Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A girl walked into a bar: ouch

It's almost November and that can only mean one thing: the bar results will soon be here. The date could be as soon as two weeks from now, according to BarBri! I'm not excited. You could say that I'm nervous, but that would be something of an understatement. I'm terrified.

My mom always says it wouldn't be the end of the world, but I'm pretty confident that it would. First, there's the embarrassment. The list is so public that everyone who's ever wished me ill will be able to see that I failed, and I don't want to give anyone that satisfaction. Enemies aside, it will be impossible to talk to people for at least a year, because everyone will feel sorry for me. It would be like hanging out in the law review office, for a whoooooole year. Sure sounds like the end of the world to me!

Then, there's the job thing. My job is contingent upon passing the bar. I wouldn't get to start it until next September or something like that. That's obviously unworkable, but try finding a job once bar results have come out and you failed. I can only imagine what that might be like: third year's job search, but worse. Sounds fun!

Finally, there's the money problem. I'd need all of February to study, and thus I wouldn't be able to work. I'm pretty sure my parents are not willing to subsidize another trip down BarBri lane, plus all the incidentals of bar studying (take out, bills, shopping binges to remind myself that life still has pleasure in it, and so on). Studying is horrible for many reasons, but mainly it's just really expensive (and it made me sort of fatter). I have no idea how I'd do it again, and I'd rather not think about it.

I know that the odds are in my favor. But after the way I felt after the MBE . . . statistics just seem like meaningless numbers. I can only hope that it will be a repeat of tests like my NY CPLR final, where I walked out certain that I had bombed but did well. What can I say? There wasn't usually a link between my grades in law school and the way I felt on the way out of the exam room, and I can only continue to hope and pray that the same will hold true for this final law exam.

I say final because if I do fail, I don't really that I want to go through it again. There's got to be another career out there for me that law school prepared me for that doesn't require the bar. I mean, I can't think what it might be, but it's got to be out there somewhere.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The quarter-century blues

I had a birthday recently and am now the ripe old age of 25. I felt okay about it because I was happy about what I have accomplished so far. Yeah, I mean, everyone goes to law school lately, but it still is one more grad degree than my friends from the summer camp some called college I attended freshman year have. (In fact, I may have one more bachelor's degree than some of them, but I digress.) Yeah, I graduated from a decent college, went to a piece of shit law school, and now I am kind of a lawyer. I also have my own apartment, have a wonderful boyfriend who seems to like me despite having put up with me for three years (give or take), friends who call me on occasion, and two cats who worship the ground I walk on. I've been to Europe three times and Israel once. I've seen the Eiffel Tower and attended a taping of a talk show. I have paid taxes and purchased approximately one hundred and fifty pairs of shoes over my lifetime.

I have a Life. I have Done Things. I am still young.

Or so I thought until I saw that certain commercial for one of those CDs on TV. You know, the compilations of crap, sometimes fun crap, but always old crap. "Sittin' on the Dock of a Bay," "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT," "You've Got a Friend." The one thing that unites such songs is that they came out before I was born, or at least before I was old enough to pay attention to Lite FM. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the CD in question was called Buzz Ballads. Buzz? In other words, songs that came out when I was at a sufficient age to form an opinion about them. In many cases, I was old enough that I now have crystal-clear memories about the songs and when they came out.

This CD contains such hits as "Lightning Crashes" by Live, which came out when I was in maybe ninth grade. I remember walking around my neighborhood listening to their album on my walkman, and feeling uncomfortable that one song gave Hitler a shout-out. Three guys in that band are named Chad and they are from Pennsylvania. One of my friends in ninth grade supposedly lost her virginity to the song "Glycerine" by Bush on repeat on someone's stereo at a house party, which sounds like the most annoying way to be introduced to sex that I've ever heard of, and I remain convinced that she was lying. The video for "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum was on VH1 every ten minutes the summer I was twelve. I was in the Hamptons at a family friend's house and one day fell asleep on my stomach without putting sunscreen on my back. I spent three days beached on a couch with only a remote control, an ice pack, and Lidocaine for company. I saw Toad the Wet Sprocket open for someone, can't remember who, when I was thirteen. I called Stabbing Westward poseurs. I worshipped Courtney Love.

Seeing these bands sold on TV, on a CD referencing these songs as ballads, makes me feel all wrong. In an age when black fishnet stockings are sold at Banana Republic, what has become of youth culture? And when did I start rolling my eyes at it? In sum, when did I get so . . . old?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I have discovered the key to life: working in the legal department of a company.

