Life in the Time of COVID

coronavirus

In the latest Readers Respond, we asked attorneys to share some funny stories from the past year of their life in the time of a pandemic. 

We used Zoom when the courthouse was closed to the public due to COVID. I chose never to conduct my sessions at home, but would go to the court and present myself in my robe online. However, defendants in criminal cases did not always respect that their time with me was a serious matter. Once, a woman defendant logged into Zoom with me while she was driving, using her cell phone! To make matters worse, I noted she was driving with a suspended driver’s license. I asked her to pull over, and when she parked, she asked me to ‘hold on’ while she walked in a store to go shopping. I had to make her realize she was in a required court session!
At the beginning, my mother strictly rationed out food portions and toilet paper. She’s the boss. I also cannot believe that we watched the whole Tiger King series, which I must say is not the type of program to which we would have ordinarily gravitated. Once we started, we committed to seeing it through.
I had been working and attending court hearings through Zoom. I had a case, so I was waiting for it to be called. A colleague used the Covid excuse for attempting to reset a hearing date. Somehow the judge knew and asked the colleague, “Didn’t you have Covid three times within a short time?” The colleague was flailing in his answer, but the judge reluctantly agreed to reset his case. I have seen so many Covid-related excuses that I think that is going to be the new norm.
I was “at” a hearing in Palm Beach and my son wandered into the Zoom half-naked waving his math homework. I was wearing turquoise leggings with my suit jacket so I had to awkwardly scoot my chair out of view to get my son off camera. Now if I’m wearing gym clothes to zoom court, I make sure to wear black.
Like many private practice attorneys, I spent most of the last year working at home. One day I was on a Zoom call with a judge (thankfully it was not for a court appearance, but for a discussion regarding my interest in joining the bench) when my at-the-time two-year-old son barged into the room and loudly declared “I have to poop!” Fortunately the judge I was talking to had a good sense of humor and told me she remembered those days.
During lockdown, with three young kids in home school, I found myself struggling to find a quiet place to work during the day. Luckily, I have a really big car, so I upgraded the car Wi-Fi plan, set up my iPad on the dashboard, and with that, the ABD #caroffice was born.
I’ve been taking long drives to get out of my apartment during the pandemic. I got a new car in December 2020, and like a 16-year-old, I upgraded the sound system with a high-end amplifier and a ten-inch subwoofer. Now I blast tunes and drive up the coast to pick up Jorge’s Mexicatessen spicy soup or to take a friend for a ride. We car dance in what I call, “Club Vas.” It’s so much fun… so so fun!
I was getting ready to facilitate a session on communication training for a large claims group on handling difficult conversations. Wanting to make sure the technology was working, I sent the meeting link to my husband to sign on to make sure the lighting was ok, and that he could hear me. All was good so he said, “I hope it works well on the real link” to which I replied “I sent you the real link.” After a pause, he said, “Oops you better delete that chat I just put in the chat box then.” … Thankfully, I was able to delete the “Hey pretty lady” before anyone could sign on.
Since the pandemic made us all remote workers, it was the first time my family was able to witness the scope of my day with phone calls, meetings, to-do lists and action items all before I would make time to exercise and prepare dinner. During one dinner conversation, I recall a family member saying, "Wow! You really do work during the day!" The rest agreed that they too were oblivious to how my days actually transpire. At that moment, I could not stop laughing. I laughed myself to tears and they too joined in the laughter. I felt validated and they had to do the dishes, pots included. After all, I had really worked that day (LOL).

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