OCTOBER 1993 - 1/2
Mon. 4: I met Dr. Teltscher at his office. He's the graphologist I consulted about my parents back in 88. This time it was about my landlord and my locksmith that I was consulting him. I wanted to make sure that the way I perceived both men was founded in reality. A few days after he received the samples I sent to him, he called me asking for the correct spelling of both men's name, although I had already spelled them in my letter. Since I was sure by then that my phone was tapped I thought that the confidentiality of our relationship would be inexistant.
I set up my tape recorder on the table and he started. "OK" he said "but don't get me involved with any of this." Everything he said confirmed what I thought of those men, so I was reassured that it was not all in my mind. He even spoke about the shoddy work of Cohen, the lack of morals. About Bonarti he spoke about extreme tension and nervousness "He's wound-up like a top."(he bites his fingernails and the few times we were alone together in his car or at the restaurant, he was extremely nervous), a tendency towards violence... I said "Do you mean physical violence?" and then I thought about his martial arts practice. "Yes, physical violence" he said. "It might be that he was beaten when he was a child. You know, he has an Italian name, so it's not impossible that he's connected with the Mafia." Bad, bad news.
I rewound the tape a bit and found out that it was blank. I hadn't made any test at the beginning because I was confident the machine worked fine. The only thing that could be wrong was that the tiny battery for the mike was dead and the mike hadn't picked up any sound. "Well, I said, maybe you like it better that way."
Then I talked to him briefly about the context that brought me to consult with him, and the fact that all my sources of income were blocked. I said I wished that I could meet a good single man with a view to marriage, and that maybe he knew a few from his practice as a psychotherapist and a graphologist. He said he sure knew a few, men who had the courage to face their problems, and that he could help me to some extent with my problems. "What would you do?" He said he could teach me how to relax. "And how much do you charge per 45mn session?" "same as for a graphology consultation, $125." "Well, you see, I can't afford it." (The most humiliating thing anybody can say in America). I had just explained to him that all my sources of income were blocked and that I was driven to the brink of destitution, and he offered me to relax at $125 per session. Hardly a solution to my money woes, and relaxation at this price might get me all tensed up. But if there was the hope that he would introduce me to some good men? Naaah.
Wed. 6: One month ago I reserved some time at John Best's recording studio. I wanted to make a tape to get an idea of how I sound at this point. Not even for demo purpose, just to get a progress report, but considering that all my contacts are burnt, I cancelled the reservation. I was lucky he wasn't there when I called ten days ago, and I left the message on his machine, saying I would call again to reschedule with no intention of doing so.
I had a court date at Small claims court. It looked like there were 400 people there. There was an atmosphere of expectancy. I felt the hope that justice would be served, it gave me a comforting feeling. I saw all kinds of people seeking justice, including young women. Maybe I had a chance too. When the clerk called my case I said "By the Court" because I want a trial, I don't want to settle the case with an arbitrator. It's more than a little disagreement over money.
After all the cases had been called, the room emptied. Some people stayed to have their cases arbitrated, and a few stayed to have their case go to trial before the judge. The judge was a woman. I thought this is the judge who will hear my case, and I stayed to see how the trial of the parties present developed.
Tues. 12: Under driving rain I go buy a new cylinder for my door lock. I hope in this terrible weather nobody will follow me. I ask the locksmith on Columbus how can someone enter a place that's locked with a pick-proof lock like this. He says it's impossible. I insist that there is a way, but I see the two guys'eyes glaze over. They think I'm nuts.
Wed. 13: I install my new cylinder. It's easy! To think that I payed a guy $70 (including cylinder) to do that job! I'm glad I saved myself some money but wait... it's the 13th! Maybe it's an unlucky day and my efforts will be for naught!
Thurs. 14: Receive THREE letters from the Disciplinary Committee all of them dated October 13 (why do they always write on the 13th?). One is about Cassell (workers'comp) saying they forwarded my complaint to him. The second is about Kurach (the other partner at the firm Kurach and Cassell), the third is a cover letter forwarding the Slavits'answer to my complaint. They say that when Ira visited me at the hospital I stated that I was sideswiped. In the transcripts I say I was hit. Now these lawyers, as specialists of traffic accidents, know very well that the verbs "hit" and "sideswiped" are not interchangeable. One indicates a point of impact, the other begs for precision about time and distance. Yet, assuming I was the one who changed the verb, they should have asked me "You said you were sideswiped, and now you say you were hit. Which one is it exactly?" but they didn't ask. They deny any knowledge that what I said at the 50-h and the EBT was anything but the truth, but since it is obvious that what I said was not true, it is also obvious that they knew that what I said wasn't true. But they didn't call my attention to the inconsistency. They deny that I wasn't sworn in.
