Two weeks ago I was sitting in blissful ignorance, surrounded by a lifetime’s accumulated crap. I shuffled the stacks of paper to opposite sides of the coffee table making room for my feet and, as an exercise in pointlessness, I picked up the phone, dialled the estate agent. For the third time that week. “Why haven’t you called me back?” I asked. “What’s going on?” Mr Bluebird flew off my shoulder and into the microwave where he exploded in a puff of feathers.
The estate agent apologised and pledged her renewed allegiance to the flat. Two minutes later, she called me back. “I just spoke to the vendor’s solicitors and they’re all ready to exchange contracts on Friday. So you need to talk to your solicitor.” So I called him. “So, are we all ready to exchange contracts on Friday?” I ask. “First I’ve heard about it. The vendor’s solicitors haven’t spoken to me in months.” Again I call the estate agent who doesn’t return my call. Ever.
This is taking far too long so I phone Mrs Garrett, the vendor’s mother. Between us we bypass everyone and sort everything out. I sign the contract and the solicitors do the exchange on the Friday. Things start happening. And then they start happening really fast.
Within no time at all I’ve met with an immigration lawyer. He tells me what I need to know and recommends a tax lawyer. Then next day, by coincidence, I’ve got the visa papers from the USA. I return them immediately. Suddenly they reply. I have an appointment to get the fiance visa. Hoorah! I’ll be with my Laura! And in only a few more weeks. Almost before I know it, I’m in the loft, I’m emptying cupboards. I’m packing. Wow. I didn’t know I owned so many comic books. They seem to be in every carton and suitcase. Somehow I find time to sell Mrs Garrett all my furniture, the fridge and a kettle.
And then, yesterday, I met with a tax attorney. Yes, a real live tax attorney all the way from LA. She wears a white T-shirt with a dark suit jacket and, as well as the tax thing, she does production law for TV and film. She also collects snow globes. There are millions of them, okay dozens, shelves full, all around her office. “Michigan is very cold,” she tells me, which seems strangely ironic for a Los Angelino who surrounds herself with fake snow. Nevertheless, she’s friendly and helpful and I instantly like her. She tells me about getting a social security number and capital gains tax (which I won’t have to pay, hurrah!).
In the middle of all the above, somehow I finally get The Car mixed and graded. Yes, I know I said it was finished on the screening invites. I lied. Sue me. Hey, I have a lawyer, so ner ner. Anyway, both the grading and mixing are surprisingly easy (like this lapsing into the present tense thing) so I don’t bother writing about them. Gary the grader makes all my shots match and Mike the mixer makes all the sound balance, Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt, job done. All ready for the big move and the big movie.
Serendipity. Everything coming together at once. It felt serendipitous to get the moving date sorted on the house just as the visa was coming together. And it felt serendipitous too to find a tax lawyer who also handles film production law at just the right time for moving to the US. And look at that. Looky looky! I am, as I say, lawyered-up. It’s almost like being a citizen, except for that thing of not having a vote while still paying taxes. It’s as real as Coca Cola. It’s real. It’s actual. Everything is satisfactual.