Thursday, October 11, 2007

How does it feel to be that kind of bitch?

Yesterday, I stood in a courtroom for an eviction hearing. The defendant hadn't paid her rent since June. She owed over $2,000 to my client. She had been kicked off her public assistance rental voucher program for allowing her boyfriend to live with her. (Do I think this is a great rule? That you lose your public assistance if your kids' father moves in with you? Not necessarily, but, it IS the rule. It's the rule. If you want your rent paid by the public in this county, you cannot have an able-bodied man living in your apartment. I don't MAKE these rules. These are NOT my rules. I'm just standing in the courtroom representing the the landlord who hasn't gotten any money for his apartment since June because the housing authority won't pay him anymore, because the tenant broke the housing authority rules. Is that *MY* fault?? I'm just there to enforce a binding contract, it's my job, I've got kids to feed, too, you know??)

So, she hadn't paid her rent since June. And she was sitting in the hallway nursing her 10-day-old with her 15-month-old and her 2.5-year-old sitting next to her on the bench, and the boyfriend sitting next to them. And I offered her 2 weeks to vacate, and she told me F**K off and she would ask the judge for a month.

Which she did. And I put on my case, and I asked my client when he had last been paid rent, and he said "June" and the judge granted immediate possession to my client. (Which, in actuality, means the tenant has 5 to 7 days to get out before the bailiffs show up to supervise the landlord putting their stuff on the curb.)

And so she snapped at me. "How does it feel to be the kind of bitch who would throw a newborn on the street? How does it feel to be THAT kind of bitch?" Her words were like venom, and the anger flared up in my chest - sudden, ugly anger - I was angry with her for putting me in that position. I was ANGRY with her for turning down my offer of 2 weeks. I was ANGRY with her for breaking the housing authority rules and getting thrown off the public assistance which gave rise the eviction in the first place. I was ANGRY with her for having three beautiful red-headed blue-eyed babies when I know so many people who have tried so hard to have even one baby. I was ANGRY with her boyfriend for failing to either provide for his family or at least have the decency to move out so that his kids would have a place to live.

I stared at her, and I was ashamed at the very horrible words that were bubbling on my tongue, just below the surface. I didn't say them, I bit them back, and the court deputy took her arm and said, "you cannot behave that way in this courtroom" and he escorted her from the courtroom, with her three babies and the boyfriend.

I sat down in one of the attorney's chairs just in front of the bar separating the gallery from the bench and counsel's tables, and I sat there and waited for 10 minutes, and played with my silk scarf that was a present from Husband when we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC 2 years ago, and tried not to look upset. I waited because I didn't want to see her in the hallway or in front of the courthouse. I sat there and felt anger and shame and resentment and sadness.

So, you does it feel to be that kind of bitch?

Kind of horrible, actually. Kind of horrible.



Blogger Space Mom said...

LM- I am sorry. You were put between a rock and a hardplace.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 2:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

But you are NOT that kind of b- ... SHE made choices that led to her being kicked out of that apartment... she could have waited for marriage to have children, or insisted that the father get a dang job and provide for his kids. She's not mad at you (ok, maybe she is, but she shouldn't be) - in reality, she only has herself and that deadbeat boyfriend to blame. But I'm sorry you had the awful position of holding her accountable for her actions.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 2:44:00 PM  
Blogger Sue & Charlie said...

Maybe one day she will look at herself and hopefully make a recovery of the mistakes she has made (both in personal relationships, and financial),at least for her kids sake. I am sorry you were put in that position. Unfortunately some can only blame others for their own mistakes, and can't take the responsibility of their own actions.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I'm sorry that she made you feel that way. She should have asked herself, "How does it feel to be the kind of bitch that put herself in the posistion to get her newborn kicked out on the street?" Then she should have turned to the father and asked "How does it feel to be the kind of a**hole that caused his children to be kicked out on the street?" Those would have been more appropriate questions.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 5:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...


You are only responsible for you and your client. And you know what, you did your job, well. And that is all that matters. Cause in the scheme of things we can't allow people to live for free if they break the rules for living in the free housing. (and yes I am a liberal but people need to take some ownership of their lives.)

It really sucks but living costs money. And the 3 kids under 3...yeah, that sticks in my craw.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:01:00 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Don't let her words bother you. You know that this is a job for you and if it weren't a conflict of interest you probably would have taken her home with you. Head up.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:01:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Oh wow. I understand that people make unfortunate decisions in life and yeah that rule kinda stinks, but good GOD for her to blame YOU for her problems???? Sad, ridiculous behavior on the part of someone who really needs to step up and take control of her own life. Easier said than done, but maybe this will be a huge eye opener her her. (Yes, optimism is sometimes my worst trait)

I totally get your anger and I would have had to bite my lips HARD not to snap back. I'm so sorry you were put into that situation.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous E. said...

I just want to ditto what Christina said. She made her choices. You did nothing wrong. Having dealt with a deadbeat renter myself at one point, I know the law gives them AMPLE time to get their act together while the landlord has to foot the expense of their very existence (well, not the food part). Shame on her for acting that way towards you when YOU were not to blame.

Friday, October 12, 2007 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger jenn said...

That is horrible, those poor children will likely grow up simply not knowing any better either. I don't get it. Lately I've really noticed this aspect of modern society that seems to think they are owed something...that the world is out to get them. If they'd stop flapping their jaws long enough to look around, they would see that they are building the house they curse!

Try not to take it to heart, working with the public really has it's ups and downs..file that one in the can and remember those you have helped.

Friday, October 12, 2007 7:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh honey, it's not you. you have a kind heart and good soul which is why this is affecting you. if she knew you at all, those words would have never been uttered from her...she was mad at herself and instead of a mirror, you were standing in front of her. don't be sad, you are an amazing, wonderful person, and I know that I am a better person for having you in my life...even if it's not in a big way!
Love, Cat

Monday, October 15, 2007 7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are in the USA and there is usualy another safety net somewhere.
You only need to be concerned with you and even though she seems undeserving you always want to do the right thing.
As you are a nice person, if it were me, I would print out her best options with contact numbers and find some way to get them to her.
She does not need to know it came from you, but find a way to let her know what services are available to her.
It is easy to be helpful to nice people but I think there must be extra heavenly brownie points for being nice to dreadful people.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 1:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know, another month in that house would not have fixed what ails this woman. In the grand scheme of things, which day she (and her newborn) got "kicked out" is not really going to matter to the outcome of that family. It is only one minor distraction of a life gone terribly wrong. Even if you had done what she wanted, her life would not be any better, so you mind as well fairly represent your client.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 6:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Whitney said...

I stumbled upon your blog somehow while looking at Christopher Moore related stuff. Anywho- it really sucked me in and I think you have a beautiful family. I just had to say, you seem like a very down-to-earth person, who is aware of the way the world works. This woman (unfortunately) is not. People need to realize that their issues are not the result of others actions. As you said, she broke the rules, and even if the rules are maybe a little ridiculous, you still have to do what you have to do. You had nothing to do with her decisions. Too many people want to blame someone else. And though her situation is very sad, she was not put there unwillingly. She made the choices that landed her there.

Monday, April 06, 2009 4:54:00 PM  

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