antiqued patina. Robin assessed the two rooms and, defying earlier instruction, turned right, taking a seat in the chair behind the desk. He continued on his call, even elevating his feet to the desk top and leaning back to test the support of the chair.

Be with you in a minute.
The partner returned to the office with his bagged midday meal. He acknowledged a few co-workers before setting out down the hall with plans of eating his lunch while he did some work at his desk. When he got to the doorway of his office, he was startled. After all, there was a strange man in his chair, the soles of his shoes exposed on top of his desk he was sitting behind. The partner was rendered speechless, but within a moment or two, he gathered his composure and opened his mouth, about to release a barrage of questions to the intruder.

He was halted though, as Robin, barely looking up from his call, extended his arm and popped his index finger up in the universally-understood gesture of "just a minute."

The partner was dumbfounded. He was being stifled by some guy parked at his desk in his office. Some guy! But the phone call ended abruptly. Robin sprang to his feet and grunted a nearly-inaudible "thanks" as he squeezed by the partner and bopped down the hall to rejoin his conference.

So, that's the story. I was just as dumbfounded as the partner. Maybe because I know Robin and his behavior wasn't surprising.

No comments:

Post a Comment