Saturday, December 31, 2005

luckily I'm an athlete

So, now I have to explain this. First, I have to say that being unhappy is different from having regrets. In this case, I have no regrets, I'm just unhappy, just for right now.

I hadn't said anything to anyone at all about the fact that I was feeling sad and unhappy, and I hadn't blogged about it because I didn't want it to be concrete or permanent. And the reason I finally blogged it on Thursday night was that I had a moment where I realized that I needed to accept that I was sad and unhappy. And Friday morning, when I woke up and remembered, and found a mailbox full of responses, I immediately regretted posting. Just like I knew I would.

I thought for a moment about deleting it, but I knew I couldn't. Because it wouldn't make it go away - I had already put it out there, and I couldn't evade accountability for it. I had to start thinking through it.

I started thinking about why I was feeling this way. I didn't want to be unhappy, because I was in the midst of so many new things - new job, new location, new apartment, new lifestyle. I'm not supposed to be unhappy in those things, right? I worked so hard for it. But yesterday, I finally forced myself to accept that yes, these things are hard. Not being sure of what I'm doing, of what's next, being afraid and uncertain of what my future will look like, or how things will unfold - these things are all scary and difficult. And I finally realized that I didn't want to admit that I was unhappy because I know that it is only temporary, and since it was temporary it seemed foolish to be unhappy about it. I finally accepted that I was sad and unhappy and then I was ok with the fact that I know it's only temporary. Work will pick up, my new place will start to feel like home, I'll start to feel comfortable with where I am and what I'm doing. It will happen.

Today in day 2 of my epiphany, I started to realize a little bit more. This morning I was cut off from the internet for most of the day (gasp) and couldn't get on to the blog to say, "I'm alright! I'm oooook. I figured it out." Having nothing to do, I watched some Arrested Development on DVD, drank coffee in my pjs, wandered around my apartment bored and listless. I finally got around to catching up in my journal, which I've been both 1. meaning to do and 2. avoiding doing. Then I put together a photo album of my law school pictures, something I've been meaning to do for 3 years. All this efficiency driven SOLELY by the lack of internet!

As I put the photos in the album and wrote out my angst in my journal (a much better forum for such emotional outbursts) I realized that part of being nervous and uncertain about what's new is getting over what's old and familiar. I thought it sounded silly to admit that I loved law school more than anything I've ever done, and that I miss it more than I've missed anything. Whether that's foolish or not, that's how I feel, and I need to be ok with the fact that I loved the people and the experiences I had in law school, and that I miss them so very, very much. I cried a little bit, on and off, and I was distraught to realize that there were so many things that I never captured in pictures, there are so many events and moments and wonderful things that I don't have tangibly documented.

This same feeling has happened to me before. When I graduated from high school, I was devastated that all of my friends were scattering and moving on. I was, too, but I had moved around most of my life and was never close to my extended family and for the first time, I felt like I had a home and an extended family with my high school friends. But if you tell other people that you miss high school and your high school friends, and that college was disappointing and difficult at first, people mock you and think you're crazy. It took me a while to learn how to continue old friendships in a new, changed lifestyle. Yet, to this day my high school friends are still family to me, and I don't regret that they're so important to me or such an integral part of my life.

So it's like that, all over again. Except this time I think I know a little bit better how to be flexible about doing new things and being in new places while still integrating the people and things that have come before. I'm sad and unhappy and angry that the best experience of my life was finite, from the beginning. I'm sad that it had to end, and I'm pissed that nothing will ever be like that. But I'm delighted to have had that time and those experiences, and it was time for them to end anyway, really. As long as I can acknowledge fully what this transition means for me, I know I'll be fine.

And oddly enough, as soon as I finished shedding a tear or two over the photo album and the journal, the internet magically started working again. And it all coincides with bringing in A New Year.

My bestfriend&roommate from law school told me a story about her mom. Her mom is very friendly, extroverted, bubbly, and sometimes flaky woman, and I love her as though she's my own mother. The family was taking a walk one day while they were in a European city on vacation. Her mother tripped on the sidewalk and took a wicked digger - a hard fall, nothing graceful about it. As the family looked on in horror and amusement, she bounced up quickly and said breathlessly, "Luckily I'm an athlete!" - a comment to which the family was not really sure how to respond. I laughed my ass off when I heard that story, and ever since then, when I stumble or walk into a doorway or bash my knee or foot into some stationary object (I have terrible peripheral perception), that line comes to mind. And today, as I look to recover from this stumble and move onto what's next, I think, "Luckily I'm an athlete!"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

if you tell anyone else you're so dead to me

I have been avoiding chronicling it, I won't admit it, and I usually chalk it up to just being 'moody.' But after going out tonight, meeting with friends, doing new things, having a really good time, I've come back to the quiet solitude of my room and found that I can't escape what is, at this moment, my truth:

I'm unhappy.

today's news

Leniency Bid for Officer in Louima Testimony: let him rot, I say.  - NY Times
Life and Romance in 160 Characters or Less:  Washington Post on the culture of text messaging.  I've done my fair share of drunken text messaging - apparently I've moved past drunk dialing and drunk emailing and into drunk texting.  Drunk blogging?  It could happen.  It may have already.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

on being an attorney: how being a new PD is like being a Disney cartoon character or a drunk college kid

I didn't want to blog but I had to get that cheesey picture off the top of my page. So what occupies the thoughts of Woman of the Law?


I'm not sure how much I can blog about it. To be honest, there isn't much going on right now, which is understandable. I do have a few general observations about my own sense of what I thought criminal practice was going to be, and what it actually is. I guess my biggest observation about it right now is that I'm shocked how much it looks like my job is just to shovel shit as quickly as it gets dumped on me. A lot of it is just trying to move things along. I'm trying to guage from my peers what my role in the courtroom is, and I honestly thought the environment would be a bit nastier, a bit more acrid that it is. I really thought that it would be quite apparent that I was NOT a cog in this machine. But it's not really apparent at all, I don't think. That it isn't may actually be a really great thing. I'm not sure yet. It is important to me to be respected in the courthouse(s) in which I work, so I won't be visibly obstructionist just for the purpose of being so. However, the disrespect for other human beings in that courthouse is staggering. The way the DAs treat me as though I'm unwelcome infuriates me. To some extent, though, they're right. I'm not one of them. I don't fit in this system. I'm not here to make this system work. I'm here to make sure this flawed system doesn't pin its crushing foot on the neck of my client.

I'm getting more comfortable making 'arguments' that are actually legally irrelevant but sound good. Everyone knows I'm new anyway, so I might as well I start arguing things that are favorable for my client, and I'd rather look foolish by asking for something that is impossible or impractical than not ask for it at all. There's one judge I see frequently, and all I can say is, bless the sweet lord for patient souls like that. Also, I like to think that every time new attorneys come on, it's time to shake things up a bit. We're here for a fresh perspective, and I think it's our duty to keep that strong.

On the other hand, when I seek assistance from other attorneys, I frequently get a short, harsh, "Why are you doing that?" I'd like to chalk up all my youthful ignorance to just 'putting a fresh perspective on things' but that's probably not really true. I am just generally ignorant. Most attorneys have been practicing long enough that the way they doing things makes sense to them. I'm of the, "Why not give it a whirl?" mentality - because as long as it's not wrong, and even though it might be a waste of time, I've got plenty of time to waste. If it doesn't necessarily help but can't hurt, why the hell not try? I appreciate that each and every attorney tries to explain to me why, although it seems swell, some of the things I want to do might be legally irrelevant (see above). That type of information is generally helpful, really. Other times, I just get annoyed that the way I handle my cases depends on which attorneys are in the room. I don't have any particular individual who supervises what I do throughout the day, which is a freedom I enjoy but can sometimes be frustrating. One attorney will have one theory on my case, and rarely do two attorneys see a case identically. This often results in my progressing merrily on a case that looks like a case I've already done, so I'll go about handling it that way again, until someone stops and sternly points at me and says, "Stop being stupid." They don't really say that, but that's how I feel. Sometimes I get so turned around, trying to separate what is definite and what is just a preference for each attorney. It throws some chaos into what's already, unavoidably, a very bumpy learning process.

And now for the appropriate metaphors and similes. Let's see. It's like being Bambi, trying to get up on wobbly legs, and then trying to walk - unsuccessfully sometimes, wobbling, getting a few scrapes and bruises along the way. And then having your mother shot in front of you. (Just kidding. Ok, that's not funny. Yes, I am going to hell). OR, it's like being WASTED your freshman year in college, and you're just trying to get back to your dorm room, and somehow you've managed to trip over every tree limb or crack in the sidewalk or car parked on the side of the road, and the only way you get down the hall to your dorm room is because the walls are there for you to crash into them, left, right, left, right, as you stumble to your bed. I'm just crashing drunkenly into walls at this point. I'm really looking forward to being in bed.

