No, I kid you not. There are glittery cards and flowers and everything. In fact, people seemed rather incredulous when I explained we didn’t really go for all this back home. So yes, here they choose this one day to shower affection upon their secretaries (err, administrative professionals – “secretary” probably sounds too much like “prostitute”…). Of course, I can see why the secretaries buy into it; not only does it offer gifts, cards, and – even more unusually – a little respect, it also means free bacon with the tauntingly great-smelling cooked breakfast they all received at our office.
On the work front today was a pretty hard day. We had two mothers who had given up and no longer wanted their kids at home, while one girl, scared of being locked up, had made the bad decision not to attend court (she’ll be arrested and brought in). Another girl suffering from severe depression and substance abuse (although the D.A. may have been exaggerating a little as he described cocaine binges at fourteen) had her mother moving away to Arizona, and she reminded me (somewhat painfully) of Adeel. In fact she was lucky in the Judge’s ruling that she complete a drug clinic programme and then be returned to her mother in Arizona, rather than remaining in state custody indefinitely. I just genuinely hope she uses this opportunity to get straightened out. Generally I discovered today that it’s not easy to watch children being cuffed and taken away, especially when you know from having spoken with them earlier that many are essentially okay kids who made stupid decisions.
In the afternoon I attended the last of Steve’s classes at LSU. It was shorter than usual, but included references to numerous cases from the past few days which I experienced firsthand, so it was interesting to hear his thoughts and more detailed explanations. After the early close to the lecture, we headed down to Serrano’s, a local restaurant, for drinks with the students (about a dozen of them) who were a cool bunch. I’d met a few in court already and will no doubt be seeing more of them sporadically over the next few weeks. It was nice to unwind during a quiet afternoon, and it was only then that I truly realised just how hectic the lifestyle can be.
On the way home we also passed Steve’s old house, a now somewhat run-down house near the university. The couple who now own it noticed us wandering around (or more probably the fact we were paying an inordinate amount of intention to a rather unremarkable tree that happened to have been planted on Steve’s son, Dave Marley’s, birthday) and after discovering he was the previous owener, in thoroughly un-British style invited us to take a look around the inside too. They were a funky family, in the process of sound-proofing one room for their band to play, and with a father who both doted over his young baby and was also a serious comic-book artist (his inspiration seemed to be Preacher-style work).