Thursday, August 25, 2005

Our house is a very very very expensive house

Although, as any of you who actually read this may have already noticed, this blog is officially on summer vacation, I thought I'd check in and make a totally unoriginal comment on the housing market here in this great city. Public opinion concerning my borough of choice, Brooklyn, ranges from it being dangerous, far & inaccessible to fun, young & a great place for kids to start out! Well, as usual, the truth falls somewhere in the middle, but generally I love it here and wouldn't trade my beautiful apartment in my beautiful neighborhood for anything.

One thing that is definitely 100% false, though, is the myth that here in Brooklyn, you get "more for your money." Nowhere in this damn city do you get any sort of "value" for your money. My boyfriend and I have seen the worst garbage imaginable in the past three days - apartments where you have to step up two feet to get into the bathroom ("hope you don't like to come home drunk!"), apartments straight out of a Geico commercial ("the love was real, but the house was built too small"), apartments that shook when the train rumbled by underground, apartments where the broker sheepishly suggested that the couch could be placed in the kitchen. All this, for a monthly rent that could sustain a third world family for the next, oh, I don't know, fifty years.

All this leads me to wonder how everyone I know can afford to live in New York. Not everyone I know is a fancy-shmancy lawyer or i-banker, yet they all live in fantastic apartments with laundry in the building, 24 hour doormen, and other amenities that no reasonable person should require. Does that mean that everyone's parents pay their rent? I think it does. Maybe my mother, who is always chiming in with doomsday predictions about the welfare of the "housing bubble" is right. Maybe it is about to burst, and maybe that's for the best. I just hope something happens that will permit people who actually belong here and contribute something to life to stay here (short of a terrorist attack or something like that). Because the current state of affairs is pretty unbelievable.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Summertime, and the living is boring

I know that in three weeks, I'm going to be kicking myself for saying this, but I totally hate vacation time while I'm just home. My worst nightmare from the post below has come true: so far this vacation, I have just been sitting on the couch, watching Law & Order reruns (don't ask me why that's my favorite show, since crim was my least favorite class, but something about Sam Waterston keeping the mean streets safe really does it for me and I can watch ten episodes back-to-back). I'm a big list-maker, and I thought that making a list would help me set reasonable goals that I could accomplish this week. Here's the list:

1. Get iPod fixed.
2. Order new battery for iBook since old one was recalled about four months ago for safety reasons.
3. Redecorate apartment.
4. Do something good for humanity or something.
5. Get a haircut (time to stop looking like overgrown, mangy beast).
6. Go to dentist.
7. Find new general physician (since I am now perhaps too old to be going to my pediatrician).
8. Take yoga classes and run, hopefully losing 5 pounds before boyfriend gets back from his jaunt around the world (must be nice).
9. Buy a printer and write at least 50 cover letters targeted to firms I care about.
10. Find a way to stop the horribly annoying noise of water dripping from my neighbor's air conditioner onto mine.

And how many of these simple tasks have I accomplished?


Yesterday, I got a haircut (hold your applause, please). Today, my mother came over and helped me rearrange my furniture and hang a couple pictures, making a marginal difference, since my furniture all sucks and looks like it was salvaged off the street or came from yard sales (which, minus the Ikea stuff, it did).

The rest of the time, it's been me, the couch, cheesecake (perhaps the antithesis of item #8), the cats, and Law & Order. So for all the complaining I do about being in school and busy and overburdened with crap, it may be for the best, since apparently during my short breaks, I turn totally nonfunctional and can spend hours walking circles around Blockbuster in a stupor, unable to even pick a damn movie.

But one thing I will be doing tomorrow that amuses me to no end is going back to work so they can take me out. I can't believe that they were too lazy to take me last week while I was still working, and out of guilt are now making me come back in just for lunch . Even worse than that is the fact that it's my big event for tomorrow. Except, of course, for the big trip to Blockbuster!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Relax! (don't do it)

Finally, after months of hoping and dreaming, it's my "summer vacation." I have a week and a half with absolutely nothing to do. I should be jumping for joy, or going to sit on a beautiful, secluded beach, but instead I bought a vacuum cleaner. What can I say, I gotta cut loose somehow!

I realize now that I have no idea how to relax anymore. This is a real shame because before law school, I was amazing at it (and during certain parts of first year, I was still pretty damn good, despite the odds). According to the birthday book, I was born on the "day of gracious repose," and that used to make total sense. Law school, or should I say its grading system specifically, has taught me that each and every impulse I have to take it easy is WRONG! Some part of my brain sends painful little shocks throughout my body every time I try to relax, and I'm immediately thrown to my feet and sent out, zombie-like, to Do Something. Problem being: what the hell do I do?

