Monday, January 26, 2009

Sometimes I forget where I live

Sometimes I forget where I live. Not my house per se (I can give the cabbie damn good directions assuming he speaks slur), but the mentality of people around me. I came to the realization shortly after finishing the bar exam and re-entering "real life" that law school had lulled me into a false sense of security. In law school I was surrounded by intelligent people (granted I thought some of them were complete idiots, but intelligent nonetheless) and re-entering reality was somewhat of a shock.

Anyway, about forgetting where I live. I was on a flight from Texas to New York. Being the experienced traveler that I am, I have now purchased the oversized purse that can carry my cellphone, blackberry (yes, I have both, don't ask), wallet, keys, Garmin, checkbook, gum, cigarettes, notepad, lighter, pens, highlighters, sticky notes, lipstick, chapstick, feminine hygiene products, Ipod, a book and possibly one of the planes lost over the Bermuda Triangle.

On this particular flight, the book in my enormous handbag happened to be Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. I am minding my own business, reading my damn book, and in general thankful to be away from phones and e-mail for 2 whole hours. I am not bothering a soul! Guess what happens? About thirty minutes into the flight a middle-aged man in a dark suit sits down in my row. Keep in mind this is an unforgivable transgression already as I have an entire three seats to myself and am stretched out to enjoy my book and in general ignore everyone but the flight attendant who will bring me Diet Coke and coffee. (One of each please and leave the can of soda?).

Where does he get off making me move my feet? There are plenty of other seats and NO before you ask, I don't want to join the Mile High Club (that's another story).

So anyway, Seat Stealer (SS) comes into my row and makes to sit down but inconveniently my feet are there and as I am ignoring anyone without caffeinated beverages to offer so it takes awhile for his awkward presence to sink in. Eventually (and with a loud and drawn out sigh) I move my legs so I am only occupying two of the three seats. He sits. I ignore him to go back to my reading. He sits and is staring at the book. Or me? I don't know, he is staring and it is starting to interrupt my reading/ignoring routine. And he isn't offering a soda as far as I can tell. There is no dark roast aroma emanating from him so I don't think he has Folgers somewhere.

I think to myself, "Self, continue to ignore this person. This can come to no good." Do I listen to myself? NO! Of course not.

ME: Can I help you with something?

SS: I couldn't help but notice the book you are reading.

ME: Oh. (what a witty response, I know. Apparently I wasn't awake yet or I might have had an inkling of where this was headed)

SS: I was just wondering if there was anyway I could help.

ME: uh, excuse me? (blame it on the lack of caffeine)

SS: Obviously you are in need of some spiritual help. I have several tracts with me that I believe would help someone young and impressionable like yourself. I am always sad when I see a young person heading down the wrong path. (pulls out cartoon Jesus tracts and tries to hand them to me)

ME: Really, no thanks.

SS: Reading that sort of blasphemy will . . .

ME: Sir, I understand that you have your opinion. I have mine. Unlike you, I am keeping mine to myself and reading a book on a flight to meetings where I will negotiate deals for sums of money you can't possibly begin to fathom. Now, since you sat down here and decided to try force your opinion on me, let me give you mine. If you think that you can help me after I am done then I'll take your material. Either way I want you to leave b/c my calves are cramping. I do not believe in the Bible. The Bible was written by a bunch of sexist men with political agendas. Politicians decided what chapters to include. There are so many internal inconsistencies in the Bible that if someone offered it into evidence with me in court I would have the document ripped to shreds and have the jury believe that I was J.C. walking by the time I was done. I am a highly-educated, divorced, independent, self-sufficient woman. I have no respect for so-called Christians who believe that their way of life is the only "right" way of life and walk around forcing it on everyone else. I believe this country was founded on the ideal of a secular government to prevent people of one religion foisting it on others. I believe I have the right to free speech which allows me to read this book in public which I am sure you find absolutely ghastly. I also believe in the equality of women and minorities and people of all faiths. I also know that you believe you are doing your Christian duty, and because I am such a young, impressionable, helpless woman, (sarcasm much?) your Southern upbringing won't allow you to watch me read such things as, horror of horrors, a book with a different opinion. Now, my opinion can best be stated as respectful non-believer. I respect your right to believe and worship as you wish. Perhaps you could afford me the same respect?

SS: I'll pray for you. (tries to hand me the literature)

ME: I'll read yours if you read mine (hold the book out)

SS: You are trying to tempt me.

ME: Give me a break, buddy. If I was trying to tempt you, I would be wearing a black corset, fishnets, a garter belt and putting a collar on you.

SS: turns red in the face

ME: Now, will you kindly get the hell out of my row so I can stretch back out?

Ah, here comes the flight attendant. Maybe she'll leave a coffee pot instead of the Diet Coke can?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Disaffected Youth

So one of my all-time favorite quotes comes from a Nick Hornby book. And of course I will misquote it now because I don't have the book in front of me. (It also is in the film by the same name, High Fidelity and by the way, I am in love with John Cusack). The quote is something along the lines of . . . I felt like a poser, one of those people who shaved their heads and then claimed they'd always been punk. That quote spoke very deeply to me in my younger years, that awkward time when everyone feels that they don't fit in and never will.
What i DIDN'T expect was to feel that way again. I sometimes walk into my office with my bold doorplate in my suits, with my ever-present Blackberry and coffee cup, balancing files and briefcase and think to myself, "Somewhere someone seriously screwed up. I can't believe that someone believes that I know what I am doing. I can't believe that I have the authority to authorize drafts for obscene amounts of money. Any day now they're going to figure this out and I will be out on my ass."
Is this a common feeling? Who knows? As I taught my assistant about a week after I started, sometimes we just have to put our big girl panties on and deal with shit, don't we?
So here's to big girl panties and dealing with shit.


I am not expecting anyone to actually read this. If you do, I must wonder what sort of mental deficiency you may be suffering from, or what type of tremendously boring job you work at.
I will warn you now my thought process is best described as spastic. Think the ball in Pong on crack meets strange acid trip. I sometimes struggle to keep up with my own thought process and I am in my own head. Okay consider yourself warned.

Now, a little about me. I am an underpaid (possibly underemployed) attorney working for a large multi-national corporation. For this dubious honor, I uprooted my entire life, moved halfway across the country, and left all my friends. *yeah me*

I guess all I can say is sit back, strap in, and enjoy the ride.