"... prior to our dismissal, the attitude as expressed by [the TA attorneys] was a belief that that the jury that would hear this case would not be sympathetic to a bicyclist or a messenger." Why wouldn't they be sympathetic to a bicyclist? Isn't it my attorneys job to select a jury that is unbiased towards me as a bicyclist and a messenger. Why would people have a grudge against bicyclists? Isn't this irrational? Against messengers, I understand, but not all messengers are riding against traffic and on the sidewalk! Why would a jury execrate a white female bicycle messenger?
"....While liability and comparative negligence were at issue, there was no question that she had suffered a significant injury." Ah! So liability was at issue. It means that they were going to put all the blame on me, and use the inconsistency in my statements to prove that I had something to hide. The only thing they admit is that I suffered a serious injury. Well, this would be hard to deny.
"Taking the complaint as a whole, it is apparent that Ms Picart's complaints not only concern this lawfirm but also her doctors, her landlord, the police, the attorney Susan Benson, and even the court reporters who, contrary to their assertions, Ms. Picart states, did not swear her in before she testified.... She has apparently convinced herself that [we were], from the beginning, engaged in an elaborate conspiracy to sabotage her case against the [TA]... This firm did not expend over $2,500 and extensive time and effortm in order to cause Ms. Picart's claim to be defeated. At the time of our discharge as her attorneys, she had a viable cause of action... We acted strictly on behalf of our client and no one else... We are unaware that any of her answers ... were not intended to be truthful and deny that she was told in any manner to answer questions other than truthfully and to the best of her recollection."
Pack of lies. Ms. Picart has convinced herself. Yeah, I'm nuts. And, pray tell, how could my cause of action be "viable" with a glaring inconsistency in my testimonies?
FAX TO ME LAURENT
October 14, 1993
I have received you letter of september 23 the day after I sent you my fax of the 29th. This is to confirm that I give up the apartment in Paris that I had asked you to reserve for my personal use.
Instead of transfering the funds through the BNP, could you please wire the money to my bank account, with the same number and references I have given you already.
Could you please explain to me why you have invested the proceeds of the sale of the apartments instead of giving me an advance on my settlement as you have done for several of my siblings, and could you tell me how much money has been invested in UNOFI?
I hope that you will wire the amount before october 20 etc.
Sat. 16: FAX FROM MOTHER
You must come over, so that we can lay everything flat together and you'll have your share as soon as Pantin (building) is sold. (1)
On september 18, there was an explosion and a fire on the second floor of the [Paris building]. Miss Parize's apartment is burnt through. She's in the hospital, where I visited her again yesterday. (2) But she hadn't renewed her insurance for 93!... (3)
A lot of problems pile on top of those of Pantin [building]. While waiting for the insurance money from the AGF for the fire, we must front the money at least to repair the hallway and stairwell. (4). You can't imagine my troubles and tiredness. (5)
Tell me the dates of your trip and I'll send you a round trip ticket since you speak about staying longer in NY. (6)
Je t'embrasse bien fort. Maman (1) She had promised me I would get a substantial part of my share after the first building was sold, now it's after the second building is sold, which could take years. (2) I don't believe this explosion and fire. It's a new trick, a new excuse not to give me any money. The landlord visits her tenant more than once in the hospital. How kind. And when I was in the hospital, I mistrusted this landlord, my mother, so much that I didn't even call her to tell her I was injured. I thought she would add to my problems instead of helping me. (3) When I went to this building in the fall of 1990, she had posted a sign requesting all tenants to send her a copy of their insurance policy (and also requesting all checks to be written to her name). So how could the old lady be uninsured? (4) Just what I thought. The money that was earmarked for me will be spent instead on building repairs. She speaks of repairing at least the stairwell and hallway but not the apartment to save money. Ridiculous. (5) Guilt trip. It looks like, because she's my mother, she's the only one entitled to have troubles and be tired. How about my own troubles? (6) She speaks as if I had made the decision to travel, when she's the one who says "You must come over." She always offers to pay my trip like she's so generous. She doesn't realize (or does she?) that it's humiliating for me to accept her handouts. I'd much rather she allowed me to make a living, so I wouldn't need her to buy me a plane ticket.