Over winter break, among other endeavors, I taught myself to knit and read Hebrew (not simultaneously). The idea of a month with nothing planned panicked me so much that I set these goals for myself and actually succeeded (since I am good at most things that are not law-related or athletic). I can't do anything so drastic this time because I only have just over a week, but I can't just do nothing! I am afraid that if I don't set some ridiculous goal for myself, this week will turn into a college vacation, which were spent watching movies, smoking pot, eating ice cream, sleeping 14 hours a day, and otherwise doing my best imitation of a beached whale. (And somehow, I weighed 10 lbs. less during this time, which I guess is one of life's cruel jokes.)

So far, the plan for improvement is to have my mother come over and help me "redecorate" my apartment, which is in quotes because the word implies that I have a preexisting, coherent decorating scheme. If anyone has any better suggestions for a project for the next week, comment away - I'll be at Blockbuster and buying ice cream in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It takes a law school

People from big law firms, to the best of my knowledge, tend to look down upon my law school. I partly understand why and I partly don't. I mean, to be sure, I look down upon my law school and most people who go there. I just get a little annoyed when I get mistakenly lumped in with the rest of them. I know it's a little silly, but I expect that people should be able to tell how much more of a quality human being I am than most people at my school. I think it's pretty damn clear, but lately it's been a bit of a challenge making others see it my way.

Tonight I went to a panel discussion at my school featuring hiring partners and other luminaries from several of the big firms here in the city. Shockingly, some of them actually went to my school! You would think that they would be more inclined to help a brother out, so to speak, and look at such amazing people as myself with a little tolerance and overlook petty little letters like grades. But no. In fact, I think that they are more critical than anyone else.

These people seem to think that since they made it out alive and gainfully employed without help from something as weak as an alumni network, why should they help us? Why should they cut any breaks to people who are smart, but maybe less good at law school?

It takes a special kind of hypocrite to look students from his own law school in the eye and say, "There are many opportunities for students like yourselves out there" on a Wednesday, and then look at a resume from one of us, check the class ranking, and then stoically send the resume to the paper shredder on a Thursday. It gives me pain to think about how completely corrupted the morals of such a person must be. This is what an inferiority complex will do to you.

Even though these people have "made it" and are partners at awesome firms, they still carry around that second-tier bitterness that corrodes their self-confidence and makes them defensive. Alumni of my school are the self-hating Jews of the law world. They walk around in their Pink shirts and custom-made suits, richer than you, you, and you, and yet they still know where they came from. None of the big firm cockiness will help. And I know that, even though I clearly also suffer from a superiority complex, it won't help me either.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Vacation's all I ever wanted

So I've got exactly eight days of work left (not that I'm counting) before the job concludes and I am FREE! I've got the usual summer songs playing in my head, like "School's out for summer" and "Good vibrations" and so on. The only problem is that I am not going on a proper vacation. Although I've been working for twelve weeks or what have you, I've managed to save about $400 and that won't get me very far. Luckily, it will get me on a $30 bus to D.C., and no, it will not be the Wang Chung bus or whatever the hell it's called. I am far too classy a broad for that! But in all honesty, I greatly look forward to being a tourist in someone else's city.

Here's the thing. I grew up in Manhattan, went away for college to get some "perspective," and the whole time I was just biding my time, marking x's on my calendar to get back to civilization. Now that I'm back, and with no prospect of leaving anytime soon, I am getting that pioneer longing to get the hell out. I have a pretty sweet deal with my apartment that would be tough to pass up, but otherwise, I'm growing resentful of this city. It may be my more general bitterness towards my chosen indentured servitude, I mean profession, but on the whole, it's getting to me. I can't find a good job, I am always having to elbow my way through crowds, you have to line up hours before a movie on opening weekend, it smells like human excrement in 3/4 of the subway stations that I have to pass through every day, and all this bad air can't be good for my pores. It's enough to make a girl long for an escape to greener, less polluted, crowded, noisy, expensive, and competitive pastures.

But then I remember the last time I flew into New York, incidentally also from D.C. As my plane descended, we had a beautiful panoramic view of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The sheer scale of it all really impressed me. It was so beautiful, in its filthy, hideous way. The magnificence of industry, the randomness of the little green parks, the zillions of cars stuck in traffic . . . it was all just so impressive. It made me remember why I still live here.

At least, until I got back into Manhattan and saw a homeless person pee into a mailbox.
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