November 1, 2016: The Day I Became a Local Legend (Part 1)

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Dear Diary,

Well, I did it. After toiling for many fruitless years, today I finally managed to become famous. Strangers will recognize me on the street. My name will fall from the lips of gossips in every staff breakroom in Bend. I will be remembered in local history for years to come.

But not for my writing.

This morning, as I set off on my bike for the Deschutes County Courthouse, I didn't imagine what I was about to do would make me famous. No reasonable person would.

I was only bringing Will a basket of homemade croissants. That's all. I planned to give him the croissants, quietly thank him for helping Lydia cease to be stupid, and maybe invite him for lunch at our spot by Mirror Pond.

At first I didn't even know I'd be entering the courthouse. The District Attorney's Office appears to be a separate building on Google Maps. In reality, the two are annexed together. A sign on the front door instructs members of the public to enter through the courthouse.

As you can tell from my ignorance of the setup, I'd never been to the courthouse before. I'd seen the imposing face of it countless times, driving or biking past it on Greenwood, but I've never had a reason to go inside. I thought visiting Will would be no big deal, like visiting Dad at his insurance company when I was little. I supposed I'd simply go inside, find Will's office number listed on a directory by the elevator, show up and knock.

The sight of the fully uniformed security guard, metal detector, and X-ray machine behind the front door quickly corrected my naive assumptions. The government was not going to make this easy for me.

The guard was a solid young man whose jolly disposition seemed incongruent with his job. He cheerfully rattled off a list of items I couldn't bring inside, including cameras. I asked if I had to forfeit my phone, because it has a camera in it. The guard said no, that wasn't necessary.

I felt the need to clarify, "So...there's a rule against bringing cameras inside, but no rules against taking photos with another device that's not technically a camera?"

The guard chuckled and said, "It's an old rule."

As he fed my purse and basket through the X-ray machine, I fidgeted and said, "I'm actually here to find my...um, friend. He works in the DA's office. Will Darcy?"

I worried the guard would think I was some suspicious person who came to the courthouse to resolve a grudge against Will, with homemade croissants as my weapon of choice. I then worried that my worrying made me look really suspicious. I made myself so nervous, my voice cracked and my palms sweated.

Luckily the guard didn't think anything amiss. People must melt into puddles of nerves before him daily. He gave me directions to the District Attorney's Office.

I crept through the narrow halls of the courthouse, feeling small and out of place. I wasn't cowed by the building itself. Just the opposite, actually. The exterior is regal, but the interior is underwhelming. It's bland and worn out, like an underfunded high school built mid-twentieth-century and barely touched up since.

The people aren't scary, either. They're the same people they were outside on the streets. The key difference is: inside the courthouse, these people have the authority to decide the fates of lives. They can grant freedom, or they can take it away. I felt how Harry Potter must have felt walking through Diagon Alley for the first time, as an ordinary child suddenly surrounded by people with extraordinary power.

I found the entrance to the DA's office at the end of a corridor, but a heavy door with a card reader prevented unauthorized entry. Courthouse employees bustled behind a glass window by the door.

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