No, I don’t think that Claire Higgins is going to become the Registry of Probate now that David Sullivan has been elected District Attorney. If she gets the job, I shall move to northern Sweden and resign myself to a life of wholesome isolation. Where has Kirby been hiding these past weeks? Back working for a living for awhile and coping with incoming mortar fire. Tonight I finally sat down at the computer and said, let’s get going. But first lets clean this computer keyboard which is a little dirty. Lets find that bottle of denatured alcohol I saw somewhere. Lets get a cup of coffee and a piece of bread and butter. Lets kill some time. Lets clean all the fingerprints off the computer screen.
“Block Tuesday” at the Registry of Deeds/Probate Court building on King Street has to be seen to be believed. I experienced it two weeks ago, and it was horrific. The employees that work upstairs in Probate know to brace themselves when they see every parking space full and long lines of stressed-out people lining up at the metal detector to go upstairs and wait for their cases to be heard.
Anyone who doubts that the economic nosedive is hurting us need only see the crowds of people clogging the corridors of probate court seeking divorces, annulments, changes in custody, or changes in child support. They are there to defend themselves against eviction, or ask the judge to evict. Little children are dragged up there for tense settlement conferences where who gets what and who gets worked out. There’s conferences going on everywhere there is a stretch of wall to lean against. While I was looking up a probate matter, a poor guy was starting to shout at a clerk, and the clerk was sweating bullets trying to cool down someone who was wearing out her nerve-endings. He was slated to go to court to be evicted and he didn’t know what his family would do. He had lost his job. He wasn’t a bum; see him on the street and you’d think hey, another man on the street, young and kind of capable looking.
Upstairs in the registry building its a state of chaos; downstairs it’s unearthly quiet. Upstairs is probate, downstairs is the place where real estate transfers are entered. During the boom years every monitor had a real estate person in front of it; someone looking up deeds, doing due diligence, or filing some kind of instrument. Now the place is empty: the monitors get switched on in the morning, and off in the afternoon, and no one looks at them. There are probably lawyers and title people all over town killing time in their offices waiting for someone to come in and say hello.
Right by the entrance is one monitor thats the ticker, more or less. Anyone who wants to see what is happening in real estate right now can look at it. As a sale or a mortgage is registered, it appears there. Then when they get enough documents they bind them in a book and put them on the shelf. In the boomtimes when everyone was into speculation, they couldn’t build shelves fast enough.
Well, it was noontime on Tuesday and there were only three sales to report. There was a day last week when there were only three for the whole day. The last day I checked was a little better, eleven. And this office handles the traffic for 20 towns with a population of 152,000. There were 58,644 buildings here in the 2000 census. So what does this mean? Brace yourself, boys and girls.
I went into see David Sullivan and asked him what was going on with all the people outside his upstairs office, and a downstairs office space that was empty. He spun about and worked at the computer getting me facts and figures. This is why so many of us voted for him yesterday. He works hard for his money.
“Oh by the way”, I said, “There seems to be an organized whispering campaign about you”
Before the election quite a few people told me, in confidence, that there was a deal in the works that Claire Higgins would get his job if Dave was elected District Attorney. This was supposedly a done deal. He said stories like that didn’t bother him, that it just wasn’t true, and he hadn’t talked with the Mayor in a long time, and never about that subject. I believe him. But rumors like this just proliferate and are believed because we are prone to think that politicians are only interested in feathering their nests, or getting a better class of nest.
Dave got me some figures.
Click here to see the figures my home-made charts are mine.