Social Security wants my sister’s birth certificate. Her copy is in a storage locker in Sonora, she thinks. I head down to the Courthouse. It’s drizzling.
For the first time ever, I try parking in the gravel lot at the North end of the building. Big mistake. I drive a lowslung car. The lot consists of huge cavities in the gravel. My car rocks back and forth as I pull into a space, listening to the oil pan scraping the gravel. I wouldn’t call it “accessible” but at least it’s on the same block. After a long, long walk back to the front entrance, I go through the security line. A table near the elevator is marked “Courthouse Information.” A young man fields inquiries while not missing a beat of his cellphone conversation. I need to go to the 5th Floor, which means going to the 4th, then switching elevators to ride to the 5th.
I enter the offices of the Clerk/Recorder. The view from here is normally stunning, but today it’s gray and dismal. There are four or five workers inside and one woman who appears to be doing research of some kind. The workers approach helpfully. I only need one.
I have already downloaded and filled out the request form. A pleasant man says he’ll be back in five minutes. He is. I pay the $25 for a super-official document because I really don’t know what kind they want.
In the elevator I look at the certificate. I remember her doctor, a nice man who died in a plane crash, leaving a young family. Remembering him makes me sad.
The drizzle continues.