“Any lane?” I asked the lifeguard last week, as I stood before the shimmering blue pool at the North Suburban YMCA.
“Not many sign up this time of day,” she said, apologetically.
The pool was completely empty. I felt like King Farouk.
“It’s like a dream!” I gloated. “Except for the plague part.”
It might say something about the mundane quality of my existence. But during months of lockdown, when I tried to look forward to the future, swimming laps at the Y was the first benchmark of the return of ordinary life.
I kept paying dues, through April and May, even though the Y was closed. Because a) the Y rocks; b) I want the Y to survive — not all of them did; c) the dues aren’t that much — de minimis, as lawyers say; and d) I didn’t want to be what in legal circles is called “a jerk.”
But let’s say I were a jerk. Let’s say I angrily demanded my dues back; only about 15% of members canceled, according to the Y. Would I get them? That would depend on the exact wording of the membership agreement, on what kind of force majeure clause it has.
“It’s a phrase that nobody knew about until three months ago, even among lawyers,” said Abbe Lowell, a top trial attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Chicago’s Winston & Strawn.
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