And on that note, good night.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 22, 2005

iTunes fucking SUCKS

I always keep my iPod on "manual update" because I don't keep music on iTunes on my computer. I only keep my purchased music there. Well today I had the BRILLIANT notion of setting it to auto-update only selected playlists, but what that meant to my iTunes was that ONLY THOSE PLAYLISTS are now on my iPod. Which means the other 1200 songs are all gone. Done. No more. Just in time for my long trip home this weekend.

I've never particularly liked iTunes, and if I hadn't gotten an iPod as a kickass gift last year, I'd be using Napster. Listen to me, children. NAPSTER. $15/month unlimited downloading to an mp3 player of your choice (anything except an iPod). Fight the revolution. Fuck the iTunes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

another slow day

As my officemate toils away on the phone trying to get a client's car back from the prosecutor and police department, I'm sitting in my desk chair dancing like a muppet to "Little St. Nick" by the Beach Boys.


Johnny Damon, you are dead to me
You're going to look ugly with short hair. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

another heart-melting non-date

We were in the first row of the third balcony, which meant we had to lean forward a bit to see the stage through the railing. He and I were the only two in the front row. The balcony was dark but for the bits of light cast from the stage. The comedian we were seeing was great - I laughed the entire time. About two-thirds of the way through the show, I was laughing so hard that my cheeks hurt, and I heard him laughing next to me. At that very fraction of a second, I was about to link my arm through his and happily lean into his shoulder. I was startled by my own thought. Instead I turned to look at him and noticed that he put on his glasses when I wasn't looking. He has gorgeous eyes, a rich turquoise color, warm and reassuring, in a way that make you believe that he is sincerely only interested in what you are saying. I'm a sucker for glasses. Seeing his glasses framing his eyes, set against the dark brown curls of his hair, made me melt. It made me wish it could be more, but it gave me a pleasant hope that maybe there is someone out there with whom I will eventually link arms and kiss on the cheek.

I swore off this guy as a romantic interest after this incident but I'm failing to abide by my own vow. So now that you know who I'm talking about, how shocking is it that I saw him again, and heard his voice again, and melted again? We hit it off so well way back then, and we did so again that night. At his suggestion, we met up for dinner and beer before the show. I called him when I was in the neighborhood and he was just a block away from me. We agreed to meet at the corner. I walked toward the corner, trying to make it look like beauty just naturally exudes from me in my long, nicely cut red wool coat, with my shoulder-length hair bouncing off the shoulders and my cheeks red from the cold air. I was hoping I looked more like a Pantene commercial and less like I was so anxiously anticipating seeing him. As I approached the corner, I saw him peek around, and we saw one other. Too many people and too much distance still separated us. I couldn't help but smile at seeing him, and we both pretended to look away - but I saw him biting back a smile too. After an eternity I made it to the corner. We hugged, exchanged excited hellos, and moved on to the restaurant. It was perfect - we sat in front of the fireplace, had dinner and some good beer, and had such a good time that we lost track of time and ended up dashing out of the restaurant 8 minutes before we were supposed to be at the show. When we got there, we ended up waiting in line for an hour, outside in the freezing cold, shivering. After an hour of waiting, and mourning the loss of beer not consumed, we got into the theater, one of the last ones in line, and trudged through the historic old building to the tiny top balcony.

What I most appreciated about the evening was that it was not like that lunch in October but more like our previous interactions with one another. Our evening was filled with effortless conversation and an occasional comfortable pause. We get along well for no discernable reason. It's a great feeling, to feel so comfortable with someone that you feel like you know better than you actually do, while knowing that it's going to be so enjoyable to get to know all those things you don't already know. I like talking to him and trying to figure out on my own why it is I like him so much, to dig for a reason why we should get along so well.

Once out of the theater, we rushed to catch the train. As we cut through the cold wind, we agreed that it had been a great night. "We need to do this again sometime. We should definitely do this more often," he said. I'm so glad he suggested it. We were going in different directions. In departing, I instinctively gave him a kiss on the cheek as we hugged, and wished him a Merry Christmas. Right at that second, it seemed like the train station went into slow motion, like everything in the scene would have been black and white, and we were the only ones in color. Not in a passionate, "get in my bed" sort of way, but in a, "this is the guy that every woman wants to have as a best friend, husband, and father of her children" type of moment.

I like him a lot. I thought I had tried to let him know I was interested, and it never went anywhere before. I don't have it in me to try again, but that doesn't mean I'm still not harboring some hopes. If nothing else, it gives me a good idea of how I want to feel in a true relationship. I can't wait to hang out with him again, even if it does end this way every time.

Terrorism is: not having someone cart your ass around

In a Yahoo article about the subway strike in New York City, one woman says: "It's a form of terrorism, if you ask me," said Maria Negron, who walked across the bridge. "I hope they go back to work."
Are you KIDDING me?
(Let's set aside the argument over whether the subway employees should be blamed for this).  I'm sure that walking across the Brooklyn Bridge (an activity that I imagine many tourists do in a day) is excruciatingly painful to Ms. Negron.    However, why are we still throwing around the word "terrorism"?  I know the Bush administration equates everything with terrorism - Islam, library books, Cat Stevens, etc.  I insist, nay, DEMAND, that my fellow Americans stop using the word "terrorism" to describe when things do not go their way. 
In that case:
Terrorism is the toy aisle in Target last week. 
Terrorism is that Dunkins coffee now tastes like crap. 
Terrorism is paying $5.04 for a Venti Non-Fat Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks (and using those precise words to order it). 
Terrorism is that I paid $1,694,325,27.00 for law school just to have my clients ask for a real lawyer. 
Terrorism is the faulty tupperware that leaked my leftover dinner all over the work clothing I had packed in my bag this morning.
If we don't let the government spy on its own citizens, says Bush, then we've let the terrorists win.  The fact that we even question that secret, previously undisclosed, government spy program means WE HAVE LET THEM WIN.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Here is a New York Times article on a women's prison in Minnesota that has no fence or walls separating the grounds from the rest of the residential community.  The community opposes building the proposed wall.  I do wonder what effect the no wall / no fence structure has on the inmates, and whether building a wall will actually create the feeling of the need to escape, or if it will create more tension and violence within the walls of the prison.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

woman returns to the net

I've been catching some heat for my lack of updates, and for that I apologize. You see, I was without a regular internet connection for a few months now, but I'm back. I think. I've rigged up a new connection with the help of some updated technology and my next door neighbor. I'll be back in action soon enough. (I haven't finished my Xmas shopping yet, no promises until after the holidays!)

The other problem with the blog is that I'm not sure I have all that much to write about. Sans internet, I don't even know what's going on in the world. What do you want to know, exactly?

I'm going to go catch up on my blog reading. See you soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

defending 'those people'

My supervisor, bless his heart, is adamant about not letting me take on cases right now that aren't easily resolved - for instance, cases that are pled or dismissed at the first appearance.  I appreciate this; however, starting in January, I will officially be on the schedule like a real attorney, instead of 1/3 of an attorney like I am now, and I anticipate that this will result in a lot of fumbling on my part.  So yesterday I begged him to let me take a few cases in the afternoon, cases that won't all be resolved by the first appearance but maybe by the second day in court, and he relented. 
One case turned out to be a classic case of alleged domestic assault.  The complaining witness showed up to court on behalf of her husband, who was my client.  She spoke with me directly and told me that she did not want to go forward with the charges and that she advised the District Attorney's office as such.  Up until she spoke to me, I had been working under the assumption that a certain plea offer would be made, if any offer were being made, and if not, then it would progress as cases do when they aren't resolved in the first two appearances.  Once she stated that she had no intention of going forward, I knew that the DA would not be able to pursue the case.  Thus, as far as I'm concerned, any plea would be a bad plea.  I explained to the complaining witness how the legal process works and what the DA needs, generally and from her in particular, in order to go forward.  She stated to me that she was not going to do any of those things.
I was talking about my day with my roommate, and explaining generally that I had a case that will end up falling short of the legal burden necessary to go forward, and how this excites my legal mind.  I didn't feel bad, or dirty - as a matter of fact, I felt like I was doing competent work.  And of course I still believe that this case is progressing as it should.  But I stopped when I realized that my roommate was grimacing slightly, and I realized it was one of those, "How do you defend those people?" moments. 

Friday, December 09, 2005

on being an attorney: growing pains

Yesterday was a crazy day, and I ended the day frustrated and tired, but in a good way!  I then decided not to keep my appointment to join the gym and instead went and drank beer with coworkers, and it was totally worth missing the OC and Reunion to do so.  Beer never tasted so good.
Today I have a whole bunch of cases that will be doing things I've never done before.  It'll be a long day and I can't wait to see what sorts of stupid things I do to embarrass myself today.  Nevertheless, I'm really happy to be working some new legal muscles.
I confessed to a coworker yesterday that I was getting frustrated because although I think I'm getting much better at asking questions, it seems as though I'm getting answers to questions other than the ones I ask.  This happened to me twice yesterday.  The first time it happened was in a group discussion regarding the use of a particular strategy.  I suggested that it's best to look at it as though it is an actual defense in the cases in which this procedure would apply, so you are considering that course of action just as you would any other defense - and then figuring out which one is best for your client.  The attorney leading the conversation then immediately warned us that we should never use it frivolously, that once we start using it on all of our cases then no one will believe us when it actually is the case, and that it's a bad idea to get in that habit.  I'm pretty sure that's not what I said, and I felt crappy that her response insinuated such.
Then I was asking another attorney that if there's no disposition on a particular date, at that time then... and he cut me off and told me not to let people rush me along or pressure me into a disposition.  He gave me very good advice regarding how to make sure the court doesn't rush me into doing something inappropriately or without enough consideration.  After giving some very good advice, he then took me to meet the next client.  However, I had another very specific procedural question that I never got to finish asking, and to which I still don't know the answer. 
I'm not complaining though.  I am very happy that all of the attorneys are so patient with us and so insistent upon us asking questions.  It's become a joke amongst us new attorneys, this question & answer phenomenon.  We've all experienced it and we're learning to consult with one another frequently to compare notes about what we learn in a day, because we all have the same blank slate and it's nice when someone who is equally in the dark can help you figure out how to piece our accumulating knowledge together. 

