Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Because I Love You

We confess our bad qualities to others out of fear of appearing naive or ridiculous by not being aware of them.
-- from Thoughts in a Dry Season, by Gerald Brenan

One of my favorite blogs is Above the Law, and I read it faithfully. (You may remember an earlier post on Big Law bonuses that was sparked by the bonus coverage on ATL.) Every once in a while, Lat posts something that makes me laugh out loud. Today was one of those times. He posted the following, prefaced with the information that it is a real cover letter received in response to paralegal job posting at a legal staffing agency. It seems almost too "good" to be true, but it had me dying laughing in my office today, and because I love you all, I thought I'd share it with you:

Hello there,

I am not a paralegal. But, I type 85 WPM and used to be executive assistant and have multiple skillsets, easy to train, that honestly set me $1000 over the salary of a degreed political science bachelors degreed person. Sadly, she was aggressive and began reading Hitler's methods and worked her way to stop my success with her deception.

The compliance lawyer finally figured out what she was doing and wound up getting rid of her. She now works in buying and selling electrical components somewhere. So, I have no way to measure her value or mine within this paralegal field. I'll let you be the judge.

I envy her in some ways, as she knows how to get where she wants to go. I just like to take my time and be a team player, not a bulldozer, which is a rare thing from what a Criminal Justice professor advised me, when I thought of obtaining a paralegal bachelors degree. I am aggressive, just can't bulldoze people over. He was unsure if I'd make it in that field because of that personality feature I have.

I'd rather love people and nurture them to their success. I don't have that other bulldozing personality trait in me, to stop other's success. I can bulldoze aggressively to help people succeed. So, honestly, I do not know how you would value me in that way. I thought that was important to mention as I don't know precisely how you'd need someone to be.

I've had some compliance experience. The compliance experience was basically data entry making edits to documents and having strikethroughs show up on the document of removed verbage. Honestly, I thought it was pretty basic to be a paralegal, as they had told me that was paralegal work. Surely, there has to be more to it.

If you require research, I can do some of that. But, reading volumes of legal documents that a law student would be required to absorb and interpret, to me, would require more of a lawyer than someone with my experience. But, I am willing to help you, if that is what you need.

If you are in a bind, let me jump in and help you out. I can jump over there to help you out if you are in a bind, rather quickly, while you are looking for someone else that may be more qualified. Or, I may be precisely what you need if you show me what to do. Again, I don't know what you would need. So, you'd have to let me know what you would need help with.

The ad you wrote seemed that you were in urgent need of help, right now. So, I thought that my offer would help you. I hate sitting home studying all day and submitting the neverending resume search for employment anyways. I have a degree. It's not a bachelor's yet, I'm working on that piece. I have an associates and hope to start my own business someday on the side of real estate appraisal. But, this economy is dicey for anyone to train in the field. So, I'm sitting here doing nothing of value. I can't stand not making a difference and working.

So, let me know your thoughts. If you need me, let me know. I'll come right down and begin now. I'd love to be of assistance. My hours of availability are 9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.


You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Things to Be Happy About, Vol. 5

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
-- Albert Camus

This is going to be brief. I'm having a very difficult time personally right now, and just when things seemed to be looking up a little, I got blindsided by something else. I do think it's important to still try to focus on the little things and remember that things were not, and won't always be, as bad as I feel like they are right now.

I would like to say, also, a very heartfelt thanks to my "invisible" friends, who have surprised me with their kindness, support, and generosity over the past several days. I'm not surprised that they are kind, supportive, and generous - I've seen them show it over and over again - but I am surprised that that their kindness, support, and generosity were so freely extended to me. (You may have heard that I have a hard time making friends and tend to be insecure.) I really can't tell all of you what it means to me, but I thank you.

So, here's this week's list:

1. when you all of a sudden have a funny thought and laugh out loud
2. old couples who are still obviously in love [not unlike this couple, on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France]
3. having friends all over the world
4. sitting next to someone good on a plane
5. big raindrops
6. babies fresh from the bath
7. sneaking out without getting caught [not that I ever did this]
8. catching snowflakes on your tongue
9. the mountains of Virginia
10. a really comfortable bed

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dentist Appointment Redux

"It isn't always how you look. Look at me: I'm handsome like anything and I haven't got anybody to marry me yet!"
--Brian, age 7

My apologies for the delay in providing details. I spent most of yesterday sadder than I expected over this, after having to be “up” for Thanksgiving with the family. I don’t know how I can have come so far from the teenager I was in almost all areas of my life, and yet still be so much the same when it comes to men.

Caveat: this is long. I tend to be an over-analyzer, so I hate to leave out details. Skip to the last few paragraphs if you just want the bones of what happened.

Anyway: I was ready. My hair was cooperating, I was wearing new jeans that looked great and my boots that make me feel like I can do anything. I was nervous, really nervous. Luckily, it’s a 10-minute walk from the Metro to his office, so I was able to burn off some of that excess energy, so when I got there, I wasn’t talking a million miles a minute and pacing in the waiting room.

I didn’t see him before I went in the exam room. The x-ray tech came in first and took a hundred x-rays of my teeth, and I’m sure you all know how stupid you look with that thing clamped in your mouth. The door to the room was open because the tech had to keep leaving the room to take the x-ray, and the whole time I was praying he wouldn’t walk by and see me like that. Yes, I know he’s a dentist, he sees everybody like that, but still. I put a lot of effort into looking good, and the last thing I needed was for his first look at me to be that. This scenario also repeated itself later when I was hanging out in the room with those stupid fluoride trays in my mouth. At least the door was closed then.

Ok, so x-rays, x-rays, x-rays; cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Every time the door opened, my heart jumped, but it was never him. Finally, all that other stuff was done, and the hygienist left saying the dentist would be in in a minute. I got up out of the chair, ostensibly to throw my tissues away, and she told me “Oh, just leave it on the tray, we’ll get it later.” What I really needed was lip gloss, though, so I lied and told her I just needed some Chap-Stick since my lips were dry after all the cleaning and flossing and flouriding. I will not see my future husband with naked lips, no sir. Luckily, there were mirrors on the wall, so I was able to fluff my hair and make sure there were no errant specks of toothpaste on my face before he came in. So nice of them to provide that convenience!

So I’m sitting in the chair trying not to panic, and in walks the Dentist. Oh my god, you guys. I had almost convinced myself that I had inflated his hotness and his funniness over the last four weeks, and that he couldn’t possibly be as handsome and funny as I remembered. But he was. He comes in all, “Hello, Counselor,” which made me laugh and led to a discussion of how long it took him to be comfortable calling himself Doctor. Then I asked him about his accent. I noticed it last time, but I couldn’t place it. He asked if I was good at geography. I told him I'm not, and that, in fact, I’d only just learned that the Philippines were in the Pacific somewhere (which is true, and I don’t care if it’s embarrassing; he thought it was funny). He said “I’m Latin, but I don’t speak Spanish.” I guessed Brazilian, and I was right. I could just die. Do you have any idea how beautiful Portuguese is? I could honestly listen to it for the rest of my life and die happy, without ever understanding a word.

Ok, anyway, back to the story. So he’s looking at my x-rays, we’re talking, and next thing I know, he’s running his fingers all around the inside of my mouth and making me stick out my tongue (oral cancer screening, you know), which is making me laugh, because I’m, for lack of a better word, giddy from being so close to him. He asked me what was so funny; I told him I felt like I was in a dog show, which made him laugh. Then he’s pressing on my sinuses and my neck (I don’t know; he was feeling my glands or something?), and look, I know he's a dentist and he does that to everyone, but the size of the crush I have on him? I was a happy girl.

So we’re coming to the end of the appointment, and I’m getting nervous. The nurse or whoever was in the room with us at the end, and I knew I couldn’t just ask him with her there. I thought about asking her to excuse us, but I just couldn’t do it. He asked me if I had any questions, which was the opening I’d been waiting for. Some of you know I had a whole thing planned out about how I was going to ask him to recommend another dentist, and when he asked why, I was going to say, “Because I wanted to ask you to have dinner with me, and if you say yes, well, I think it’s weird to go on a date with your dentist. And if you say no, I’ll be too embarrassed to ever come back here, so either way, I’m going to need a new dentist.” Instead, I just smiled and said no.

He got up and asked me about my plans for Thanksgiving, and we talked a bit more, he shook my hand, and then he left. I was at the counter waiting to check out and the receptionist was talking to me, but I was totally distracted. I was thinking that I was a chicken, and that I’d regret it if I didn’t ask him, and I was trying to figure out what to do. Finally, he came back in the hallway, and I asked him to go back in the room, saying I needed to talk to him.

So we’re standing there, he’s all handsome and whatnot, smiling at each other. Right then, I was hardly nervous at all. It was just something that had to be done. I said, “So I had a whole spiel planned, but I’m going to bag it and just ask you if you’d like to have dinner with me sometime.” His smile got real big, then he blushed a little, and said softly, “I’m flattered, but I’m seeing someone.” I smiled, shrugged, and said, “I thought you might be, I just wanted to ask.” And that was that.

I went back to the reception area to pay and fill out a reminder card, but my hand was shaking the whole time. I don’t really know what I was feeling – sad, definitely; disappointed; a little surprised, even; and embarrassed, too. He came up from behind me, put his hand on my back, and when I turned to him, he said, “You know, you made me blush.” I laughed and smiled, but I don’t think I said anything. One of the receptionists asked how I’d done that, but I didn’t answer. I wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving and left.

I’m not going to lie: walking back to the Metro, a few tears escaped. There was so much energy and emotion leading up to that moment that it had to go somewhere. I was beyond proud of myself that I’d done it at all, but I was so, so disappointed that it turned out the way it did. I had considered the possibility that he had a girlfriend, of course, but I’d convinced myself that whatever happened between us last time, the spark, or whatever, meant that he probably didn’t. I know I didn’t make it up; there’s something there. All we do is laugh through the entire appointment; I bet we’d have a blast on a date.

So I’m sad. And it’s going to take me a minute to move on. And probably, if I’m honest, I won’t really move on, at least not yet, or not entirely. Because I have to go back in February.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hey, It Doesn't Hurt to Ask, Right?

Nope. But sometimes it hurts to hear the answer.

He's seeing someone.

Details Friday, probably, if anyone's interested.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things to Be Happy About, Vol. 4

If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we'd have a pretty good time.
-- Edith Wharton

It's Thanksgiving this week, which makes this feature especially apropos today, I think. I love Thanksgiving; it's my favorite holiday, and it has surprisingly little to do with food.

In my family, we go to my grandfather's house in Maryland. Usually - and this year is no exception - it's my grandfather and his wife, my parents, me, my brother and sister-in-law and their two kids, an uncle, some cousins, and a great-aunt or two. We gather sometime after noon and congregate in the kitchen, eating appetizers (because if there's one thing there's not enough of on Thanksgiving, it's food), or in the living room. Sometimes there's football on, sometimes not, but even when there is, no one's really paying attention.

My favorite part is that everyone has their own "thing" to do: my grandfather's in charge of the turkey, his wife does the stuffing (and when my great-grandmother was alive, this always started the great stuffing v. dressing debate - for the record, it's stuffing when it's cooked in the turkey, dressing when it's cooked on its own). I'm on mashed potato duty, my mom does vegetables or dessert, my dad's cousin makes homemade bread. The men in my family make the gravy. My grandfather taught my dad who taught my brother. Thank god my brother had a boy; now I'm set for gravy for the rest of my life!

Ok, so it is about the food, I lied. But it's more than that. It's that we have these traditions that revolve around the food. I don't know how any of them started - convenience, I suppose - but I do know that, like that Visa commercial where the hapless customer tries to pay with cash and effs the whole process up, Thanksgiving would be chaos without everyone playing their roles. I love being in the kitchen with all that activity going on around me, but knowing I only have to worry about the giant pot of potatoes in front of me and making sure I accurately report at what time they'll be done so everyone can plan accordingly.

This year, though, I'm also attempting an appetizer and a dessert. I plan to make them at home before I head up to Maryland, so as to minimize the disturbance of the aura in the kitchen. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll even win the post-dessert marathon game of Hearts for once.

So, in honor of Thursday, here's a short, Thanksgiving-themed Things to be Happy About:

1. cranberry sauce still in the shape of the can [yeah, we have no pretensions when it comes to cranberry sauce]
2. big Thanksgiving dinners
3. when everyone has their "specialty dish" to make at Thanksgiving
4. family traditions
5. homemade ice cream
6. the "elegant" salt and pepper shakers [this is from a story my great-grandmother used to tell about my grandfather when he was a boy; they went shopping for salt and pepper shakers and he asked if they could buy the "elegant" ones. They did, and we use them to this day]

I hope you'll share some of your Thanksgiving traditions with me in the comments - I'd love to hear about them!

P.S. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that by this time tomorrow, we'll know for sure whether I'm a chicken or not. Dentist. Tomorrow. 4 pm. I'll post an update either way, I promise.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Car Sickness, or, that Feeling You Get When the Monthly Payment's Due

In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks.
-- Scott Adams

So it's done! I traded in my nearly worthless, inspection-failing, 10-year-old Saturn SL for a 2006 berry red Saturn ION2. I dig it so much. It's the newest car I've ever owned, and it's so pretty. Here's a picture. Ok, that's not a picture of my actual car; that's a picture of the car I almost bought this summer, which was a 2007 ION3, but mine looks just like this (except the interior is gray, not tan like this one). Plus, this one has fewer miles on it than that one did.

Between this summer and Monday, I test drove four or five IONs, and ended up buying from a Saturn dealership, which was my preference. I was very happy with the level of service I received from them, which is part of the reason the only cars I’ve ever owned have been Saturns. I still have the balance of the factory warranty on the new one (about 10,000 miles or 18 months), and since I calculated that I will probably only drive about 6,000 miles this year, I'm pretty well set in that department. And, I think I got a pretty good deal, so I am a happy camper.

Things I love about my new car:
1. Power steering
2. Power windows
3. Power door locks (Sensing a trend? My old car was so manual, you practically had to push it to get where you wanted to go)
4. It's automatic (I wavered on this a bit; I love driving stick, but in DC traffic, it's a pain in my ass, so I'm giving it up)
5. Keyless entry! And a key fob! I can freak people out by making the interior light turn on from far away!
6. It's MP3 compatible - now (I assume and hope; I'm not technical and I didn't ask and haven't read the manual yet) I can listen to my iPod through the car stereo!

Things I am not so psyched about:
1. Having a monthly car payment when I only drive my car on weekends (public transportation around here is great, and there's no commuter parking at the nearest Metro station, so I generally don't drive on weekdays).
2. I almost doubled my car insurance payment, since this one's obviously worth more than the other one.
3. I had to leave behind my Universidad de Salamanca sticker because it wouldn't come off in one piece. (I also had to leave my law school sticker and my undergrad alumni sticker, but those are easily replaceable, though I probably won't bother.) I really would like to replace it - I have such good memories of that time - so if any of you feel like searching the internets on my behalf, I'd appreciate it. I did a brief Google, but my Spanish is so rusty the University of Salamanca site makes almost no sense to me.

All in all, though, I think the pros outweigh the cons (key fob!). I am looking forward to the drive to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving in complete, automatic transmission-ed, iPod-ed, ease and comfort.

Oh, and a big congratulations to all my law school comrades who just found out today that they passed the New York bar exam! I never had any doubt! Now get back to earning those six-figure salaries!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Things to Be Happy About, Vol. 3

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis.
-- Margaret Bonnano

Sorry for the lateness of this post; I've been dealing with car-related issues all day. The cost of fixing my 10-year-old Saturn so that it will pass inspection is three times what the car is worth, so I am about to become the proud owner of a 2006 berry red ION. I almost drove it home tonight, after test driving it yesterday, but I didn't get financing confirmation until too late in the day to get insurance, so I have to wait until tomorrow. I am not wild about having a car payment again, especially since I drive my car approximately one day a week, but I am psyched to have POWER STEERING again, baby! Wooooo! Pictures to follow.

Anyway, on to this week's list:

1. Memphis Belle (movie)
2. the sights and sounds of an airport or train station
3. a cappella music
4. auctions
5. finding out you're going to be an aunt
6. Fantasy Football
7. cold sesame noodles
8. the time right after you put the babies to bed and go downstairs to clean up [I used to baby-sit a ton when I was a teenager; this was my favorite time because I felt so grown up]
9. rosy cheeks from walking in the cold
10. a cup of tea just before bed
11. cute boys who sing
12. being someone's secret admirer [I'm a big fan of the anonymous gesture]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekend Update

That is the best - to laugh with someone because you both think the same things are funny.
-- Gloria Vanderbilt

The "date" was a success! We went to see Lisa Lampanelli at the Warner Theater in DC last night, and I laughed my ass off! She didn't tell a single joke I can repeat in polite company; I mean, the political-correctness factor was non-existent. I spent a good deal of time thinking, "Oh my god, I can't believe she just said that! Holy crap, and I laughed at that! What is wrong with me?" But it was all in good fun, and, as Hot Wings would say, it's funny because it's true. I haven't laughed so hard since I can't remember when, and it was fantastic.

Afterwards we went to a bar for a couple drinks and just talked; there were 7 of us, 5 from work, plus a husband and a sister. It was good company, and I'm starting to feel like I might have found a place where I fit here. That's my biggest struggle whenever I start something new. It took me until the beginning of second year in law school to find it there; first year was such a struggle for me, personally. After last night, I'm hopeful that it won't take me quite as long here.

I've been a busy bee today. I love weekends; I get so much accomplished. During the week, I get home around 6:15, go to the gym for 45 minutes, come home, make and eat dinner, then watch TV or screw around online til 10 or so, then read and go to bed. I don't ever feel like I have time to do stuff, so everything that needs doing gets done on the weekends.

Today I went to the DMV to finally get my Virginia driver’s license. You’re supposed to do it within 30 days of moving, and I’ve been here three months. What can I say? And it only took an hour and a half. Then I took my car to be inspected so I can register it here, since I’m planning to stay in Virginia forever (or at least until love or wanderlust leads me elsewhere). Again, you’re supposed to do it within 30 days of moving; good thing they don’t really enforce that rule. My car failed both the emission inspection and the safety inspection. My check engine light is on, and that . . . means the computer in my car isn’t talking to something else in my car, so they can’t be sure the emission information is correct. Or something. I don’t know.

My horn died an abrupt death about two months ago, which is why my car failed the safety inspection. I noticed it wasn’t working, and Karen, who was visiting, clued me in that I’d probably blown a fuse. She also found the fuse box in my car and gave me a new fuse from the well-stocked glove compartment of her van (I should maybe learn something from this). I honked the horn, and the new fuse blew immediately. We put in a larger amp fuse, and when I honked the horn again, my poor car gave the most anemic sounding beep you’ve ever heard in your life. Like a dying goose, only one who’s trying not to disturb the other, living geese with his dying. It’s so pathetic. It does nothing to deter the jackasses around here who regularly cut people off. I have to get it fixed it so I can honk properly and stop giving people the finger instead. (I kid.)

I also put together the desk and bookshelf that I was so happy to see delivered on Tuesday, and can I just say, I LOVE THEM. SO MUCH. I've got them both exactly where I want them, and I am typing away at my new desk, and then I look over at my bookshelf, with my barware finally out of the box and on display and my artfully arranged photographs, and I could just die of contentedness. Things like this make me so happy for some reason. Would you like to see it? Of course you would. I don't believe in digital cameras, though, as you may know, so you'll have to settle for the online catalog picture. Mine are all black, and it looks so great, even if I do say so myself. They're set up just like this, right next to each other, except in reverse order.

I did a number of other things today as well that I won’t bore you with, but trust me when I say you’d be impressed with my industriousness. I’m about to make dinner, watch the Friday Night Lights I taped last night, and then I’m ordering Knocked Up from Comcast on Demand (which is my favorite invention) and preparing to laugh my ass off again. At this rate, weigh in on Tuesday should be amazing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

One is Silver, the Other's Gold

Don't make a habit of collecting little keys that lock out the things in your life that scare you. They lock you in.
-- Unknown

So, I have a date. Don't get excited: it's not with the Dentist. It's with a friend from work. Who's married. And a girl. We live in the same apartment complex and often end up on the shuttle home at the same time. We've been talking, and she's very nice. I told her about the Dentist; she thinks I should go for it. She told me about her husband, who lives in Florida, and her brother, who just shipped out to Iraq.

I've never been good at making new friends. Nearly all the people I'm really close to have known me for 5 or more years, and most of them go back farther than that. I don't know what it is, really, although more than one person has told me - once we've become the kind of friends that can say these things to each other - that when they met me, they were afraid of or intimidated by me. This used to surprise me, because I generally don't think of myself as a scary person, or someone people ought to be intimidated by. Truth be told, I'm pretty insecure about a lot of things, and it takes a good deal of puffing myself up to even get out the door most mornings.

A friend from law school, who I adore, recently asked me to be in her wedding. I accepted, of course, and I’m honored, but it truly shocked me to be asked. I didn’t get, even though she’d said so plenty of times before, that she thought of me as such a close friend. I thought of her that way, but something in me didn’t really trust that it was reciprocated (and if she’s reading this, I’m sorry about that).

But I think that's the problem - my insecurity causes me to put up a tough front because I don't trust people not to hurt me. I think it got worse after I lost my hearing, too, because so much changed for me, and people I thought were my friends stopped calling and fell out of my life as if we’d never shared anything at all. I spent the majority of my time in the two and a half years between losing my hearing and leaving for law school by myself. And it wasn’t always by choice; often it was by inertia – I didn’t try, and they didn’t either (the exceptions, and there were three, know who they are). So when I ended up in law school, surrounded by people all the time, I was out of practice and completely overwhelmed. It was just easier to be alone.

But some people made the effort: my suitemate first year, we’ll call her Hot Wings, was a pal literally from day one, always good for a beer and a laugh. Surfer Girl stopped me in the law school library bathroom during the second week of classes, we talked for 20 minutes, and we’ve been friends ever since. The Bride, I met her just before second year at Law Review orientation, and we were stuck like glue the whole year. Third year we were both so busy, and we didn’t have any classes together, so we didn't see each other as often, but it didn’t matter. Without the three of them, I probably wouldn’t have lasted the whole three years. But it took me a long time to really believe, and accept, and understand that they’re my friends. I’m working on this, and I think I’m getting better at it.

A couple of weeks ago, standing in line for the shuttle chatting, Work Friend (shut up - my fake-name-making-up skills were depleted in the previous paragraph) handed me her business card, on the back of which she'd written her cell phone number and her address here in the complex. She told me some people from work were going out that weekend, and asked if I wanted to go, but I had to go down to Richmond to get sworn in, so I couldn't make it. I thought she was just making conversation. Earlier this week at work, though, she IM'd me and said there was an extra ticket to a comedy show on Friday night, and would I like to go. I said yes. She emoticon-ed a smiley face.

I feel nervous, but hopeful. It’s a date.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Things to Be Happy About, Vol. 2

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.
-- John Barrymore

If you're wondering about the history of this feature, see the original post. Comments from me in brackets.

1. Pro baseball players who wear the traditional short pants and long socks
2. mojitos
3. Gerbera daisies
4. listening to a new album over and over
5. 4-inch peep-toe pumps
6. the Santa Fe Chicken Salad from The Cheesecake Factory [I liked this one so much, it's in the notebook twice!]
7. the top of the Empire State Building on a clear day
8. someone who doesn't have to do anything but stand there in order to be sexy
9. having your 18th birthday fall on a Friday
10. having your 30th birthday fall on a Saturday
11. inside jokes
12. the paint mixer at Home Depot
13. old farmouses
14. breakfast for dinner

In other news, T-minus 15 days til the dentist.

Also, Fed Ex rules. I ordered a desk and a bookshelf last Thursday, and they were shipped Fed Ex. They weigh 49 and 50 pounds, according to my shipping invoice. I live on the third floor. Last week, I had to go to the Fed Ex shipping depot to pick up a package that weighed a mere 5 pounds because I was never home when they came to deliver it (because, you know, I work), and they wouldn't leave it (I live in a building where you need a pass key to get in the main door), so I was expecting to have to go pick these packages up, too. I got home tonight at 7:15 to find two giant packages leaning against my door! I don't know how they got in, and I don't care; I'm just psyched I didn't have to leave them in my car and wait for the next time my brother comes to visit to help me carry them up here!

Friday, November 2, 2007


"I'll never be a rich man, but what happy man ever was?"
-- Jacob, November 1, 2001

You know, I don't worry that much about money. The truth is, I make a comfortable living; I have everything I need, and plenty of things I want (more than necessary, if you believe my mother), and enough to give a little to causes I care about. Don't get me wrong - I have plenty of bills, and I'll probably be in debt til I die for law school, but it all seems to work itself out somehow.

I didn't become a lawyer for the money, and working in the public sector, I don't make the kind of money that makes people think lawyers make a lot of money. I knew when I went to law school that "Big Law" wasn't for me - I'm not interested in 80-hour work weeks, billable hour requirements, corporate law, and wearing a suit every day. I went to school near New York City, though, so many of my classmates went the BigLaw route, and when I first heard that they were making $160,000 right out of the gate (my friends aren't bragging; big-firm salaries are public knowledge), I had a momentary pang of "Maybe I was a little hasty." But I like my job, and I like my life here, and I am grateful that I haven't yet had to work a weekend or a late night (though it's probably inevitable that I will before I leave this job).

During the past several weeks, however, Above the Law has been reporting on year-end bonuses in BigLaw, and the numbers are just staggering: $35,000 for first-year associates (pro-rated, since they didn't start until after the bar, but still); second-years are getting that much, plus "special bonuses" of $10,000 or more. It's mind-boggling, and part of me can't help but think how much easier things would be with that money.

The larger part of me, though, knows I would never really want to do the work required to earn those bonuses. And they do earn them. It's not like they're sitting in their offices, updating their fantasy football teams or shopping at Pottery Barn online (and if it is like that, don't email me; I don't want to know). The people I know in BigLaw are super-smart, they like their jobs (for the most part), and they work their asses off, and they're worth every penny those firms will pay them.

But I'm just sayin': Christmas is coming. I accept gift cards.