Mon. 18: I call the firehouse near the building in Paris to have confirmation that they actually put out a fire at 32 ave. de Choisy. They give me the address of the office where I can get a report. But what's the use? I know that there never was an explosion and a fire. It's a total hoax. It's my mother's latest idea to prevent me from getting my inheritance.
Wed. 20: I have obtained a copy of the play "Angel Street" by Patrick Hamilton. The film "Gaslight" with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman is the adaptation from this play. I was curious to see how the guy was trying to make the woman believe that she was crazy. The woman is Bella Manningham, her husband Jack Manningham. Here's the relevant excerpt:
What a great example of sadistic mental cruelty! And so similar to what has been happening here, with things disappearing, reappearing, changing place, and my costly attempts to protect my privacy always defeated.
A few days ago I went to the hat store Worth & Worth on Madison avenue to ask if they would be interested in seeing my berets, and they asked me to return when the store manager was there. Today I returned with my sausage bag full of berets. The manager liked them a lot. They are actually all beautiful, and they were all different. The counter was getting crowded with berets as I pulled them out of my bag, and every time I pulled out a new one, there were exclamations of appreciation from the manager and the staff. A tall, big customer noticed the big dark green cashmere beret with the shimmering mauve silk lining and asked if it was for sale. After a while the manager said that he would like to show a few to the big boss because it was he who bought the merchandise. I let him choose the ones he wanted to keep, he gave me a card with a receipt for the seven hats and told me to return in a week, after he had a chance to show the berets to his boss.
In the evening I went to a Learning Annex class about private investigation techniques. What made me sign up was the statements that one could de-bug one's phone. There were a few women who had some problems with privacy like me, some people who were trying to find somebody, some writers.
Shortly before the class began, a man came and sat near me. He caught my attention because he had a tic. He was snapping his mouth open and shut. I noticed that he looked in his sixties. His graying hair was long, like he couldn't afford a haircut, and dirty, like he couldn't afford a shampoo. His shoes were cheap and the soles scuffed, his clothing looked dirty and polyester.
The speaker looked very creepy. He looked macho yet there was something effeminate about him. He is Vincent Parco, the former owner of a private investigation agency. I learnt later that he lost his license after it was revealed that Caroline Warmus's murder weapon, a handgun, had been provided by him. He spent most of the time explaining how to look for people by searching public records. Regarding surveillance techniques, he said that it is not against the law to follow somebody in the street or any public area. Basically, his course served as advertising for the services and gadgets sold by his own company. He showed some little black boxes that revealed the existence of wiretqps of hidden transmitters.
During recess, the polyester man turned to me and engaged conversation. He said that he was setting up a show about a woman singer of the Twenties or Forties. Never heard about her before. He spoke with great enthusiasm about this woman and the time when 50th street was Jazz Alley. I said I was a musician and that I played Jazz standards. He said "You know, there is nothing worse in a show than song after song after song. It is so boring. Singers must tell stories between songs, otherwise people might as well buy records. But most of the time singers sing without knowing the life of the composers or songwriters. For instance, did you know that Cole Porter was a cripple?" I said I didn't know. I had imagined Cole Porter was an elegant and graceful man. I would never have imagined that he had a severe limp. He said most people didn't know it, but it was details like that that permitted a singer to enliven their show, by telling things about the life of the composers/songwriters whom they were interpreting.
Personally, I have always thought that stage patter is a way for a lazy performer to cheat the public out of the music they have paid to hear. Two, three sentences maximum is all I would permit myself, and not every time between two songs. It must be really important, or really funny.
Was this guy making a reference to the Ruth Brown show I had gone to with Marie-Effie in the fall of 92, and that had disappointed us both because the lady talked more than she sang?
