I was supposed to have been here, this past Monday.
Instead, I cancelled my plans because on 3 February I had a jury trial set to start. It was going to run every bit of all week and maybe longer. My travel plans would have had me leaving the following Tuesday, 10 February. I’d have been leaving then because I wanted to be in Dresden for the 70th anniversary of the bombing. Every year on the anniversary everyone turns out in downtown holding candles, and at 10:14 p.m., when the first bombs began to fall, every church bell in town lights off. I’ve seen video clips of it, and it’s extremely impressive and moving, even on a small screen. I’d wanted to be there, and I’d wanted to take my older two boys with me.
We’d have got to Frankfurt on Wednesday morning and spent that day getting to Dresden. Thursday and Friday I’d have showed them around the city. Friday night would have been the memorial, and then Saturday in the train over to Freiburg. Sunday I would have showed them daddy’s old stomping grounds, then Rosenmontag on Monday. I have a standing invitation to crash with a law skool classmate who currently lives outside Stuttgart (his boy is my godson), so we’d have done that Tuesday and Wednesday, then fly back Thursday morning.
But I had no reasonable assurance that damned trial would finish in time. I couldn’t ask for a continuance, either. I’m the plaintiff and this was already the third setting of a suit we filed in January, 2006. It was first set in June, 2013, and twice at the defendants’ request got continued. Another continuance and my clients would hang me from a lamp post. Justifiably.
So I cancelled my plans, on the one year when Rosenmontag and February 13 were going to fall in the right order and close enough together. Next year Rosenmontag will be February 8, meaning February 13 will be the following Saturday. So I’d have to fly out the preceding Thursday, February 4 (flying on a Friday is extortionately expensive; ditto Monday), and stay until February 16. I don’t know I’ll be able to take that kind of time off. I don’t know if my children will be able to take that kind of time off.
But at least I’ve got that damned trial out of the way, right?
Wrong. The morning before we were to start picking a jury, the judge conference-called all the lawyers and announced she was continuing it until June. Because.
So I am nowhere to be seen in that video, and I have lawyering to thank for it. What a grand thing it is to be a lawyer. Get to screw up what might turn out to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for you and your children, and for what? I guess I can comfort myself that at least the poor judge didn’t have to hear a case unwillingly.