Thursday, December 08, 2005

getting over it.

It's been a tough few weeks.  Work has been hard.  It's difficult to adjust to a new workplace, with all the different personalities and practice styles and all the other things that go into office dynamics.  I had a few days where I was trying really hard not to cry at work, and one day where I had to hide in my office, listening to my iPod, and then just left early.  Nevertheless, I've tried really hard to stay positive and stay focused this week, trying not to worry about all of the gaffes and stumbles I make in a day's work, trying to remember that I'm here because I want to be here, and that I'm not going to know everything at once.  Like one of my favorite attorneys told me, "We've been here for 20 years, and it's insulting to think that you can learn everything I know in just a few weeks.  Accept that this is the first time in your life when you are not in control and you don't know everything."
Last night, I went to dinner with friends, and afterwords I stepped into a bookstore to look around.  I went to the bathroom, which is off the children's section, and while I was in there, a male and female entered the handicapped stall next to me and loudly and openly were using and exchanging drugs - either cocaine or heroin.  It was a really disturbing situation.  Then I got home, all depressed, and found that someone had broken into my apartment building, and had vigorously attempted to break into my apartment.  The doorframe is beat up pretty badly, although for some reason, they didn't actually make it into my apartment.  The locks on the door to the building were completely ripped off the door with a crowbar. 
And then of course, the landlord called the cops, who show up, and I have to listen to them talk about how there are a bunch of kids in the neighborhood, they're all punks, all rabble rousers, and I think back to the fact that just yesterday I was trying to take on all of the teen cases, because I adore them, I think they're angels, I love working with them.  It's hard to be in that position, yet again, where as much as I love my job, I also wouldn't mind kicking my attempted burglar in the shins repeatedly.  My car got vandalized, there's open drug use and dealing going on in a large bookstore bathroom in the children's section, and my little apartment in my little neighborhood is all torn up. 
I tried to remember what it was like to live in not such a big city.  Like when we discovered that our front door had been left wide open all night and our only fear was that a skunk or raccoon may have made its way into the house.  Or to have all your friends within walking distance, and to have a house and a yard big enough to have people over, and it didn't take so much effort to get everyone in one place.  Or what it was like to look up and see a sky full of stars, and the night was always quiet. 
I'm feeling really drained, and really lonely.  It's one thing to struggle to get accustomed to a job, but it's another thing when your support system is fractured too.  As per usual, the only thing that makes me feel better is to have one eye on the door - to have a Plan B, an escape route.  I don't like the fact that the only thing appeasing me right now is the idea of escape.  I'm going to keep trying to work through it all, keep trying to tell myself that it's just kind of tough right now, but that there are wonderful and amazing things on the other side.  For the first time in a while, I'm really not sure if that's true or not.  Maybe this is adulthood.  Maybe this is just how it is.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Trials and Tribulations

Man, this job thing is rough.  Yesterday was not such a good day.  The judge was in a bad mood, which put the court staff in a bad mood, which made everyone else edgy.  I had some good cases, then took on a case that I shouldn't have.  I had to talk to several attorneys about it, one who gave me a thorough tongue-lashing, and I could feel my face turning red and tears coming to my eyes.  My supervisor is not going to be pleased when it comes this case comes to light, and rightfully so.  I'm dreading it.  I feel like a scolded puppy so I'm trying to lay low and stay quiet for now. I was so stressed when I got home last night that inevitably, the thoughts of "Maybe I should have been a librarian" crossed my mind.  I've been sick for two weeks, and I get healthy for about a day and then get sicker the next... and today is one of the less healthy days.  Whew.  Well, at least it's only a 3 day week.  Nothing's been done that can't be undone, and no one's the worse for it.  Except perhaps my ego.
I'm really looking forward to a long weekend of home, warmth, and turkey. 
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

repayment's a bitch.

life was good before the student loan statements started rolling in.  ooof.

Friday, November 18, 2005

RIP Lilith

Now that I'm living in a city with public transportation, the cost-benefit analysis of keeping my car suggests that it's time to put Lilith down.  So on Monday, she's being donated to Cars for Kids.  She wasn't going to pass inspection again given the ever-growing crack in the windshield, she gets bad gas mileage because of the problem with the oxygen sensor, she has profanities keyed into her backside, she needs new tires soon, she freezes shut every winter, and she's 50,000 miles past her life expectancy.  Nevertheless, she hasn't broken down since June 2003, when she broke down twice in two days leaving me stranded and causing me to miss a bridal shower.  We didn't break up then, and over our time together since October 2000, we've shared many memories.  Lilith drove around my kiddos when I was a social worker - I still have some toys crammed in the backseat cushions.  I still have sidewalk chalk that I used with the cognitively limited boy I worked with my senior year of college.  Lilith drove me to law school.  Lilith hung out at the beach with me.  She moved me to my favorite city last summer for my internship, she moved me to another favorite city last fall for another internship, she moved me to my new city now for my real job.  She drove me back and forth the 40 minutes to work at the correctional facility last summer, with no A/C in the scorching heat and humidity.  She drove me back home for the holidays.  She drove me to the gym every morning at 5:45 a.m. in the darkness of the freezing winter mornings (despite her strenuous efforts to freeze closed).  She can definitely outdrink you, at least in regards to engine coolant.  She puts back a few gallons of that in no time.
She let me roll down her windows (which strangely, rolled in the opposite direction of any other car windows known to man) and let me crank up the radio (which no longer has essential buttons, like the 'scan down' button) and cruise (reluctantly and only at moderate speeds) along winding roads.  With her, I was able to escape every time I needed to, and it's remarkable how she managed to (almost) always get me where I needed to be in my life. 
I'm going to miss you, old girl.  Thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

on being a real lawyer

So I recently had my first experience interviewing clients, putting my appearance on the records, taking pleas, etc.  It was exciting.  I like interviewing clients, meeting with them, talking about what they're all about and what happened to them.  Getting the court lingo down is a whole different story.  At this point, it's a pretty steep learning curve.  What I'm discovering is that I have a fundamental gap between figuring out how things are done and figuring out why things are done that way.  It's easy enough to get up and just do what an experienced lawyer tells you to do.  What I want to know is WHY I'm saying what I'm saying, and what the other possible options could be.  Today I hit a breaking point when one attorney flew by on his way up to the podium and told me to get up and do XYZ.  I was startled, a bit caught off guard, and the judge started addressing that attorney on the matter so I never got the chance to speak, which was fine by me.  He later said, "You're going to have to do it.  Don't be afraid, it won't bite."  I was riled because I'm certainly not afraid to get up in front of a judge.  I have always been arrogant enough to think that I know best, and now is no different.  I'm ready to take on the system, I think I'll be THE badass who gets the system in line, and I couldn't even tell you how it was amiss, since I'm brand new.  So I'm not afraid of judges.  But I'm sure as hell terrified to get up and say something if I don't know why I'm saying it, and why I'm saying that as opposed to something else, and what the consequences of my words will be.  I understand I should get up and say XYZ in ABC type cases.  But why?  What does an ABC case really entail?  How does the XYZ resolve that issue? 
My experience varies from attorney to attorney, so I can't impute my experience to all attorneys in my office.  I think I finally realized today why some of my days are not so productive - because even though I might be saying and doing things, I'm still not exactly sure why.
How are you?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Maryland v. Blake

The Supreme Court resolved my pet case of the term by dismissing it as improvidently granted.  See this link for the order and see the Baltimore Sun for more info.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

BlondeJustice and Sanchovilla wanted me to do this

And after a quick count, it seems that this is my 23rd post. One line:


As an aside, work is as awesome as ever, but I've had no time for internet. We'll chat soon, I promise.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

and now back to our regularly scheduled program

What happened after that? Well, he did call when he came back into town, but then recanted everything he said that fateful night. We were nothing but coworkers, how was he supposed to know that I was interested, there was no understanding, sure there were feelings but neither one of us had expressed them, it was rude of me to leave without saying anything at all, and even if anything was between he and I, he didn't do anything wrong by approaching another woman he was interested in. (Apparently he forgot the 'i thought we knew each other / she was married' story). But yes, of course he's interested in me. That much is true. He felt that way, I wasn't imaging things, but he didn't do anything at all that should lead me to think that he was interested.