The hours are good, the pay is decent (if you're not a temp), but the best part is the hero worship. I swear, the people at my company won't so much as go to the bathroom without asking legal to sign off on it first. And even though I'm not admitted, and I'm pretty much a paralegal there, they consider me and my opinion good enough.

And really, why not? I went to law school. I know things. I may not always know the answers to their questions, but I can usually sound confident enough to rattle off some bullshit, and then I can just look it up and correct them if I was wrong. And somehow, I have found that my instincts are usually right. This is really a huge confidence booster and makes me realize how much better it is to work than to be in law school. In law school, people are always trying to make you feel dumb and/or inadequate. In my company, I get respect. I get props, and it's absolutely wonderful. It makes me remember why I went to law school in the first place.

Okay, so I'm getting paid peanuts, and I may never earn the kind of money I anticipated earning when I signed up for all this nonsense. But the feeling of respect I get from everyone at the company is just such a refreshing change that I am almost glad these days that I decided to become a lawyer (or almost-lawyer). I never, ever felt that way at a firm.

I think that it is a sad comment on the usual practice of law that it takes working outside the usual legal paradigm to be pleased with my choice. I am happy at work and enjoy my responsibilities, and busy days are much better for me than empty ones. I like what I do well enough, but mainly I enjoy being taken seriously. It's a nice change, and I hope it stays that way.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Columbia unbecoming, again

Ah, free speech. One of the things most lauded about our wonderful country. Anyone can say anything they want, as long as it's not yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, or saying, "Hi, Jack!" on a plane. Yes, it's really wonderful how the Bill of Rights permits us to live freely without fear of getting lynched for our beliefs.

Unless, of course, those beliefs happen to contravene the mainstream. Funny, isn't it, how mainstream is such a relative term. Perhaps being against illegal immigration is a view commonly espoused here in the USA, but apparently those up in their ivory tower at Columbia are in favor of illegal immigration. And really, why not? When they leave, most will go work for major corporations or go to law school, and the illegals will never challenge their job at Goldman Sachs. They are safe from their own beliefs, insulated in their own privilege. Eventually, though, they will lose the liberal thing, probably once they have to pay their own bills. But before that, they get to believe in whatever they want. It's beautiful, really.

It's beautiful unless you are opposed to assault and/or battery. Because the way I was taught about free speech in my civics classes, all viewpoints were supposed to be fair game. People were supposed to listen to each other. At a minimum, people were supposed to let each other speak without fear of physical violence.

I may or may not approve of what the Minutemen do - but I think it's a huge disgrace that the people who are supposed to believe in our basic rights would behave this way when confronted with viewpoints that differ from their own. But I guess it's not news that free speech isn't really what it was cracked up to be. It's always been used as a way to keep opposing viewpoints down, and I think it's kind of funny that the liberals at Columbia are now the oppressors.

I guess those impossibly high admissions standards aren't high enough.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The money pit

I knew today had gone too well. It was a beautiful morning, just chilly enough to make me appreciate my nice fluffy comforter. But I woke myself up, selected an outfit, and listened to the radio while I packed a lunch. I remembered to bring some single-serving prepackaged oatmeal for breakfast, and treated myself to a cup of coffee while walking to the train, and enjoyed my short, not-too-taxing commute. I had a productive, busy day, during which I worked reasonably hard, reduced the pile of crap on my desk down to a couple of small projects, and was even praised by my boss a couple of times for my good work. I left a half hour late, which was great because I am paid by the hour. And then I got home.

To a flood.

I love my apartment, not only because it is free but also because it is beautiful. It is also quite old, and has its, shall we say, quirks. This fine afternoon, I walked in to a chorus of angry mewing. That is pretty common, because while I have happily adjusted to my working life, my cats are still angry with me for not staying with them all day anymore. Then I saw the dirty pawprints all over the kitchen floor (which I had just mopped) and knew something was wrong. Last year, around this time, the same exact thing happened. I think I may have made some politically incorrect jokes about Hurricane Katrina visiting my living room, and payback is definitely a bitch. Cause here it is again baby! and the plumber ain't coming 'til Friday.

So now my living room smells like asbestos, my cats have wet paws, there are wet disgusting towels dripping dry in my just-cleaned bathroom, and I have to change buckets of filthy brown water everytime my inconsiderate upstairs neighbors decide to shower (because even though they know that it floods my apartment when they shower, personal cleanliness apparently overrides consideration, since they've been at it since I got home an hour ago). Awesome. I thought Europeans didn't shower.

I knew today had gone too well.
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