Dream of: 14 November 1995 (2) "Embarrassing Situation"

I was in a large, austere, windowless, but well-lit room, probably in the basement of a courthouse. Sitting at different tables scattered around the perimeter of the room were members of the staff of the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee's office in Dallas. Today was the day when various matters were taken up by the bankruptcy trustee, and as an attorney, I had come to represent some of my bankruptcy clients in those matters.

I used to go to such meeting regularly, but since I had stopped taking new legal clients more than two years before, I hadn't gone often recently. In fact, my main goal at the present in handling the bankruptcy cases which I still had was to finish them up.

Since my clients themselves no longer had to come to these meetings, I was surprised when I saw one of my clients sitting in one of the metal fold-up chairs in the middle of the room. He was a black man probably in his late fifties and resembled a client named Finis whose case had ended several years before; but I realized this man was still my client and still in bankruptcy.

In my hand I was carrying a handful of papers which contained the list of all the bankruptcy clients which I still had. Flipping through the list until I found the man's name, I was surprised to see the man had never had his creditors' meeting, and I thought that was the reason he was probably there. But I also noticed the man was over $10,000 behind in his chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payments to the trustee, and I thought he might be there to try to keep his case from being dismissed for not making payments.

I walked over to one of the ladies who worked for the trustee – a woman whom I knew well since I had worked on many cases with her. I asked her if she could check her docket sheet to see why this particular client was here. I showed her my list and pointed out the bankruptcy case number of the client. I told her that in my hand I was holding the list of all the bankruptcy clients which I still had, and I told her I only had 108 clients left. I felt like mentioning that I had handled over 1,000 bankruptcy cases, and that when I had quit taking new cases over two years ago I had had over 450 open cases. I wanted to express just what a relief it was to see that heavy log of cases dwindling, and how much I looked forward to the day when I would have no more cases. But I decided not to go into all those details with the woman. After all, she was still working for the trustee and probably had no aspiration to ever leave. She wouldn't be able to relate to my feelings of impending freedom.

So we concentrated on the matter at hand. She had a hard time finding the case on her list, but finally located it. I pointed out that the client was so far behind in his payments, he would probably be better off if the case were dismissed. Perhaps then he could start over with another bankruptcy. But the woman showed me that the client had made some payments and that he was only a little over $6,000 behind, instead of over $10,000. Seeing that, I realized there might still be some hope for him in the present bankruptcy, and I knew I would have to attend to his case. I also showed the woman another case on my list. The client had an Arabic-sounding name, and it appeared to me that the case should probably be dismissed – which would mean one less case for me to have to contend with. But when the woman looked up the case, I realized it was a Fort Worth rather than a Dallas case, and I would have to take it up with the Fort Worth trustee's office.

As we talked I noticed Sandy sitting at one of the tables. Sandy had over time become the closest friend I had in the trustee's office and I always liked seeing her. Another woman (probably in her late 20s) who worked for the trustee walked up and stood beside me as I talked with the woman at the desk. I knew the woman standing beside me had a crush on me. As I tried to concentrate on the matter at hand, she moved so close to me that her left cheek was actually touching my right cheek. I knew other people in the room were watching her, and in fact I saw Carolina sitting at a nearby table and looking at us. But Carolina knew I wasn't interested in the woman, and she smiled when I rolled my eyes around in my head as if to indicate what a nut the woman was. A fellow sitting next to Carolina also smiled knowingly.

The woman kept getting closer and closer to me, until finally she pushed so hard that I lost my balance and both of us tumbled onto our backs onto the floor. I just looked around – rather dazed – and tried to see the humor in the otherwise embarrassing situation.

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