Friday, April 26, 2013
Bougainvillea, Conservatorship and The Ministry of Silly Walks
I yanked my car hard to the right, parked it and jumped out to take this photo. Pink, shocking pink paper -like bougainvillea against a blue sky. I just drove back from Pasadena, where I attended another conservator clinic. The foundation holding these clinics and helping us to gain guardianship of Sophie is incredibly efficient and well-organized. It's also free. Praise the good lord on that one. The universe is abundant. Basically, we're given a folder with stacks of paper, documents that we have to go through and sign, one after the next. When we're finished signing, we're told where and when to show up next. The people sitting around the table are Hispanic and Vietnamese, African-American and Australian. We all have a child, recently turned eighteen ,who for various reasons cannot make decisions for herself, and we all share the rueful smiles and sighs that those caught in interminable bureaucracy learn to sustain themselves. No one argues when the elderly volunteer woman tells us not to open our packets until she tells us to do so. The Husband, Sophie and I will make our court appearance in June, but before then, Sophie must be served a petition, a stack of papers, basically, that someone over eighteen years of age must hand to her. Literally. The elderly lady demonstrates this particular course of action with a young man in a wheelchair in the room. She takes the stack of papers, says the boy's name -- he is busy, twirling, twirling, twirling a small piece of paper -- and places the stack in his lap, where it rests for a moment before the young man brushes it lightly with his fingers. The lady next to me looks confused and turns toward her interpreter. I imagine her culture prevents her from grasping the irony of the situation, and I imagine the interpreter breaking through irony to express the literal. You must have another person, over the age of eighteen, hand the documents to the conservatee, the elderly lady states again, and the rest of us nod our heads. That person must then fill out this document, she continues, and we all flip through the next carefully clipped set of papers, and mail it back with this envelope.
The clinic takes little more than an hour, and we each leave with a manila envelope stuffed with papers. My anxiety about this process has turned, quite dramatically, into resignation and even amusement. To tell you the truth, I'm actually looking forward to asking one of my friends to serve the papers to Conservatee Sophie. I intend to be the Minister of Silly Walks when it's time to drop that set into the mail.