Trash Day

“Leo, bro, it’s Jordan… you gotta see this. It’s Christmas in Fishtown. Come to the office!”
“I have caller ID. I know it’s you, Jordan. Why are you calling me on a Saturday? And don’t ever refer to me as ‘bro’ again”.
“Bro, err, Leo. Just trust me. Come to the office. And wear jeans and a t-shirt if you own anything like that.”

Before me on that hot Saturday morning stood the most beautiful thing I had ever seen – a giant mountain of trash. Well, a mountain full of discarded office furniture. Old filing cabinets, used chairs, pens, desks, you name it. Apparently one of the businesses in our building had left abruptly and figured it would be too expensive to move any of the furniture, so they threw it all in a big dumpster. I swallowed my pride, called the building manager, and asked if I could take their trash.

“It’s trash, Jordan. You can do whatever you want.”
“Thanks, Jess! You’re the best!”

Me and Leo had just started the law firm about a month ago, and we were sharing a small side office. Of course, our law office lacked one thing – furniture.

Leo showed up to the office, actually wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I didn’t know he owned such attire.

“Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” I asked Leo. “Hey, are you smiling? I didn’t even know you could smile. Let’s get digging…”

For a second I thought back to law school, and my old job. In law school we are taught that lawyers are supposed to be fancy. Super fancy. We wear fancy suits, argue about important issues, and then sip fine scotch. Young lawyers write memos to senior partners about important and pressing legal issues, right? On my end, I had just left a job at a traditional law firm two months ago. Just two months ago I was working out of a downtown skyscraper, meeting with human resources, and having dinners with senior partners.

And now here I was at 30 years old, with a college education and a law degree, excited to rummage through a pile of trash. What would my law school classmates think if they knew this?

What the hell had I done?

We spent the rest of the day hauling furniture up three flights of stairs, drenched in sweat, looking a bit less than fancy.

Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I turned to Leo and took a sip of Jacquins whiskey, sitting on top of my new desk.

“Wow, it actually looks like, um, a real law office now. We have filing cabinets. Like big fancy lawyers. I think we’re moving up in the world, bro.”
“Don’t call me bro…”
“Pretty soon we’re going to be able to afford a coffee machine. Maybe.”

I don’t know why, but at the moment, looking at our office I felt more proud of anything I had done in years past. Graduating law school, passing the bar, and finding a job. None of that mattered compared to seeing our space and having it actually look like a law office.

Our law office. Fancy be damned.

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