During the second part of the course my attention drifted from the droning voice of the speaker. I wondered how the guy near me, who said he was producing a show, could look so down-at-the-heels if he was in show business. When the show was over, I asked him "What did you say you were doing? What exactly are you doing in show business?" He looked embarrassed, and left in a hurry without answering my question.
Yesterday as I was accessing this document, I noticed that the password was missing. How could this have happened? I had been carrying my diskettes with me every time I left my place for more than five minutes. It had happened also on August 4, for my document named TWO. At that time these documents were on hard disk and I could explain that someone had accessed the document while I was out, but how could it happen if I always carried my diskettes with me? To remove the password you have to know it.
Today I received a letter from Me. Laurent dated Oct. 15:
"I have received your fax of september 29, the terms of which seem to me particularly unjustified... If the situation is completely blocked at this point, it is precisely because of your negative and dilatory attitude.
Until now your family has patiently taken the consequences of your attitude, but some of your sisters didn't return the agreement form I sent them so that your share of the Brittanny house could be paid to you.
Your sister Elisabeth has offered to take the Brittanny house as part of her settlement to unblock the situation.
We are going to completely settle the estate after the Pantin building is sold. Your mother is doing all she can to achieve this. Of course this settlement will take into account all the advances you have received since your father's death (1), as well as the rent revenues you have received. (2)
Your mother asked me to precise that the proceeds from the sale of the building at the Pre, which had been invested at UNOFI, have been used to make the repairs in the Pantin building, as requested by the City of Pantin.
I confirm to you that I have never given any advance to any of your siblings. etc. A fireworks of bad faith! The money that was promised me is constantly made unavailable because of mandatory repairs, because of a fire, an explosion and what not, and now he says it's all my fault because I don't want to sign. But how could I trust my mother after she has been leading me on for three whole years making up excuses at the last minute to keep the money instead of giving it to me? If I sign my agreement to the sale of the Pantin building, the same thing is going to happen and I'll never see the money. And he accuses me of being negative or dilatory. That takes the cake. (1) The money that mother sent me is cash money-off-the-books that is not part of the estate-on-the-books, so it can't be written off my settlement. (2) The rent revenues are a different matter altogether and are not part of the settlement either. He and mother speak of deductions even before they give me one cent! They're trying to prove that they don't owe me anything.
Mon. 25: I go to the SRO Law Projetc at 647 Columbus. I want to know what my rights are as a tenant. I start talking about my troubles to Terry Poe: the theft of my photographs three months after I had moved in, then the game the landlord had played on me, pretending he was in love with me, and every time I responded rejecting me, treateing me like dirt. I had never cried about it but now that somebody was listening to me, tears started flowing. I continued with the unauthorized entries and things being moved around in my place even after I had changed the locks. He gave me a list of SRO's marking those that had a better reputation, and other brochures about SRO-tenants'rights.
I have returned to Worth & Worth to know what the big boss thought about my hats. The manager said that he had seen them and liked them. Then he pulled the price list I had left him that indicated the price for the three models (standard, large and extra-large). He said that it was unfair for people with a big head to pay more than people with a small head. I said it was not only a matter of head size, it was also a matter of volume, and people had a choice of volume regardless of their head size, and that the biggest hats took almost twice as much fabric as the smallest ones, and took more work and time too, but he didn't seem to hear. He took his calculator, and started punching numbers. He took the price in the middle column for an average, and after a while said that with their markup, the hats would be much too expensive. I said I could give them a discount if they bought by the dozen, mix and match. Then he said that I came to see them at the wrong time because they had done all their buying for the year. I asked when they bought their winter hats and he said in May. And anyway, even if they bought from me, they would not be able to display my hats in the window because they planned their display several months in advance and there was no way to alter the plan. Besides, their special designer glass-case was already occupied by a hat- designer's work. He showed me. These were long-hair felt hats, caps etc. in two-tone felt. I found the shapes and colors ugly and very fancy compared to my sober shapes and colors.
The manager had made a complete turnaround between the time I left him the seven hats and now. The first time he and his staff were wildly and sincerely enthusiastic, and now he was giving me all kinds of excuses while the staff stared silently, even though my berets were perfectly adapted to the conservative style of the store and to the fashion trend. Obviously someone had gone behind my back in the interval and convinced them not to do business with me.
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