Legal Widow

Soon we will be on every mailing list in existence, and the current half-dozen brochures we get daily through the door will multiply beyond the strength of even our postman (who is very tough and who wears shorts in the winter), and he will dump them all in the nearest wheelie bin and get on with delivering all those kind offers from credit card companies instead. It will be a great relief for me, because a surfeit of brochures does terrible things to the Lawyer’s decision-making abilities.
However many you throw away there always seem to be more, spreading themselves lasciviously across the floor, trying to get us to go skiing or buy a Landrover, or get a new three-piece suite or take out platinum membership at the gym… and the Lawyer takes them all seriously.
That’s the problem with a job that relies on the written word: you start believing everything you read. Subjudice, who reads nothing more than the TV guide, is the most breathtakingly cynical person I know, whereas the Lawyer actually believes that the equity partners are reinvesting profits in the firm, as they claim in the accounts.
I stand no nonsense from brochures and stuff them straight away in the recycling bin, but the Lawyer recycles them out again just in case there’s something in there that he really has to have.
“But how likely are we to go on a trek along the Great Wall of China?” I asked him one Saturday morning, when he had piles of brochures stacked around him and an A4 pad on which he was making notes. “Or buy a remote control abdominiser? Or adopt a child from Thailand?”
“Look, if we book before the end of January we get a free midweek fondue at Snobberie les deux Alpes,” he said. “And if we buy this tabletop patio heater, we could eat all our meals outside all winter long.”
Liability started to cry, because the last time we ate outside she got stung by a bee and the Lawyer rubbed on toothpaste instead of camomile cream because he hadn’t read the tube properly (although he believes the written word, he doesn’t pay too much attention to it; that’s what assistants are for).
The trouble is that New Year is the time for Big Spending, besides which the expense of Christmas looks like the jinglings from the piggy bank. We need, for example, to get the driveway done, but the Lawyer is stuck on the page that offers block paving, gravel chippings and that alarming red rubbery stuff.
“Dad. Please. Can’t we have Tarmac like everyone else?” asked Deminimus, who is going through his ‘Conformist without a Cause’ phase.
“Not until I’ve worked out that it’s the best possible option; and that means getting a few more brochures in,” said the Lawyer.
The children have no problem making decisions, because everything is brand driven: if it doesn’t say Barbie, Nike or Gucci (an alarming route recently taken by Subjudice), they simply won’t wear it. Or eat it. Or go to school in it – or at least not without a lot of whingeing.
But it’s difficult to get attached to any brand of block paving, to be honest. “Are you like this at work?” I asked him. “Whatever it is you do, I mean. It must mean taking decisions occasionally.”
“Well, I find that time and panic usually make up my mind for me,” he said. “And besides, working for clients usually means having no choice at all. Really, this is a treat.”
There you are then: indecision, the Lawyer’s friend. Hardly worth buying him a Christmas present at all.