Oh yes. He actually said these things.

Stunned, I nevertheless agreed to meet him later that night. He came over to where I am staying to watch the baseball game, and I ordered (and paid for!) Thai take-out, and we sat here awkwardly for about 6 innings. I tried to engage him in conversation, I tried to get close to him, to no avail. He gave brief answers. He didn't move away from me but made no moves towards me. We sat next to each other on the couch in near darkness and he didn't so much as sneeze in my direction. Not until my friend came home did he finally start talking, and when he did, he went right back to arguing with me about how he wasn't wrong on Friday night. After the game, I walked him in the direction he needed to go in, but he insisted on walking me back for my own safety (in other circumstances, might have been sweet, but it was just annoying), and then didn't even make a MOVE near me. I finally, after he was making some awkward goodbye over and over again, hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I thought, here we go - this will break this awkward tension and that connection I felt on Friday will come back. Nope. He then kissed me on the cheek right near my lips, and we had an awkward moment as I pulled away just enough to allow him to actually KISS me, and he did not. We were sort of holding hands at that point, and he gave some weak statement like, "I want to stay, but the longer I stay the harder it will be to leave." Sometimes something like that can make you melt. I, on the other hand, was just frustrated. That was the end of that.

This is the Special Olympics of dating, right here.

I caught a lot of crap on Monday morning from the three people who were last with us. They refused to believe that nothing happened between me and Mr. Wrong. NM watched me like a hawk for my reaction when W walked in that morning, and when W greeted me casually. I called W immediately after work and told him about the questions I was dodging about what W and I did. W's response was, "What would make them think that?" Yeah, asshole, why would they think that you and I would go home together? Clearly we were just coworkers, right? Maybe not so clear.

This week hasn't been uncomfortable, but it has been odd. We can't talk at work without indicating that we somehow became more than acquaintances over the weekend. Since we never really talked before that, we have no reason to talk at all, really. We were tentatively going to get together Tuesday, but I just decided I didn't want to, so when I told him I couldn't make it because something came up, he said hurriedly, "Oh, no problem. No problem, it's fine." And that's pretty much been the extent of our interactions since then. A brief hello in the morning, on Monday maybe a brief wink or secret caress when one of us walked by, but nothing at all since then.

This is clearly going nowhere.

And here I am, sitting in front of the computer wearing nothing but my skivvies. It was SO COLD in this apartment forever, and finally they turned the heat on yesterday, and now it's blazing hot. I'm lonely, because last Tuesday's date now has a 'wifey' apparently, although he hasn't bothered to just tell me that he's seriously involved with someone else, or whatever, he just stopped calling or emailing. I think it was maybe one day after I saw him that he suddenly was totally head over heels into this other girl. And they are probably wonderful together, and he definitely was not going to end up being more than a casual date for me, but it was a blow to my ego nonetheless. And then Mr. Wrong pulls this crap, I have no idea what's going on, but you can bet that I'm not so much as lifting a finger to get his attention. We left work today around the same time and he stopped and waited for me (which surprised me) and asked where I was going. He had to meet someone somewhere, and was in a hurry, so I departed.

So my 'story' has gotten some pretty harsh remarks from some readers. I don't know what to say. I mean, I'm blogging about this because it's pretty unusual for me. I don't think it's unprofessional to date coworkers. Only married people or people who haven't been to and/or graduated from law school would say that. (Although if it's someone you have to see regularly it's probably doomed to be inconvenient and painful at some point). I spent a significant amount of time in my formative young 20s far away from eligible men. I'm now 26 years old and haven't had a boyfriend since I was 20. To be thrown in a group of people who share the same deep-rooted passion you have, and to be going through similar experiences, and to be meeting one another for the first time - something is bound to happen. Public defender work is unique work, and I can't imagine being with someone who, regardless of their profession, doesn't share my passion for serving this client population.

I'm pretty much convinced that no guy could ever genuinely be interested in dating me, so it takes a lot for me to even guess that a guy might be interested. When I finally come around to thinking, hey, maybe I'm not crazy, something happens to undercut that little step I took in the right direction. I go right back to feeling lonely and abandoned, and thinking that no guy could really ever be interested in me, because look, they all flee pretty quickly - to other women or just in the general direction of 'away.'

I'm sad that I still haven't found anyone to share my life with. It sucks that I'm buying yet another bridesmaid dress and I'm not even dating anyone. It really hurts to keep trying and attempting to date because you can't win a game if you don't even try to shoot the ball, but my shots keep bouncing off the backboard. Or they do that crazy thing where they whirl around the hoop and bounce right back out of the basket.

So, it's hard being out here in the dating world, a single 26 year old woman with not much in the way of relationships since I left college. When a night like the one I had last Friday comes along, it's something special by anyone's standards. Unfortunately, other than a nice story and a few scathing emails, I don't have anything to show for it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

coming full circle

As I left the bar, I knew he had to have seen me leave. I couldn't bring myself to look around, because I just couldn't figure out what I would do if I saw him. I paid little attention to the catcalls that followed me down the street. I wasn't sure exactly what the implications were of my decision to walk out of the bar, and I was rapidly trying to process how to play this all out. I walked determinedly to the subway. When I got in front of the subway, I thought quickly. I should call him at least to tell him that I left his bag there. I'd be a real asshole if someone made off with his bag because I walked out. A phone call would also give me the chance to make light of this, to pretend like it's nothing.

We had exchanged phone numbers earlier in the evening, back when I thought we were getting along swell, so I dropped my bag in between my feet, fished out my cell phone, and called him. I stared down the dirty stairs to the subway as the phone rang. And rang. And rang. And then he picked up.

"Hey there." Forced cheerfulness.
"Where are you?"
"I'm out. I left. Listen, I just wanted to let you know that your bag is still there by the chairs, so make sure no one gets to it."
"Oook. [pause] Where are you right now?""
silence. My mind is going a mile a minute, calculating every possible implication of anything that I say, but I'm also waiting desperately for him to say something that will make sense of all this.
"I'm in front of the subway. It's late, I really should get home."
"Um, ok," he said slowly.

Realizing in about half a beat that he was not going to say anything worthwhile, I said neutrally, "Alright, well your bag is there, just wanted to let you know. See you Monday!" and before I could hear his response, I hung up. Part of me wanted to look down the block, to wait a moment to see if he'd run out of the bar after me, but I knew it would just be more of me waiting for something that wasn't going to happen.

Instead, I walked down the stairs to the subway, my eyes burning. My chest welled up into a hard knot. What I fool I am. I could not find my subway pass in my bag, and had to put my bag down again. I started digging furiously. This cannot be happening. I could feel the tears brimming in my eyes. I was afraid I'd miss the last train, I couldn't find my pass, I just wanted to shed my clothing and crawl into bed and wail into my pillow. Finally I found my pass and walked down to the train. I only had to wait a few moments before the train arrived. The doors opened, I made a beeline for the most discreet corner I could find, sat down, put my feet up, my head down, and cried.

I cried because I couldn't figure out what keeps going wrong. First, I run into a guy I had avoided for months, who then wouldn't stop harassing me to see him, and when I finally agreed, I discovered that I really did actually enjoy his company and really did want to see him again. But as best I can tell, he sent flowers to another girl the next day, and hasn't returned my calls or emails since then. I was completely blindsided by this. What happened? What made him pursue me so madly for months, and what changed this time? What did he see in me that he wanted so badly, and what made him change his mind in the end?

And just days later, I am here, having an incredible evening, and it too ends badly. Why am I doomed to this? What is it about me that drives men away? When is this madness going to end?

The ride back was longer than the ride to get there, and I could hardly bring myself to open my eyes. For most of the ride, I kept my eyes closed, wiping away the tears I couldn't hold back. Only a few people were on the train, mostly homeless people from what I could tell.

As I left the subway, I pulled out my phone. One new voicemail. I hesitated, because I just was not sure that I could listen to it, but I knew who I wanted it to be.

"Hey, it's me. Please call me when you get home. Just let me know that you got home safely. I was worried when you left. Please call."

I hesitated again. What good would it do me to call him? What would I say then? How could I face him at work again? But if I didn't call, it would only make things worse. I hoisted my bag on my shoulder and started walking home. Guess I have to do this.

"Hello?" His voice was groggy.
"Hey there, I got your message."
"Where are you?" More alert.
"Oh, I just got off the subway and am walking home. I'm safe, though, thanks for looking out for me!" Where the hell is this conversation going to go next?
"Why did you leave?"
Oh shit. Why did it have to go there?
"Well, you left to go talk to someone else, so I was just sitting there by myself, and I figured it was getting really late and I should just get home and go to bed."
"But why did you leave? I was upset when you left."
What am I supposed to say to that?
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you. I was just tired."
"But why did you leave? Why?"
And finally he backed me into a corner. I knew what he was getting at. He wanted me to say it.
I said softly, "Why do you think I left?"
"Were you upset? Were you scared? What?"
I was pissed that he thought I was scared. It irks me sometimes when people get paternalistic. Was I scared because I was in a strange neighborhood in the late hours of the morning all by myself? No, actually, although I probably should have been. But thanks for being a dick.
I was more emphatic now. "You went to talk to someone else and you left me there alone. For a while."
"I wasn't gone that long," he protested.
"Yeah, you were."
"Even if I was, you didn't leave when I left you alone to go to the bathroom."
"You're right."
"Why were you upset? What happened?"

