Monday, September 29, 2008

The first step is admitting you have a problem

I made a foray yesterday into the Consumer Mecca of America. Costco.

My dear friends T and R drove me down to Alexandria and used their membership to get me into the land of plenty. I needed a lot of cheap party food for a reception at school, and I knew one of those big members only stores was the place to get it. I was right.

It's been over three years since I was in one of those stores, and I had forgotten their appeal. Nowadays I like to be all organic-y and local and hoity toity about my food purchases. But these Costco people know what they're doing.

So as soon as I got into the store, this battle began in my head between my inner non-consumer and my inner consumer. Wait. Ha. Who am I kidding? I don't have an inner non-consumer. Scratch that. It was between my inner socially conscious buyer and my inner cheapskate.

Cheapskate: Ooh, ooh. Good deal at 9 o'clock! Robe! Me likey! Soft! Pretty blue! Get it! Get it! Yeah, yeah.

Socially Conscious Buyer: When are you going to wear a robe? It's not like you lounge around the house in a robe. You do not need a robe. And if you did need a robe, you could buy one from a store that makes robes from hemp or bamboo.

Cheapskate: Ahahahaha!!! Hemp! Bamboo! Soft robe here! $14.99! Mmmm....feeeel...softttt.

Socially Conscious Buyer: Ugh. Okay, get the robe. But that's it. Do you understand me? That's. It.

Cheapskate: Right. That's - Ah!!! Fruit snacks! Yummy in my tummy! 80! For $10?!!! Pinch me! Pinch me! Fruity goodness!

Socially Conscious Buyer: Did you listen to me at all? I said no more. When are you going to eat 80 packages of fruit snacks?

Cheapskate: Yummy yummy yummy yummy...mmmm.....Fruit snacks fruit snacks fruit snacks wooh!

Socially Conscious Buyer: Dear God. Okay. At least you won't have to buy them from the vending machine at school anymore. You thought I didn't know you were doing that, huh? I knew. Nothing else goes in this cart that's not for the party - do you understand me?

Cheapskate: I under - SOCKS!! Oooooh, lots of socks! Pretty socks! Colors! Lookie lookie! Need socks! SIX PAIR!!! SIX! Sooooooo cheeeeaaaap! And PRETTY!!!

Socially Conscious Buyer: So....tired....getting....sleepy..........

Needless to say, I left with a robe, 6 pair of socks, a pair of slippers, 80 packages of fruit snacks, 48 packages of granola bars, 4 lbs of grapes (yes, 4 lbs), 4 wheels of that cheese that's packaged in little triangles, and a giant package of coffee. And I had a mammoth frozen yogurt - mainly because it only cost $1.80. I did manage to pass on the package of 12 toothbrushes. No matter how I tried to figure it, there was no way I could need 12 toothbrushes.

If T is reading this, she may be thinking that it didn't look like I was having this battle. It just looked more like I was running around Costco throwing things into my basket with wild-eyed glee. It's a common misperception. The wild-eyed look is actually the outward expression of the end of the argument. It goes something like this - "Damnet! I'm an American! Give me MORE!!!!"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sometimes it's the small things. And sometimes it's the big ones.

Last night I laid in the Babe's arms while we drifted to sleep in bed at her apartment. It was that drifting where you've been having a conversation and slowly the comments come further and further apart. One of us mumbled - I can't remember which - "I guess we should turn out the light." The Babe leaned over to turn off the light. We situated ourselves into our respective sleep positions and whispered our nighttime I love you's. And then I slept.

Such a simple thing. And yet, as I've been reading and watching and learning about these prostitutes, I'm thinking more and more about people who have never had and may never have this experience that, to me, seems so simple.

To fall asleep in warmth and safety with someone that you love.

And even on the nights that I sleep alone - I've got warm covers, a comfortable bed, a roof, a door that locks, and the biggest thing - the knowledge that there are dozens of people out there who love me and would help me if I needed it.

I spend a lot of time whining about being in law school, about not having enough money, about not knowing what I want to do with my life. I think I don't spend enough time being really appreciative for the many, many blessings that I have had - the things that I take completely for granted on a regular basis.

I'm sending a thank you out to the universe.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

1/1,000th of the thoughts I have on this

I'm doing a project on prostitution for my feminist legal theory class, and it's got me pretty down. I'm reading law review article after law review article and then blogs and news stories, and they're all trying to say what the problem is or isn't and how to fix it. There's little agreement, though, except that the current situation is bad. The dilemma that I keep having as I read through all of the solutions is that the situation has ALWAYS been bad.

There seems to be this idea on the part of the radical feminists that there is some way to move towards a gender equality where men will no longer want to pay for sex. And all I can think in response to that is HA! Haahaha! And I'm not smiling. Prostitution has always been there, or at least since anyone had to pay for it. I guess beforehand, they just took it (not that they don't do that now as well).

And don't get me wrong - I know that a sex transaction does not only happen with the male as purchaser and the female as provider. I know that there is male/male prostitution (although that's most often teenage boys as the provider). I know that there is prostitution with the man or boy as provider and the woman as purchaser. But those are much rarer. When we're talking about prostitution, I don't have an exact number, but I'm going to guess that we're talking 90% male purchaser/female provider situations. At least.

Reading the liberal feminists, I have a hard time viewing it as a choice. I can see that it might be for some - a choice to not live in poverty, a choice to get out of an abusive home. I've read about some who have nice, comfortable lives and choose to start a sex work business on the side to make extra money or engage in fantasies they have had. While I can't say that I understand these choices, I accept that they exist. But I can't separate these women out from the broader picture, which is that I'm reading stories about 13-year old girls who are being invited into cars so that 40-year old men can have sex with them. I'm reading about women who have been working as prostitutes for years to support a drug habit. I'm reading about women who have been stabbed by the men who purchase their services, men who are never caught. I'm reading about women who kill themselves because they cannot live with the life that they lead. I'm reading about women who live in fear of upsetting their pimps lest they be beaten or raped.

Does legitimazing prostitution - organizing unions and working towards legalization - does that help the woman with the sex business on the side or the woman who just got stabbed by her john?

I'm torn between this feeling that legitimization might help the women in the short term - help them to feel safe reporting crimes against them to the police, help them to get medical care. But I agree with the view that if you legalize it, you are telling the men who profit from this system that it's okay. I know, you're telling the women who profit from it that it's okay too. I just don't know the answer here. It seems like the people who are arguing for legitimization are often the women who have the better deal already.

And I guess I just keep coming back to these young girls. These young abused girls who are victimized and, if caught, often serve more time than either the pimps who profited from them or the johns who bought them.

There's a movie about an organization that works with young prostitutes in New York. It's not out on dvd yet, so I've only seen this trailer. I don't know how the women at this organization do it day after day - knowing that you may have helped this one girl but that the day she came in, 3 more girls probably just turned their first trick.


video

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Other people's blogs are great

My blog this time around seems to be a lot more about other people's blogs than it ever was before, which is good when I'm not feeling very inspired. Other people are super inspired! And inspiring! One of those inspiring folks that I love to read is jen over at one plus two, and she's got a great post up about registering homeless people to vote. I'll just give you a taste.

When you are inside the voting booth no one knows if you have a home or not. It's that one moment in time where everyone is equal and everyone gets to have their say and that's what I like best about this, encouraging folks to seize that no matter their circumstances because this is their right, their freedom, and while poverty takes away almost everything that matters it doesn't get to take away that.

Blah

When I woke up this morning and thought, “I really don’t want to ride my bike today,” I should’ve taken it as a hint and hopped on the metro. But no, I rode my bike. My cool stretchy net thing malfunctioned twice, and twice I had to pull over on the sidewalk, get off my bike and readjust everything. I suppose I could’ve just worn my bookbag, but it was kind of heavy today, and I thought that I had the net thing fixed the first time. Ugh. Anyway, so it took me a long time to get to work, and I’m just super annoyed now.

I just read that paragraph, and I’m thinking – that is not a blog post. That’s a random whiney paragraph. But it does seem to be where I am right now. Blogging is a bit of a struggle. Some people seem to be able to blog through their stressful times, maybe even use it as an outlet. Maybe sometimes I’m even like that, but not today. And not yesterday. Maybe tomorrow? Right now it just doesn’t seem like my brain has room or energy to come up with anything to say. I hope you, my 7-8 readers, will accept my apologies for the moment.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Speedy Speedy

I made it to the internship today in under 30 minutes on the ol' bike, and I didn't get off to walk up any hills. I may not be able to move my legs to ride to school when the time comes, but I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Race and Privilege and Violence

There has been a really interesting series of posts over at The New Gay in response to the violence that has occurred recently in DC against several gay men. In Self Defense, Ben writes about considering whether or not arming oneself in an appropriate response to the fear of hate crimes.

I’ve read the many “buy a gun” comments seen on this blog, and I can only imagine how many people are contemplating their safety and reshaping their perspectives because of these beatings. I don’t have the answers. I don’t feel comfortable telling you that buying a gun is dumb because you can’t reasonably carry it around with you, you’re more likely to get caught with it than with other alternatives, you likely won’t be able to access it in time to defend yourself, you run a great risk of harming yourself accidentally or losing this weapon to your attacker, and because Hollywood tells you its easy to use one on another human being but not nearly so easy in the real world when you’re scared and possibly drunk.

While Ben clearly has some concerns about choosing to brandish a weapon, he is also worried about being vulnerable and open to attack on the street. He continues:

I’m also not comfortable telling you that if you choose to defend yourself, a knife is your best option for concealment, quick-strike capability, and efficient disposal of a threat in close quarters. I’m not comfortable telling you that you need a weapon with a good gripping surface, and that you should pay particular attention to how well it fits your hand so that your fingers don’t slide onto the blade during a stab or thrust, or whether the knife has a finger groove for the index finger that will provide no-slip support for either your index finger during a thrusting motion, or your pinky during a stabbing motion, both of which respectively take the majority of the force of the stab during these motions. I don’t feel comfortable telling you that a good blade design will be one that is decently thick, with the tip being wide enough or strong enough to resist breaking if you were to, say, accidentally punch it into a hard surface such as a brick wall or asphalt, or that the tip of the blade should also be able to easily pierce any part of the human anatomy and be long enough to reach vital organs (3.5-4 inches), nor am I comfortable telling you that your knife should have a strong locking mechanism, because without one you run the risk of severe personal injury to yourself should the mechanism fail or collapse. Finally, It troubles me to tell you that a fight involving a knife is most always ugly, quick, and messy, and that you should be mentally resolved to strike efficiently and that you should learn beforehand how to use your weapon tactically if you are attacked.

I understand Ben's fear (although I suppose that's open to question since these attacks have been against men, and I am a woman). However, I cannot see myself choosing to carry a weapon, in part because I can't see myself safely using one. And I know that it is in part because I maintain a sense of safety even though I have read these stories. I do feel safe most of the time in my neighborhood.

There are tons of comments on his post, many addressing the delicate balance that exists in gentrified/gentrifying communities between those who have been there and those who are moving in, often a balance between black and white. Largely in response to these, Meaghan wrote Being Gay in DC: Defending the Offense. Her post addresses really important issue about what it means to be the folks moving into these neighborhoods.

To be general, indigenous Black populations in all of the neighborhoods listed above (and many more that I haven't listed) are being pushed out on the wave of gentrification that DC continues to experience. Imagine living in a city you can no longer afford and being pushed out by people who, for most intents and purposes, are white. Imagine a gay bar being built within the four walls of your childhood caregiver's home, or your mother's hairdresser, the corner store, or even your church. Imagine your most vibrant and foundational memories being pushed aside for money. Then imagine living in a city where random acts of violence occur regularly and trying to discern whether someone is out of their mind on drugs or just simply pissed off.

And a bit later,

To shave off the inherent complexities of racism and privilege and call these hate crimes is to not acknowledge the hate crime that is gentrification. Gay white people of DC, you are still white. There is an obligation bestowed upon us and privileges extended to us by virtue of being white. Effectively negating the existence of your own racist fears and the reality of our harsh economic climate, and how it affects our neighbors, is ignorant.

All I ask is that we examine our white privilege before we brandish weapons in honor of our sexuality. I find too often that the bliss of ignorance prevents us from extending an ounce of empathy or compassion to the people we are consistently disempowering. Our obligation as gay people is to raise injustice from the maddening hush and call attention to it. And our obligation as white people is to do the same. We are responsible for acknowledging our role in this city's gentrification and we are responsible for aligning ourselves with justice and not revenge.

One of the comments on her posts acknowledges the truth in much of what she says but states that violent criminals should still be punished and that there is no excuse for the violence that has occurred. I do not want in any way to trivialize the harm that has occurred to the communities that have been displaced by gentrification. Those people have a right to be angry. I know that the situation is really too complex to point fingers or to lay down clear lines of right and wrong, but I can't say that it warrants physical attacks against the people who now inhabit the places that they used to call home. And I don't know that we can even say for sure that that is the impetus for these recent attacks. I'm not sure what the answer is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Results!

So, I've got a pretty liberal audience (if you can call 8 readers an audience). 6 of you voted Obama/Biden all the way, and two of you said you'd be writing in Jon Stewart. He'll be so pleased.

Guess I should be concerned I'm not doing enough to attract a diverse crowd. And yet, somehow I'm not. Hmm...

New poll soon! Oh, the excitement!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Taking action

Over at the new gay, there's a post about hate crimes and the Adams Morgan attack that I previously wrote about. If you're in the DC area, head on over to their cite, and you can become a member of a google group that is doing work to stop hate crimes against the GLBT population in the DC area.

Law school. Sad place.

I was talking with someone today who said, "Every scenario I can think of with me as a lawyer ends in me taking my own life."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Biker Chick

I rode my bike to my internship for the first time today – a little over 3 miles. Then I rode to school – about 2.5 miles. Then I rode to a meeting with an adjunct professor – about 2 miles. Then I rode back to school – about 2 miles. Then I rode home – about 1.5 miles. Over 10 miles on the bike today. So I’ve spent a significant amount of time today with one pant leg rolled up and a helmet on. Hot.

There are a few really good things about the bike riding today:
1. I’m alive.
2. I did not give anyone the finger. (Really only because I would’ve fallen off my bike if I had tried, but that’s beside the point.)
3. I bought this snazzy bungee net thing that holds my backpack on the back of my bike, so my shoulders don’t hurt.
4. I saved $4.60 in metro fares.
5. I didn’t have to ride the metro.
6. I’ve done it. First time is over.
7. The helmet hanging off my backpack gives me street cred. Or makes me look like a geek. I’m not sure.
8. I discovered that riding without the funny bike shorts is actually more comfortable than riding with them. Interesting.
9. I don’t really stink that much. Quality deodorant, and maybe the whole backpack thing.
10. My new helmet doesn’t leave a dent in my forehead.
11. After a reception this evening, I rode home in a wrap dress. That’s just awesome.

There are also a few not-so-great things:
1. Rude people honked at me and yelled at me out their car window. (See good thing #2)
2. Putting the lock on and taking it off gets sort of old and irritating.
3. I had black grime on my hands every time I got off my bike. I think it’s from the lock.
4. I worried about my bike when it was locked up and was scared that it wouldn’t be there when I got back, or that some part of it wouldn’t be there.
5. I was hungry all day.
6. Butt sweat.
7. Getting my bike up the stairs to my apartment at the end of the day is a PAIN IN THE ASS. I have a bruise on my foot and a scrape on my leg. Boo.

So, the good outweighs the bad. Guess I’ll do it again. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Green space

Apparently plants have a positive effect on a person's mood and well-being. That obviously begs the question - why does the administration not hand out hundreds of tiny seedlings at law school orientation? Goodness knows we need something. Anyway, for various reasons, I have been plant-less for quite a while. But all that has changed! Prepare for giant doses of sanity and well-being and excessively happy blog posts!

Ok, probably not, but I like looking at them. :) I now have a jade plant, a tiny basil plant, and a tree. That's right. A TREE! In my living room! It's a guinea chestnut, sometimes called a money tree. (Let's hope)

Behold:

Sad, sad, sad

Of course I have to put in my two cents about Sarah Palin's interview. I have soooo much to say, but not enough time to say it and I've read a lot of other folks who have covered a lot of other bases, so I'm going to limit it to this. Charlie, I can't believe you let her get away with saying just this about homosexuality.

GIBSON: Homosexuality, genetic or learned?

PALIN: Oh, I don’t — I don’t know, but I’m not one to judge and, you know, I’m from a family and from a community with many, many members of many diverse backgrounds and I’m not going to judge someone on whether they believe that homosexuality is a choice or genetic. I’m not going to judge them.


Seriously? That tells me NOTHING. That's the crappiest answer I've ever heard. Who the hell cares whether she thinks it's genetic or learned? We're talking about policy-making here. Marriage or no marriage or rights or no rights or employment discrimination laws or none. And I've got that to say for a lot of the other questions too.

Fear and Anger -- from both sides it seems

I read part of this article over the shoulder of someone on the metro a couple of days ago. Like Metrokin (one of the victims of an attack against 4 gay men), I accepted my neighborhood as a safe place in which to hold hands with my girlfriend and even stop to kiss her on the street if I feel like it. I don't know if this article says to me that there simply is no safe place to do that, or if it's just not here. Or if horrible crimes just happen, and sometimes they happen to gay people. I want to distinguish myself from his story - to say that it's different because he's a gay man and I'm a lesbian, or because he was out at 4:00 in the morning and I rarely am. But I think that's just my desire to feel safe, and the differences don't really tell me anything in the end. And the truth is, I know guys who are walking home from the bar at 4:00 in the morning, and I want them to be safe too.

I'm angry with these attackers that I don't know, and I'm angry with everyone in the world who helps to create an environment where it's okay to hate gay people. I'm angry with them because I do not want to feel scared. I feel scared enough from worries that don't involve whether I'm gay or not - the fear of being a woman living alone in a big city. And now I feel like I have to be scared of being a gay woman in this ultra-gay neighborhood.

I'm probably not going to change my behavior in any real way because it's part of who I am, and that's part of the reason I chose to live where I do. But today standing on the street talking with my girlfriend, I held back from kissing her and felt myself tense up because a guy was looking at us as he passed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Will we be any better?

Fannie over at Fannie's Room has a great post about Newt Gingrich's support of Proposition 8 in California. Proposition 8 is a response to the California Supreme Court's ruling that gay and lesbian couples in California may not be denied the right to marry. Fannie makes excellent points about the hypocrisy of the crusade to "defend marriage."

But don't get your knickers in a bunch, dear readers. I'm sure Gingrich's next move will be to "defend and protect marriage" by supporting amendments to make it illegal for adulterers to re-marry, to ban divorce, and/or to impose criminal penalties on adulterers. Marriage, you see, definitely needs protection against such immoral, depraved, and confused persons. And, since there are way more potential heterosexual adulterers than there are gay people, surely a proposed constitutional amendment affecting heterosexuals, rather than a vilified minority group, is imminent, right?

The one concern that I have about our side in this debate is statements that suggest that same-sex marriages are somehow more stable or lasting than heterosexual marriages. Fannie says:

Essentially, Newt is saying that marriage is good enough for him- a man who committed adultery numerous times- but not good enough for the millions of gay and lesbian couples who are undoubtedly more capable of commitment than he is.

Suggesting that if same-sex couples would take better care of their marriages than different-sex couples seems both unnecessary and probably untrue. Same-sex couples don't need to be "better" at marriage than hetero couples in order to have a right to it. They're two consenting adults who should have the same rights and responsibilities as other consenting adults - that includes the right to choose to enter a union as well as the right to choose to end one. The truth is that some couples last and some couples don't - both gay and straight.

I certainly hope that same-sex married couples will treat their relationships with a great deal of care and respect, but I hope the same thing for different-sex couples as well. Unfortunately, I will be surprised if, in the long run, same-sex couples end up having a much better track record than their precursors.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thank you, Sarah Palin


Just bought my first-ever campaign t-shirt!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's hope Popeyes is covered

The theme of today is we live in a crazy world.

Chicken recipes are guarded as if they were national security concerns. Here's what stands between you and the KFC chicken recipe:

The recipe has been stashed at the company headquarters for decades, and for more than 20 years has been tucked away in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks. To reach the cabinet, the keepers of the recipe would first open up a vault and unlock three locks on a door that stood in front of the cabinet.

So important is the 68-year-old concoction that coats the chain's Original Recipe chicken that only two company executives at any time have access to it. The company refuses to release their names or titles, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents.

And when transferring it to a new location:

The recipe that launched the chicken chain was placed in a lock box that was handcuffed to security expert Bo Dietl, who climbed aboard an armored car that whisked away with an escort from off-duty police officers.

Clearly, the moral of the story is that you should really, really enjoy your chicken next time you visit KFC.

Password from now on: Fu*#Yo2!

I just renewed my health insurance for the year, and in order to receive the confirmation message that they sent me, I had to create a password for their special mail system. The world of passwords nowadays is simply crazy. Here are the requirements for my password:

1. at least one lowercase letter
2. at least one uppercase letter
3. at least one number
4. at least one punctuation symbol
5. at least 8 characters

And then they have the nerve to say that you should come up with a password that will be easy to remember and that you won't have to write down. Seriously? I need a personal assistant just to remember passwords. I try to keep things as simple as possible and use a lot of the same ones, but with all of these wonky requirements, it's really difficult. And then I won't go on that site again for 4 months or something and when I do, I will have absolutely no idea what my password is. The same thing happens when I call my bank, which I do about twice a year. And then they ask me my phone password, and I'm trying to sound like I know what it is so that they'll talk to me about my account, but inside, I'm thinking, "Phone password? Huh? Um...would that be the same as my online password? Is that what I would've thought 4 years ago when I set this password?" I realize it's all for protection, and it's probably a good thing. But man, is it a pain in the ass.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Swag!

Clearly I was visiting the wrong tables at Lavender Law. Granted, I'll never have to buy another highlighter, pen, or sticky-note pad. But what good are office supplies when you have dry skin and gross hair?

Monday, September 8, 2008

No, YOU'RE a poopyhead!

I am so, so tired of the trash talk in the campaigns right now. I know it's nothing new - this is just the political world. But it bugs the crap out of me. I want to listen to the candidates and their people and know what they stand for, but I don't want to listen to the crap that they have to dish out about each other. I already know all that. I had to turn off the news show this morning when McCain's campaign manager came on because it just started to make me sick. And I'm not suggesting that Obama's campaign manager would sound any different. I know this post is sort of ridiculous because nothing's going to change, but I felt the need to spout my own negativity, I guess. Here's my message: All of you have money! None of you are in touch with the working class! All of you are mixed up with Washington lobbyists! All of you have benefitted from earmarks! Now move on and talk about the issues!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I demand to be heard!!

I visited Muir Woods in California today - obviously a stunningly beautiful place. But the most interesting part of the visit was a sign designating a particular area as a place to exercise first amendment rights, which is nice I suppose. Good to get a reminder of that delightful little amendment. But it begs the question - don't we get to exercise our first amendment rights on all public property? Or is Muir Woods not public property? Also, has the been some sort of issue where people really needed to exercise their first amendment rights outside of Muir Woods? It's not a really traversed area. I'm trying to remember property law and those cases about malls and first amendment rights, but it's late, and I'm in a different time zone. So I'm just going to leave the questions out there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where are you Pema Chodron?

A little background to this story:

One of the requirements for being on a journal at Law School is taking a class on scholarly writing. It only meets a few times over the course of the year, but on those occasions, it meets at 7:45 am. That’s right – A.M. Today was one of those mornings. It sucks no matter what. However, in addition to having this class, I had to go to work at my internship and then to a fall recruiting interview and then take a cab to the airport to fly to San Francisco for a conference. So I left my apartment this morning at 7:15 in a suit and “comfortable” shoes, carrying my purse and a laptop bag and pulling my suitcase behind me. At 7:20 the back of my right heel started to hurt. By the time I got to school, I had blisters on both feet and was oh so cranky. Then we had class. Ok fine. So I leave school at 8:45 and head to the metro. Here begins our story, and by “story” I mean, the thoughts in (I)S Gal’s head.

“Thank God these shoes are flexible enough for me to fold down the heels and still walk in them. Why do I always forget this about these shoes? I should’ve worn socks. Ugh. Hey, don’t honk at me! I’m rolling a suitcase, you jerk! And my feet hurt. What the hell do you want from me? I’m walking as fast as I can. I hate all of you people!”

In the metro station:

“See station manager?? Oh, no money on my SmartTrip card. Ok. Seriously? The SmartTrip system is down? Ok. Buying a farecard. Not a big deal.”

On the train:

“What a stupid day. What a stupid stupid day. I am so tired of dressing up. Does this shirt stink already? I guess it won’t matter if I have a jacket on. Wait a second. I don’t remember the train going outside on my way to work. Wait a…am I on the blue line? Oh holy shit I’m on the blue line. Good grief (I)S Gal, what is wrong with you? Ugh. Ok. I’ll just get off at the next stop and turn around and get on the orange line.”

At the next stop:

“Oh sweet! I’m just in time for the train going the other way. Go go go! Move people. Cranky gal with a suitcase coming through. Thank goodness something is going right today.”

On the train:

“Ok. Breath. Relax. I’m going to get off the train in a second and walk to work and just focus on that and then…wait a second. We’re outside. Oh my god. Am I on the blue line train AGAIN??? Holy lord girl – what is your problem?! Unbelievable. Truly. It is not enough that I am carrying around 50 pounds of crap with this blasted suitcase and a laptop case and a purse and a suit jacket, but I am now… Where’s my suit jacket? WHERE IS MY SUIT JACKET???? Oh you are kidding me. You are seriously kidding me. I love this suit! I have an interview! I’m flying out to a conference where I have to wear this suit!! AAAAAAH!!!!! I think I’m going to have a heart attack. Ok. I’m going to get off the train again and turn around again and go to work and put down my stuff and what? Call Metro I guess. What do you do when you leave something on a train? Never see it again probably. Ugh. What a stupid, stupid day.”

Riding up the escalator at the station:

“Stupid, stupid, stupid. What is that? What is that? That – right there. Lying on the ground. It looks like a…could it be? I can’t tell - why am I pulling this stupid suitcase?? Oh please… It is! IT’S MY JACKET!!!! Oh glory hallelujah. Hi stranger! Hi there! Yes, I am smiling like a lunatic! HI! This is my jacket! Lying on the ground! I’ve completely lost my mind!”

So, I finally arrived at work. I am now in possession of my jacket, have tough-strip bandaids on both of my heels, and have purchased the People magazine with Ellen and Portia’s wedding in it to make myself feel better. It just might work. That is, if I can make it to my interview and to the airport without…I’m not even going to say it. Fingers crossed.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Real Education

In honor of labor day, I thought I'd take a little walk down memory lane to look at some of my old jobs and what they've taught me. And here they are.

  • Clothing store cashier - Getting a discount at the place you work is really dangerous
  • Psychiatrist's receptionist - Being conscientious is a really good plan, especially when you have no skills.
  • Chain restaurant server - Politeness is a virtue. Separately, and shockingly, men really will grab the ass of a waitress.
  • Personal assistant - Organizing an unorganized person's life/work is a job for people with incredible patience and stamina. I am not one of those people.
  • Bagel cafe server - Who you work with makes all the difference. Also, some people think that there is butter-flavored cream cheese.
  • Chain restaurant server, again - Restaurants are like high school. Everyone is dating or has dated everyone else. And by dated, I mean slept with. And they look on the random summer folks with suspicion.
  • Horse feeder - Hay is prickly and hurts your hands. Horses don't like it when you oversleep and don't go to the barn to feed them.
  • Dog walker - I cry when a dog bites me.
  • Organic pet food store cashier - I really enjoy organizing chew toys into aesthetically-pleasing displays.
  • Gym front desk attendant - Smiling at people when you're tired and cranky at 5:00 in the morning actually DOES make you feel better. In addition, there are people who are waiting outside of gyms before 5:00 am because they care that much about working out. I'm not passing judgment - just putting it out there.
  • Teaching assistant - Acting like a loon in front of college freshman is incredibly fun.
  • Art class model - Being still and holding a pose for hours (even 1 hour) is really, really challenging and can seem meditative or torturous - sometimes in the span of 5 minutes.
  • Telemarketer - Sometimes the best thing you can do for a job is to quit. Immediately.
  • Outdoor gear store attendant - Sales are not my thing, but I am really good at making sure that all of the hangers on a rack are exactly one inch away from each other. Quality skill.
  • Chain restaurant server, for the last time - Some people will just never be good at waiting tables. It's good to accept your weaknesses.
  • Personal fitness trainer - Working in a gym makes people think that they can say whatever they want about your body (i.e. "Have you lost weight? About 5 more pounds, and you'll look good."). Most of the time people just want to work with someone they like.
  • Personal assistant to a restauranteur - Sometimes work autonomy is a bad thing. In addition, see telemarketing. (Personal record - quit after 7 days)
  • Gym administrator - The person on the other end of the line when someone calls to complain about a bill usually has no idea what happened and has no control over it. Also, what seems like how a billing system would work is almost always not how it works. See telemarketing.
  • Legal assistant - You never know when or how really important people will come into your life, and good work friends are invaluable, especially when they're your boss.
  • Pottery painting store attendant - Children with shoes that turn into roller skates should not be allowed into stores with lots of ceramics - even if it's a store for children. Also, 3 years old is really too young to enjoy a pottery painting birthday party.
  • Standardized test teacher - Teaching someone else's curriculum is boring and kind of annoying, but it's near impossible to worry about anything else in your life while you're standing in front of a classroom.

That's a lot of jobs. I forgot about some of those - maybe on purpose. And I've had two internships since I started law school. I hope all that learning does me some good!

Happy Labor Day!


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