Monday, November 24, 2014
When You're the Wife of a PI
When you're the wife of a private investigator....
It ain't what they show on TV or in the movies. It's never what they show on the TV or movies. It's boring. Thank Gods.
I realize that most likely doesn't make sense. Unless you've been friends with someone in the business or are a PI, then you know what I'm talking about. Everything a PI does, while it has the chance of becoming H-town exciting though there's a 2% chance of it, is boring. Sitting in a car on surveillance is boring. Following people doesn't happen on every single surveillance and those traffic lights are never working in your favor. Benjamin, my husband, has been doing PI work for a little over seven years now. I'm Garnet by the way. (Let's just not go there right now okay?)
Benjamin works in the hub that is armpit of California: Los Angeles. Before you start pointing out all the celebrities and all of that jazz, most of them don't live in LA. They live in smaller, quieter areas on the borders. Most of them don't hire PI's because usually they don't need them. You know where most of the work comes from as a PI? Well, the movies and shows got that part right. Jealous husbands or wives who want proof their significant other is cheating on them. Even those cases are boring.
Benjamin and I met over three years ago. We've been married two. When I finally joined him here in LA, I did go with him on a few cases. I only do that now when I've spent too much time in the apartment. Benji works for three different groups of companies that have PI's on their staff full time. Only one of those companies provides weekly work. That's another thing the movies have partially right. Work comes and goes. And when it goes you better have money put back and side jobs.
There is no such thing as a set schedule. Take this morning for instance. We were cuddling and by cuddling I mean I'm wrapped up around him snoozing on his shoulder while he's goofing off on a social media site and kissing me on the forehead from time to time. Then the phone rings, and it's his full time boss letting him they tweaked the schedule. So he has to get up and do a quickie preliminary investigation series of paperwork to find out where he's going. At which point I hear him cuss (which is dammits and fucking hells in case you're wondering). Not only is where he going not in LA this morning, but he has to leave as soon as he gets breakfast inhaled.
What folks don't tell you about L.A. is that it's big. REALLY big, and that while they might call parts of it Glendale, Orange County, or Simi Valley.... it's all Los Angeles. There's no difference between any of them. It's also really long and really wide when you drive a lot like he does. On a good day, when there's minimal traffic, you can get from the ocean to the eastern side into the desert in two and a half hours. No, you read that right. Two. And a half. Hours. That's in minimal traffic on the most direct route, like on a Monday morning at three a.m. . If you when everyone else does, bring an audio book because everyone else has the same idea and you're looking at a four hour drive. If there are no accidents.
Then when he gets there it'll be more boring. He'll be sitting outside an office waiting for someone to finish a meeting and then follow them home. Where he'll do more sitting.
Did I mention all the driving? This is one of the only things about his job that actually frightens me. The other is how they send a white guy to some areas of LA that I don't think even the cops go into without full riot gear at hand, if not on. People in LA, think traffic lights are more like guidelines than hard rules. It's a wonder this place is still standing.
Even then it gets boring. You see one fender bender, the drivers flip each other off, trade local colloquialisms and then drive off, you've seen them all. They're the same in every town or city, although on a good day, you may only see one such incident at every third light.
Even audio books get boring on this job. Encounters with the cops, boring too. Even the encounters with bored cops stay boring when they are talking to you.
There's no office at the end of a long hallway with frosted glass and Courier font on the window stating it's Detective So and So's office. No dames walking in high heels and garter belts, with hats drawn down so low you can only see cherry lips and slender jawlines. (Thank the Gods for small blessings.) No high speed chases... well, not the kind you see in the movies, but that's a story for another time. The Dick Tracy story lines of noir and Humphrey Bogart lineage... those are either things of the past or happen so rarely that they are the stuff of legends.
I still go with from time to time. I tend bring my crocheting or knitting with me. For whatever reason, this tends to help us be ignored. While this lets me get orders done, it makes for a boring day. I've been on just enough surveillance that got a little too interesting for my tastes, so I like those boring days. They mean my husband comes home and wasn't shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's a former Marine though. That means exactly what you think it means. He likes the days that get exciting. Though here anymore, following the subject to the grocery store is as exciting as it usually gets.
You want an exciting investigation career, kiddies? Don't go private sector.