Finally, I had to admit to him that I thought we had been having a really great time together, and that I really enjoyed spending that time with him, and just when I thought things were going really well, he left to go talk to another woman. I figured since I had made a grave error, and that since I had been laboring under a major delusion, I had to just cut my losses and leave. If that's what it was going be, then I certainly wouldn't have gone all the way out there, and certainly wouldn't have stayed out so long.

We talked for a long time, and he started telling me that I wasn't imagining things at all. He had a great time as well. He was attracted to me. He had been checking me out recently. He wanted to kiss me, while we were out on the roof, and while we were waiting in the subway. He wished I hadn't left, he wished that I was still there. He told me in detail the parts of my body he had been admiring over the past few days. That woman he went to talk to? She kept looking over, and he thought it was someone that maybe he knew or was supposed to know. She was married, from out of town, had a ring on. She just kept looking over, so he went to talk to her. He couldn't figure out why I was leaving, and after I hung up, he ran to the subway looking for me. He couldn't find me, so I must have gotten a train right away. That's when he called and left the message.

Oh, sweet blessed relief. My friend insists that girls always know when guys are hitting on them, but it's guys that make us think we're crazy. This was a classic case. Except this time, I had some after-the-fact validation. I wasn't crazy. I knew what was going on. I wasn't delusional. He kept assuring me that I hadn't made it all up, that things really had been that way. We talked for a while longer, and finally I had to go upstairs. Some parts of the story didn't ring true to me - there were some declarations he was making (did he REALLY run after me? did he REALLY think that he knew the woman he went to go talk to?) but I was in no mood to entertain any doubts. He promised to call when he got back into town. We promised to make it up to each other - he was going to make up for the fact that he went to talk to someone else, and I was going to make up for the fact that I upset him when I left.

That night, I went to bed thinking about what a bad idea it is to ever get involved with a coworker. Everyone knows nothing good can come of it. Except the night, in all of its drama, was a great night. Even at its worst it was a great story. So this whole not dating a coworker thing? Maybe that's a lesson I'd like to learn for myself. On the other hand, maybe now's a really good time to cut my losses. Again.

Monday, October 24, 2005

miles away from where I'm supposed to be

I slowly gathered my belongings and made known my intentions to leave. He didn't move.

"Are you going to the same station I am?" I asked him.
"Yeah, I am." He got up off the couch.

I exchanged one more look with NM who still sitting on the couch trying to decipher what was going on, not sure what he was thinking, or whether it mattered. And then I left.

We walked to the nearest train. I was acutely aware of him just inches from my side, still dressed in his suit with his work bag carried confidently on his shoulder. I'd had so much fun. He challenged again, You won't come over to my area of town. No you won't. What are you going to show me if I go? I visualized it as he told me about what it felt like to live there, and what there was to see. He told me about a place he used to frequent, but hadn't been recently. I accepted his challenge. I'd really like to get a drink there. It sounds great. I was so excited about it, this place; I wanted to go to a place where people celebrated the anonymous greatness of regular people; a place where people walked through the doorway shedding their daily fixed roles and transformed into breezy soft laughter and conversation.

When the train going in my direction came by, I didn't catch it. I waited, sitting next to him, talking about things I don't now recall. I remember sitting next to him at the station, and then in the train that whisked me miles away from where I was supposed to be, and although I cannot recall what we discussed, I remember thinking how much I had missed having a spark like this with someone. Backtracking over an hour in the darkness of morning would be worth it, just for this moment.

After a long trip, we arrived at our destination. I hesitated when we walked in the door. It was not what I had imagined. It was small, cramped, and rather brightly lit, with absurdly low ceilings, and as I quickly scanned the room, I could tell from the easy comfortable chatter that it was a crowd of eclectic regulars. What if I broke one of the unwritten rules? There was nowhere to sit. Behind me, he put his right hand comfortably on the small of my back and indicated with his left hand that I should go ahead. In the split second between that and when I actually started forward, I all at once remembered in times past what that hand meant, how it felt to be so comfortable and in tune with someone, and how my last night with Mr. STF felt the same way.

He found one barstool, and indicated for me to sit. I looked forward towards the jazz performers. He stood on my left and the bar, with a few singles, dirty napkins, and two dirty cocktail glasses was on my right. There we sat for several hours. I ordered drinks for both of us, and he stood closely by my left side. I took in my surroundings. An older woman with a subtle energy sang gently from the stage. The instruments bore the tarnished finish of hard-worked metal and gave off a muted light from the stage. Some people were dancing; some were preparing to perform; some were jockeying at the bar for drinks. The room was buzzing but not loud. I knew I was glowing. Leaning over to talk to him, feeling him lean towards me, craving him to come closer when he pressed up against me as people tried to walk by; soaking up every ray of energy emanating from every person and feeling how intensely perfect the setting was, as though it had been created for this very purpose.

We shared stories of our loves: Streetball, particular athletes, hometowns, and our current respective singlehoods. 'I had a steady piece,' he laughed, 'but we weren't dating. We're still friends.' Oh God, does someone refer to me like that? A steady piece? Is this where we're headed? And I pushed the thought out of my head. This was an intense evening, taken straight out of a romance novel, but we work together. This job means too much for me to get wrapped up in a distraction of this magnitude. Like being a brand new public defender in a new town isn't hard enough? Like I need to be a coworker's steady piece on the side? And I must be crazy to think that this man wants anything from me at all.

The barstool in front of me opened, and he sat. I was disappointed - no longer would he be up against me, driving me crazy every time he moved against my side. We chatted for a while longer, enjoying the silence on our conversations that was filled in by jazz and the jukebox.

"Excuse me for just one moment. I need to go introduce myself to that woman." He gazed past me, behind me, and then slipped off the barstool. I remained frozen, looking forward to a stage that was just starting to fill up with musicians again. Immediately my connection with every ray of energy around me was cut off; at that moment I felt like I had retreated and was outside looking in. All of the light, the sound, the energy became muted. What did I miss? What is it that I did? I know he had been interested, and I knew we clicked. What changed so violently that he would leave me perched alone on a barstool, wearing the suit I had put on 18 hours before, staring intently ahead, or fixedly on my wine glass? What did I say? What didn't I say? What did I or didn't I do? Hadn't he told me that he wanted to make sure I got back home safely - if not that night then the next morning?

Holy fuck. I had misunderstood it all. Staying on the roof with me asking about my family and my background; cajoling me into coming over an hour out of my way with him; bringing me to this place - it meant nothing at all. The intensity of the evening really had all been in my head; I had created something I wanted out of nothing at all. And there I remained, trying to swim through the confusion and the alcohol, fending off people who wanted to sit on the barstool next to me as he had taken a barstool next to another woman. I was a fool. I'm such a fool. An idiot. What the fuck was I thinking? Of course I knew he wouldn't want me. I knew it was unreal, I knew it couldn't be possible. How foolish.

The older man offered to buy me a drink after saying all the right things - He'd be a fool to leave a woman like you. He'd have to be blind not to see what a mistake he is making. I offered a smile of thanks, and kindly turned down his offer to buy me a drink. His eyes were kind and he fended others off for me without even acknowledging it. I offered him the barstool, and he politely refused to sit. After the second song I listened to alone, I shook off the haze of my shock. I took one more look ahead, focusing clearly on the musicians, and fixed my eyes on my adopted protector. I'm leaving now, I said to him. I don't know when he'll feel like coming back. These seats are all yours. I hope you were able to enjoy at least part of your evening here, he said. I loved it, I assured him, even with this, the music and the people were still worth the trip. And with that, I cut my losses, picked up my bag still stuffed with the trappings of the job I had left almost 12 hours ago, and walked out the door without looking back.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

the nearness of you

I kept fiddling with my wine glass, nervously staring at the crack in it, but not particularly caring. When I had first arrived, I thought the crack in the glass was a charming detail to the moment. I was in a hole-in-the-wall after-hours jazz club, a tiny, cramped, elongated room with incredibly low ceilings and maybe a little too much lighting. I was told that this is where popular jazz artists used to come after performing. The crowd was an interesting assortment of age, style, and skin color. Wine was served in single-serving bottles and cracked glasses. Everything had a sensory implication - the music, the lighting, the glasses, and each person that walked by. I couldn't help but feel immersed, every nerve ending abuzz. The sun would be up in less than 3 hours.

How did I end up here? I glanced up as I sensed someone in front of me. I shook my head, Yes, that seat is taken. I think. I went over the night in my mind. We had gotten out of work early - very early, around 3:30 p.m. And as most lawyers, and all young lawyers, are wont to do, we scooted off to happy hour. Just another Friday night. This was a bigger group, with the same core cast of characters. We started at one bar; pitchers coming two at a time, never empty, plastic cups littered around the table, tables cast aside and chairs gathered into groups. We moved to the next bar, sitting outside and crammed onto three benches around one table. Beers so large that I could not drink from it without using two hands.

At both bars, I ended up sitting next to a colleague to whom I had not previously spoken, but had introduced myself some time ago. He's one of those coworkers that you know everyone in the group noticed when he walked into the room on the first day. (And, if you're me, the second day, and third, and fourth, etc...) There are always a few people that you know everyone admires, right? The attractive, intelligent, well-spoken, self-assured ones that dress really nicely and are fun to talk to. There are always a few in every group. This was one in particular with whom I was smitten. I hung onto his every word. His voice was smooth, assured, and entrancing.

At the first bar, we chatted easily, talking about ourselves, and our backgrounds, bad movies, baseball, etc. I was delighted to speak to him; he was every bit as fun to hang out with as I had hoped. I was happy to know that I'd be spending an indefinite number of years working alongside him. He lived in a neighborhood that I haven't had the chance to explore yet, and he offered to show me around. At the second bar, I didn't speak to him as much. He told me I wasn't going to be able to finish my beer. Stated as easily and confidently as fact, like an observation about the weather. He told me I wouldn't go to his neighborhood. Another challenge. He reminded me about visiting his neighborhood. Next weekend, we'll... is what he said. A few times, dropped in conversation. Next weekend, we'll...

And, as most bad ideas go, we decided to leave the bar and head to a colleague's apartment for more drinking. By this time, our numbers had dropped dramatically and it was just the few of us left. We sat on the rooftop, looking out over parts of the city, the skyline dotted with lights and some gritty dirty buildings. It was not until the others had gone in shivering, and we remained outside drinking, talking, and it was not until he asked me about myself, we discussed our families, how we got where we are, what we think about what's next... that I started wonder. I'm enamored with him, but never thought twice about it. Who wouldn't be? But if he might be interested in me, that's a whole different ballgame. I quickly pushed the thought out of my head. Are you crazy? He's polite, and interesting, and friendly. That's it. Stop imagining things that aren't true.

My thoughts were interrupted by yet another person trying to sit in the stool across from me. The older man who had first asked to sit there indicated to the other man that yes, the seat was taken. The older man set his drink in front of it, and stood behind it, so as to prevent others from sitting. I smiled at him and thanked him. You can go ahead and sit there. I'm not sure when he's coming back, and he's been gone long enough. Well where did he go? He went to talk to another girl. And that sick feeling in my stomach came back, that feeling of maybe I made this all up, but even worse, I sensed that I hadn't made it up, but that in the end, he decided that he wasn't really interested in me any longer.

Could I have made this up? When we finally came inside off the roof to join the others, I was still certain about nothing. He had hinted a few times about possibly going to his neighborhood tonight for another drink. Of course, issued as a challenge. You won't go. I, foolishly, always respond as predicted to such things. Of course I'll go! I'm totally up for it. But I'm still wearing my suit, and carrying my work bag, and I feel like an asshole going to such a hip neighborhood looking like this. Don't worry, no one will even notice, he assured me.

He mentioned it to some others as well, and they like me gave lip service to the idea of moving along, but as time progressed, it became clear that we weren't really going to relocate again. By this time we had been drinking for at least 7 hours. At one point, he and I made eye contact across the room. I can't remember exactly what he mouthed to me, but it was something along the lines of, 'If you're up for it, then I'm up for it.' Or, If you're in, then I'm in. Even though I wasn't certain what exactly he was talking about, I nodded. Whatever it was he was talking about, I was totally in.

Another coworker sitting next to me, the near-miss from last Friday, murmured to me. I turned to him, and saw him looking over at the other guy. Clearly Near-Miss had seen it as well. NM said, You're totally going home with him aren't you. You are so going to hook up. NM kept looking over at the other guy. I tried to keep my cool and looked directly at NM the entire time. Don't let him know I'm talking about him. No, I'm not going home with him. What are you talking about? Damn, I wish. NM said, he wants to. I can tell. After making what I thought were the appropriate denials of any knowledge of what was going on, NM stopped pushing it. Inside, I was screaming, Yes! I think so too! I'm not making this up! There is something happening here! I am not crazy! Even another guy was able to pick up on this! And all guys are legally mentally retarded when it comes to things like this! (As an aside, it doesn't mean you aren't eligible for execution when you fuck something up, like a date or a relationship.)

I decided to leave, and I was banking on the fact that he will leave with me.

to be continued...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

damn the government

You know that anti-pot commercial where the grandma is waiting at the kitchen table with dinner ready, and she looks so lonely and worried, and then she reaches over and fixes the place setting, and the voice-over says, "Just tell your grandma that you couldn't make it to dinner because you got high."
I don't smoke pot but it still makes me feel guilty EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Yeah, I just ran and emailed my grandma.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

in a bizarre turn of events

Last night I saw the booty call, the guy that I met in May that I never really wanted to meet up with again, but feeling lonely and in need of companionship, gave my phone number to last week.

He came over last night, and I figured by the end of the night, I'd be reminded of why I steered clear of him for the past few months.

Au contraire.

It was actually a very pleasant evening. We took a walk along the water, under the starlight and the twinkling lights of the city; we caught up on what we've been doing the past few months; we chatted about our respective jobs; we made out. It was really nice to see him, and I told him that I wanted to see him again, and not just for making out.

Suddenly - the guy who was relentlessly after me, trying to see me (all last weekend) despite the fact that I made it clear to him that I wasn't interested in dating, and the only reason I contacted him was to hook up... suddenly, I'm interested in dating, I would really like to see him and hang out again, and suddenly, he isn't contacting me.

Go fucking figure.


Today during our training and simulations, one of the issues raised was how to deal with suicidal clients.

About halfway through the presentation, a memory came like a sucker punch out of nowhere... in my former life as a social worker, someone killed himself because of me.

To be fair, it's not actually true that I caused someone to commit suicide. But I was part of the event that led to the suicide. I was investigating a potential sexual abuse case, and it was my first such case. I conducted a painstaking interview, in which the youth kept changing the subject, avoiding any discussions that even approached what I wanted to ask about (this was a particularly smart client, too) until finally, it all started pouring out.

The abuser was a relative but not a member of the household, which is not uncommon. After consulting with the members of the youth's household, and after it was clear that the youth and the family was safe, my involvement ended. However, the police then began considering criminal charges. This particular jurisdiction almost never prosecuted child cases, which frustrated me as a social worker. I don't recall how I found out, but soon after this situation came to light, the alleged perpetrator killed himself.

I was reeling from the shock of the news, I remember - a 22 year old fresh out of college mucking around in the deepest and most secretive aspects of people's lives - and based on what? My job title? Who the hell was I? I felt overwhelmed. I cried. I was angry. I needed someone to help me figure out what my role was in this, and howI was supposed to feel about it. Neither my supervisor nor the detective I had been working with was any help to me. I don't think they really understood how or why this affected me.

Today, the same nausea I felt that day came rushing back.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Incest, murder

This article details the story of an 18 year old woman being tried for murder, allegedly for throwing two newborn infants out a window shortly after their birth. She lived with her father who reportedly abused her several times a week for years, and is the father of the two newborns.

It seems inappropriate to me that she's facing more serious charges than he is. If he was raping her several times a week, possibly even picking her up from school during her lunch hour to do so, and then he fathered two children by his own daughter, I think he's more culpable than she is.

In Vermont, citizens are taking immigration enforcement into their own hands. If they can find the border.

The Washington Post has an interesting article about au pairs and their experience arriving here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Being a Lawyer: The First Week

The most important part of this week for me to share is that I'm deliriously happy. I love my class. I love my job. I love my new city. I'm not so excited about my office assignment - the commute may be prohibitive. But the office is great, the attorneys are great, I got to meet some judges and see the bowels of the courthouse and criminal justice system, I have some great people (we're a small group) assigned to my office as well.

There are already some political snafus, but overall, I'm so excited. And I am so proud of us. It's such a great group of fun, smart, dedicated new attorneys, fresh faces and boundless energy, chomping at the bit to get going. I'm so proud to be part of a great group of new attorneys in my own office - they're incredibly friendly, super nice, and even though we're all pissed about the commute, I think ultimately we're all going to love it.

The world of indigent defense is a small world, indeed. I ran into people I knew last summer, or people who know people that I know, people I may have even worke don cases with before. Most of us have friends or acquiantances in common, and it's unbelievable how small the public defender community feels.

I'm already hitting a few touchy areas about my own background. For instance, the name of my law school has others drawing inferences with which I'm not comfortable. I don't know for sure, but I think it makes some people feel uncomfortable. One of my new buddies and I got in an argument about who knows how to party. We went to law school not too far, and he said, "Don't you tell me that your law school knows how to party! I don't go up into your library and say, "Ooooh, I study soooo much!" And I was really left at a loss. People are drawing conclusions about my abilities and my personal experiences based solely on the name of my law school, and it is a sore subject for me. One of my best friends from law school comes from a similar background as I, and we've had intense conversations about how it feels, how we think other people regard us, how it changes how we regard other people. It's very upsetting to me, and I guess I can't really explain why or how. The guy with whom I had this conversation went to law school near me, and he loved that I described my law school geographically, instead of by name. I do that because so many people come from this area and went to law school in this area that I try to explain that I'm sorta new to it. However, the other girl with us said, "Why bother? You assume that I care where you went to law school. You assume it makes a difference to me. It doesn't." And I was so glad she said that. I can't stand it when people are shallow, and particularly in this job, I want people to see what drives me to do this work, and what my individual strengths and undeveloped skills are right now. One of my friends from law school, not a public defender, said to me, "You went to a great law school. Deal with it." I suppose that's true too. I went to the law school because of its prestige; its name opened doors for me that would have otherwise been unavailable; I can't now pretend like it means nothing.

About 6 times today, I grinned like a fool and squealed, "I can't believe I live here! I can't believe I'm really a public defender! I can't believe how happy I am!!" Life is good. And as my dad said, if the only thing going wrong for me is my long commute, then life is pretty good. That's the truth.

Once I get into more substantive training and start taking cases, I'm going to be a wreck - I've never actually represented someone in court before! But for now, with just HR forms and beer and getting familiar with my new digs, I'm lovin' life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I love the working world

Today, I:

- developed a crush on a coworker

- filled out hours upon hours of HR forms

- got paid for those hours

- sat with people that made filling out my address and name, 17 times, over and over again, very very fun...

- went out for beers with a few coworkers

- had a few more beers with coworkers

- got fucking drunk off my ass with coworkers

- share intimate secrets with coworkers

- almost went home with the crush coworker

- didn't go home with him because it was all too clinical ('ok, so if you hook up with X, and I hook up with Y, we'll all be cool. Yeah?)

- but, despite the fact that I decided at the last minute to kiss him on the cheek, say, "I appreciate it. But maybe some other time?" and catch a train in a different direction, I still really want to make out with him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

almost forgot to tell you

That I stumbled across this guy yesterday. I almost had a heart attack. Him? Me? Here? We've re-exchanged contact info. BAD dating karma, let me tell you. I need to get off to a better start in this city than THAT.

But sometimes a girl just needs the booty call option.


I do belong here.

The highlights of the day:
1. Having the trainer give a speech regarding feeling like an imposter, feeling like any time now, someone is going to find you out - that you're not really all that smart, or that you don't think well on your feet, or that you don't know all the legal arguments. I was relieved. That's EXACTLY how I feel! The answer: just pretend. And that's really what I've done so far. I've pretended like I'm a great speaker, and have great presence, and know everything inside and out. It's effective.

2. Meeting some great new people with whom I look forward to working.

3. Running into people I already knew!

4. Finding out that my office is really, really, far away from where I'll be living starting next month.

5. A bird pooped on my brand new fabulous work bag. (I read in a Judy Blume book that in Yiddish folklore, this is good luck. So that's how I tried to regard it.)

Gosh, I'm tired.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I've had several journal-worthy moments of introspection, but those moments never occur when I'm anywhere near my journal, and after a gross weekend of miserable weather and trekking all over this city looking for housing, I'm in no mood to reflect or chronicle anything. Because if I were to die tomorrow, and someone found my journal, it would be clear that I was nothing more than a cranky bitch.

So, when I'm this disgruntled, I turn to the internet. The good news is that I accepted an offer to move into an apartment. I was so grumpy all day today because everything was so up in the air, and I dropped a solid $40 on transportation fees alone over the past week, and I feel like such a miserable burden to the dear friend who is allowing me to crash on her floor indefinitely. I like the place and the person living in the place that I accepted. She has a dog that I 100% fell in love with when I visited, and it was requited love (what can I say, the bitches love me). I left a message for potential future roommate, saying Yes! I will move in! but she hasn't called me back with the details, and if you know anything at all about me, internet, it's that I get frantic until I'm sure that all is resolved. See, e.g., the entire job search over the past year.

I start work on Tuesday, and I CANNOT WAIT. I am also terrified, because I secretly believe that my class will be composed of people who are both beautiful and brilliant [To which TR said, "Then you'll fit right in!" which was a very smooth and appropriately reassuring line] but I feel ugly and dull and stupid.

I'm starting to get accustomed to life in a city, which frequently involves being leered at by men on the street. Sadly, this is a boost to my ego, last night in particular. One thugged out young black man commented on my beauty and attractiveness in such an exhilarated and exasperated manner, as though his soul would never recover from me just walking on by and ignoring his remarks, that I was smirking and glowing the entire way to my destination, and then recounted the entire affair in an, "I wish all men were like this" type way.

Last night, I drank red wine and played card games and Balderdash, and I can't remember the last time I laughed so deeply.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

remove Bush from office immediately

I listen to NPR in the morning, and currently Bush is blathering about world-wide fear and freedom. I'm blogging contemporaneously with the crap spewing out of his mouth. This again? Why does it always come back to this? Where is this COMING from? What?!? Beirut? Mogadishu? Why is he always spinning tales of terror and the need to fight out of nowhere? "Mortal danger to all humanity"? "We will not rest until the war on terror is done"? You have NO credibility with me. You cried wolf too many times - war in Afghanistan! Iraq! Because they attacked us! ok, no, but they have bin Laden! No wait, they have weapons! No? Um, they are bad to their people! We need to be liberators!

His leadership makes me so angry that anything he says right now is enough to drive me to join a demonstration. I regard federal government with disdain because I have no say and no power in it. Those people don't represent me or my beliefs. It's us, the people, against them, our government. Bush describes the threat as people who believe "Someone else is to blame and violence is always the solution." Well that line could very well describe his own administration. What the hell is he getting at?

There is apparently no point to this speech. Just an attempt at a pep talk, apparently. He just keeps listing things that are wrong with the governments and terrorists of the world, but he hasn't said anything at all that connects them.

I can't believe I just wasted my time listening to this. I'm going to cut my losses and put on the iPod for now (Drive-By Truckers are very good). Let me know if he, like, declares war on someone else or something?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

it's complicated

Today, I went to lunch with a guy I started hanging out with at the end of law school. We started chatting, we hit it off, then there was finals and graduation and moving away. But for those three weeks or so when we were getting to know each other, and flirting, I was interested in him.

Then his "situation" showed up for graduation.

That's what he called her, until I sweetly cornered him into admitting that she just might be his girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend, but who travels hundreds of miles to see an ex graduate from law school?

We've exchanged a few emails and phone calls since then, all interactions being very pleasant and a little flirty, at least on my part. Today we had lunch, and I'm feeling pretty neutral about the whole thing. I'm not sure what's changed.

First off, I think he may not have left a tip. We both paid, but he didn't want to leave the money on the table, so we paid the cashier, but I have no idea where the money for the tip went. It didn't go back to the table. He seems like a super nice guy, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he somehow left the tip at the register.

Second, when I asked him about the 'situation,' he said, "I don't know what you think my status is with her." I wasn't sure how to say, I have no fucking clue, because you were never really clear on that, nor did you seem to be clear on that yourself, so I merely said, "Well, I didn't mean to box you into anything." I could feel myself turning red, particularly since bringing up his 'situation' was a bit of a non-sequiter. He said, "Well, we're not... it's... no. She's not moving here. But we still talk." Which still doesn't quite answer the question, still leaves too much to infer, but I suppose that's as good as it gets.

But you know what? That's not good enough anymore. Friendster, in addition to shaking the very foundation of my social fabric by retroactively revealing what a stalker I am to thousands of strangers, has added a new relationship distinction: "It's complicated." No, it's not. I want to have crazy, dirty, passionate, do-it-again-in-the-morning interactions with a member of the opposite sex. It's been ages since I've even been attracted to someone. (Unless you count the shirtless tattoed contractor who was working downstairs this morning). I want a guy who will put his hand on the small of my back as I pass. I want a guy who is sincere, and assertive, and who makes me feel like I'm the sexiest, most interesting woman in the room. I want a guy who makes a mental note when I mention my birthday, and then does something about it.


I do not want situations, or complications. I do not want to invest my time, my energy, my flirting on someone who doesn't know whether he's available or not.

I had the most articulate and profound insight here, but then blogger lost my post. It went something like, every time I start to overcome my own doubts about my dateworthiness, I get mired in procedural mishaps like situations and complications. I'm working on taking risks - slow, small risks - and I'm derailed not by rejection, or disinterest, but a "situation"? In all the time we've chatted, she just never came up in conversation?

And what does lunch on a Wednesday mean, anyway? It's less commital than say, dinner or drinks after work? Lunch on a Wednesday is 'Hey, how are ya, nice to see you, all your limbs are intact, which is good, see you in 4 or 5 months.'

Really, it's simple. Let's converse, let's connect, let's get something smoldering, and when I can't stop smiling, and laughing, and gazing into your eyes, lean forward and kiss me. And if you aren't sure whether you are allowed to do that, then don't waste my time.

[edit] and as if he READ my thoughts, or my blog, Mr. STF wooed me. I should have gotten him drunk in Vegas and tricked him into marrying me before I moved away.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

this game sucks and now I'm drunk for no reason

thoughts for today

Abomination of justice? playa, please. I know other bloggers have said this, but really, Tom DeLay, you have no idea. You were handed a nice clean indictment without being thrown to the ground, cuffed, searched, your house searched, and being thrown in jail until you make bail. Poor baby. Stop throwing words around like "abomination of justice" and welcome to the legal system, asshat. Buckle up. And I would recommend, while you have some authority to do so, that you derail that habeas bill that is going to prevent any federal court from hearing any of your dozens of appeals that I'm sure you are going to want.

This phone ran away and made unauthorized phone calls to places like Germany. It's ugly and not the easiest phone to use, but I loved it anyway, with all its faults. It was mine, it was new, (it was free) and it was (maybe) better than the old Nokia I had been using for 2 or 3 years. Now that the ugly gray hook phone left me (really. why a hook for an antenna? and a hook not even big enough to use for anything?) I have found love in a new phone which is so much sexier, and won't leave me to call Germany. Or Asia either, I bet.

I am wearing my Red Sox shirt again today. I've only worn the shirt three times, and every time, Wakefield and the Sox lost. I'm wearing it again today, hoping to break the curse. It's the first time I've worn it while someone else has been pitching. But if the Sox lose today, I take full responsibility for it, and I'll just hang the shirt on my wall instead of wearing it ever again.

Monday, October 03, 2005

to the person who found my cell phone

I am going to hunt you down and slowly and painfully remove a fingernail, or toe, or any other digit for every single minute that you called Europe. Additionally, I have the local number that you called, and do not think that I will not track down that number and then show up at the door with a shotgun. I will not rest until I find you.

city living

Every night, a man sits down in front of his piano and practices next to his large bay windows, opened about a third of the way, and the music in the night pleasantly wafts across what would ideally be a courtyard but is rather the ass end of a lot of buildings crammed together. Sometimes I peek out and watch him play, and I wonder if he ever gazes up at these windows to admire me while I repeatedly surf useless internet sites.

When it comes time to close the windows, I'm going to miss having such a beautiful soundtrack to my evenings.

blogging lite

I've had plenty of bloggable moments lately, but in an attempt to preserve my anonymity, alas, I've censored myself. I'm also in the midst of doing a lot but nothing at all. I'm looking for housing and trying to settle in. I'm watching the Sox kick ass and take names. (that might be a bit of an overstatement. but they're plugging along). I did some court-watching. I'm seeing people I haven't seen in a long time. I lost my cell phone and have been almost incapable of functioning without it.

Barnes and Noble has a neat book called "The Federalist" for $9.95 that I keep picking up and then putting back down. I really want to read the Federalist papers and some commentary, and this seems like a pretty comprehensive collection, but I can't just go throwing money around, having no income and all.

I start work soon, and I go back and forth between feeling like this is all a mistake, that I'm really really incompetent, and that I was only hired because I came from a decent law school which means I'm going to be a horrible attorney; and feeling like, wow, I can totally do that better than he did, and even if I can't do it better, I'm certainly capable of that level of mediocrity (this was while court-watching).

Time to go buy another cell phone.
Bush nominates Miers

Saturday, October 01, 2005

not too surprising

although I did think that I was a little more economically conservative than that. But maybe not.

You are a

Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(18% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Maryland v. Blake

I have posted about this case several times before (but I can't find the posts, because the google 'search this blog' feature is turning up nothing. Liars.) This case caught my attention when it was appealed to the MD Supreme Court, and it retains my attention for a different, even more compelling, reason.

The question in the case is whether, after a suspect invokes his Fifth Amendment right to counsel, in custody and under interrogation, police officers can continue to question him (including threatening the death penalty, for which he was not eligible at the time because he was a juvenile) and use the resulting confession as evidence?

The petitioner's (Maryland's) brief, in its facts, mentions the line, "I bet you want to talk now, huh?" but, in what I believe is not such a smooth move, leaves out the this was uttered by the detective because a document listing the charges and DEATH PENALTY were placed in front of Blake. As far as I can tell, Blake asks a few minutes later whether he can still speak to the cops.

The bright line rule set forth in Edwards is that once the suspect has invoked his 5th Amendment right to counsel, all interrogation must cease until the suspect has consulted with counsel OR the suspect seeks out and initiates contact with police. Interrogation includes any behavior designed to incite the suspect to act.

Blake looks like an open and shut 5th Amendment case. Blake wins. Maryland loses. The reason that this is my flagship case of the 2005-2006 Supreme Court term is because I want to know:

Why the hell did the Supreme Court take this case?

Is anyone else alarmed about what this means for Miranda? Particularly in light of the new changes on the Supreme Court? Roberts wasn't on the Court that decided Dickerson. And as many critics have pointed out, just because he 'has no quarrel' with a decision, or believes that a decision is 'entitled to deference' as settled law, doesn't mean that he won't start tearing shit up when he gets there.

The respondent's brief has not yet been filed, but the petitioner's brief and petitioner's reply brief are posted. The case is scheduled to be argued on November 1.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

she found god. and meth.

Remember that?  The guy who shot up the Atlanta courthouse - and took a woman hostage who spoke to him about God, and became his friend, and convinced him to turn himself in or something?  SHE GAVE HIM METH.  God, my ass. 
I too have found meth.  I mean God.  Well, not really.  But since I left my momma's, I have:
1. been told I have a 'juicy ass'
2. been asked out to dinner by the grocery clerk
3. had a guy buy the entire bar a round of drinks because he thought I was cute, but thought it would be weird to buy just me a drink
4. accidentally almost crashed a private lesbian party (they told us we could stay, but we politely declined.)
5.  given my phone number to a guy who insulted me and argued with me all night - I told him he was the only guy I've wanted to punch while giving him my phone number.  which is true.  he hasn't called; I'm not sad.
6.  been out until 5 a.m.
7. gained weight
8. been sleeping on an air mattress
And loving every minute of it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Catholic Church? Liberals?

I've been batting around the idea of returning to religion and
specifically, the Catholic Church. I read a 200-page history of the
development of the Catholic Church as an establishment that led me to

Now, Pope Benedict intends to send investigators to find and throw out any
priests who identify as homosexual, and the Catholic Church is now pretty
much crossed off my list. It seems odd to me that the Pope wants to fire
celibate homosexuals, but the Church is more than willing to protect
pedophiles. Being homosexual does not make one more likely to abuse
children. Being a homosexual who does not commit homosexual acts is
actually not a sin, according to the Church. Nevertheless, the Church is
seeking to become more conservative than ever.

The whole country, apparently, has swung far to the right. NPR had a
feature yesterday on the popularity of fundamentalist churches and the
disappearance of progressive religion in this country. Secondly, I read
part of an article by Cass Sunstein in Harper's Magazine this month, and I
learned that Stevens is actually a Republican moderate. I never knew
that, nor would I have guessed that. Sunstein points out that it's not
Stevens' decisions that have changed, but rather, the Court has changed so
far to the right that a Republican moderate like Stevens is on the left.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I'm lonely.

I definitely needed an extended period of time after the bar exam to relax. I needed time to come down off the bar exam, pack and move, get job things straightened out, and work on my tan.

All of those things were accomplished by, oh, August 28.

Now I'm just going crazy. I've developed a diligent television-watching routine. The amount of TV I watch in a day is truly shocking. I've been catching up on movies and shows that I missed, on DVD. I can't even bring myself to read anymore, because I do it every single day.

I miss law school. There, I said it. I miss walking the halls and being swept up in 45 minute social detours. I miss sitting down for a quick meal and inadvertently becoming engrossed in a conversation that manages to both inflame my passions and leaving me questioning my own principles. I miss being in my house, and my bed, surrounded by my friends. I miss my grocery store, my gym, my walk to school, my bars, the old man who seemed to hate his dog but walked him every single morning at the same time past my house. I miss throwing a ball around in the grass outside the law school. I miss knowing that everyone I needed to see was either in the building or a short walk away. I miss sending one-line emails; emails never needed to be more than one line because we saw each other all the time.

It's funny, really, that the less you see someone, the less you have to say.

Soon, I'm going to crash at a friend's house instead of Mom's. The time has come for me to get out of here and start getting focused on the next phase. The work-related things that are up in the air mean that other things are too, things like housing and income and whether I'll be able to pay my bills next month. Because all of those things are up in the air, I haven't even started thinking about the other Big Things that come along with this next phase. I think most people in my life assume that I'm naturally social and outgoing. That's not necessarily the case. I have to gear up for investing time and energy into developing really rewarding relationships with my coworkers. I have to invest the time and mental energy into getting accustomed to a new community. I have to get ready for having a life that doesn't include coffee breaks whenever I feel like it, or skipping an afternoon because the weather's nice.

It's going to be scary and exciting, and it's time to get started, even though it means that I have to quit TV cold turkey.