That’s a hard headline for me to write. I’m a big believer in sticking with something to the painful, bitter, “oh isn’t there another way?” end of things. Which is kind of funny for a divorce lawyer, if you think about it. I mean, should I have a natural bent toward putting a stake in a relationship and moving on to the next one? Shouldn’t I be the one who is head cheerleader for the randy playboy and the popular socialite?
But, in reality, I like consistency. I want to learn the way things work and not change them. Even if it’s better afterwards. I think I know why, too.
It’s the in-between that annoys me. It’s that part of the changing where the old doesn’t work anymore, and the new hasn’t become comfortable yet. Sort of like when you switch from that old pair of gym shoes that are worn in at all the right places, and they’re flexible and reliably supportive. You don’t get the blisters on the back of your heel or the ingrown toenails of new shoes.
But then they stop being as supportive, yet you hold on because they’ve been there, and you know them.
Eventually you have to chuck them in the bin and go get new shoes. And then it’s that in-between period. The new is supportive, but not in the same places as the old. The new is firmer and yet more responsive, but now your muscles have to respond differently.
I have a friend who has many years of sobriety, and we were talking the other day, and he said it’s kind of like the difference between getting sober, and being sober. He said “getting sober was miserable, but being sober is wonderful.”
My clients have the same experience; getting divorced is a horrific experience in games playing, emotional terrorism, trauma and a financial nightmare for all concerned. Being divorced? Studies show most people are happier than ever a year after it’s finalized.
The difference between process and results is something we’re struggling with here in the Paradise by the Pacific. In the locker room at the Loews Hotel there are many long-time residents who are not happy about development, so it’s a frequent topic of discussion.
Complaints about the traffic patterns that are changing, and the constant interruptions of what was once a smooth drive from Mid-City to the beach are the cause du jour. Personally I have my issues. I used to be able to cruise down Pico, hang a right, then a quick left into the parking garage of the Loews and I’d be on the beach in three minutes with the dachshund in tow.
Not anymore. The new mega-condo-retail-apartments-office-opoli that are going up on Ocean Avenue means new traffic patterns. No more easy left turns from the middle lane into the hotel parking. Now I’m forced to go past Ocean, down along Appian Way, up Pacific Terrace and back along Ocean. Tortuous is a great descriptor — for the moment.
Right now, there are cones up and tape and it’s a freaking mess as landscapers are planting new palm trees and succulents. The new divider has been built, it’s just not operational yet. Soon it will be, and then I’ll figure out if there’s a better way into the Loews.
But right now, in the middle of the process, it’s difficult, and different and not what I’m used to. We’re in the in-between that I despise.
Of course I’ve loads of experience of being in the in-between and most of the time, if not all the time, the change is an upgrade. Because change is good. We add in new abilities and time savers. We find new uses and new ways of communicating and at the end of the day, we get used to the new, and it becomes the old eventually.
And we’ll hate it when that gets changed as well.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra