Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Disappearing people

Have you ever noticed that the people you most want to talk to are the hardest to find? I'm not certain if this is just a corollary of another rule (the people you least want to talk to are darn near unavoidable) or whether it should be considered a free-standing Law, as in Murphy's.

I've been trying to reach a colleague now on a number of matters for weeks. We have so many matters together that my list is growing longer -- and increasingly urgent -- but she's seemingly disappeared from the planet. Her assistant denies this; she says that my colleague is in a meeting, or at a closing, or just ran out for coffee. The assistant says my colleague will definitely call me right back -- but it doesn't happen. I've had a stray email or two from her -- merely increasing my workload and my anxiety -- but no closure on any of these problems.

Of course, my problems with this colleague are minor compared to those I have presently with another lawyer for whom I am supposed to be handling an appeal. I have called, I have emailed, I have wandered over to this man's office. I can't get him to talk to me. I've done everything but take out a personal ad. I may try that today.

Years ago, when I was in college or law school, when someone disappeared for weeks at a time, people would say -- "Oh, Sam? He's fallen in love." Often enough, given our youth and the popular culture (it was the 70s), the statement was true.

There's no such excuse in either of these cases. At least... I don't think so.

Some of our collective fears about lost privacy seem to have been overblown: Although it's harder than ever to avoid knowing that someone is looking for you, it's still fairly easy to stay out of sight if you don't want to be found.

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