I ran into a cranky old bitch at Whole Foods today. Normally I avoid Whole Foods on Saturday mornings because it's almost too much white yuppiness to handle. White yuppiness means people who get the really big carts and then start ramming them into each other in some sort of entitlement bumper car game. But I was desperate for some groceries.
Anyway, this old woman, who had one of the produce plastic bag stands right in front of her decided she needed the stand in front of me as I was selecting peaches. So she says "excuse me" really rudely and tries to tear out a bag unsuccessfully. And then acts as if somehow my standing doing my thang is totally killing her. So, I do the nice thing and tear the bag out for her, at which she snatches it from my hand and says "thank you" really sarcastically. At that point the Whole Foods produce guy and I looked at each other and started laughing. "Oh menopause, it makes us all into bitches," I say loudly. I really hope she heard me.
I'm so mature.
BTW - I really hope I never get old in case young people blame my misanthropist tendencies on my hormones. My misanthropy comes strictly from people sucking in general. That's really all.
On the same note, I have decided to stop saying "Sorry" whenever people almost run over me (like with aforementioned oversized grocery carts), or when they can't walk on the right side of the sidewalk, or veer into my path whilst chatting aimlessly on their Motorola razor phones.
The first reason to nix the gratuitous apology is that I don't really mean it. I think I picked this up when I lived in Ireland where people apologize to each other, the air, their Harp, etc. for no apparent reason. I used to think it was super dimunitive until I realized they didn't mean a word of it. Irish "sorry" means "you are in my way so move yo' ass" and that pretty much sums it up for me as well.
The second is that I have little to apologize for anyway. I have spent 29 years perfecting navigational skills that have assured maximum efficiency and politeness. I cede to handicapped people and old ladies (well, as long as they're not of the Whole Foods bitch variety). I stay alert in almost a marine-like manner to my surroundings, who is in them, and the ever-perilous condition of the New Orleans sidewalks. If people can't return the favor, well, my reaction should be more of the "silently annoyed but appearing zen" type than the flustered "I will now apologize for your lameness in learning how to walk."
"One of these is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong ..."
From my bar trip dossier:
"Marvel at the ancient temples of Angkor, face the horrific reality of the Killing Fields, relax on white sandy beaches, brave Saigon and Hanoi's chaotic streets, soak up the relaxed pace of life in Hoi An and Hue, and discover an incredible corner of Indochina that you will never forget."
Wow, genocide and white sandy beaches. Who can resist?
I really dislike doctors, especially when they prescribe medication that makes you sicker than the problem you had in the first place. And they say stupid stuff to me like "well, if you had cancer the radiation would make you sick, but it'd keep you alive."
This is where they've got it all wrong. If I had cancer, I would buy a house in the middle of the woods and try to finish the Top 1001 books of all time list. And then, when it got really bad, I would hire someone to shoot me. I'm sure there are plenty of takers for that one.
But somehow doctors don't appreciate this anecdote.
I have no time to do as much grocery shopping (my favorite "task" - I can spend hours looking at food, and the Whole Foods employees on the supplement aisle all know my name). But it's kind of good for me because I've been able to clean out my cupboard of random foods I bought for recipes I never got around to making.
Some of my decadent creations include: Mole sauce poured over chicken, tapioca made with whatever dairy product I can find in my fridge, wheat berries with olive oil, garlic, and pepper and my new favorite - lingenberries + graham cracker crumbs.
Still, the cabinets are emptying rapidly and it just might be that time.
As for the house hunt, I'm backing off. Right now I feel more like traveling the world instead of getting a mortgage. At least until the nesting instinct resurfaces.
PS- That is not a picture of my cabinet. I would never buy a single thing in it.
I dropped by the clinic today to get my second check and the woman acted like she didn't know what I was talking about. I actually had to get on the computer and show her the six emails we exchanged because she "didn't remember anything about that."
I hate my memory sometimes. I'm not great with names, but I'm fantastic with faces. I'll remember yours, when I met it, what verbiage came out of it. I unfortunately will remember that instead of laws I'm supposed to remember, and I'll certainly remember interacting with you. I just don't get why people don't return the favor.
I think, people who "forget" are just not paying attention. Paying attention is everything. Or maybe they do it because they get a kick out of making other people feel insignificant. Either way it's not cool and people should stop doing it.
It is not at all my intention to turn this blog into the Oprah Show or some sort of intervention reality series, but a further word needs to be said about the wild and wacky world of Ambien. In the non-recreational drug context of course.
I've known for a little while I've had a little issue with the magic oblong pill, but unfortunately I've never had anything else to cure my incessant insomnia (except for a brief stint in Chicago involving lots of cold brisk air and plenty of carbs). And insomnia is the one pain I cannot support.
However, as the consistent retrograde amnesia sets in, as well as the inability to remember anyone's names despite how intense our conversations are (leaving me leary of calling anyone anything but "hey you" all evening long, adding to my social awkwardness), I've started to think that maybe it's time to learn to sleep all by my lonesome. Which is going to be tough after nine months of my favorite bedtime companion.
The final wake-up call was the fact that one of my neighbors recently bought my dogs a present of Teddy Graham-like dog biscuits. I don't know if it was the overwhelming nostalgia for child snacks or some perverse sense of curiousity, but I actually ate one to see what it tasted like. Answer: Very bland, but I can see how dogs would like the texture. Alternative answer: put down the prescription bottle immediately.
After extended let's-pretend-I-don't-need-to-study-for-the-bar research, I've encountered several support sites for people going through this same problem. Who all are freaks. Awesome. Confirmation. (I am also not hyperlinking to them, because I still think it's great when people work on their issues. Like when fat people jog. Or when someone realizes they need to stop mentioning fat people so much in their blog.)
Unfortunately, easing off of Ambien in steps is not really an option for me since I've tried several times and failed, owing both to the rebound insomnia, and missing that half hour of believing the world is actually a decent place. Instead, I decided the best option (with 3 barbri-less days ahead of me) is just to go cold turkey already.
So, how to get rid of my little treasure trove? Well, flushing was not an option since I have a firm belief that our water supply is far too tainted with prescriptions anyway. And unfortunately, the garbage really wasn't either since I might get it into my head to start digging. I needed to get rid of them in a way in which I was sure they would be consumed and placed far beyond my reach.
That is, I gave them to my neighbor. Or rather, neighbor(s) since my neighbor now has a new roommate who is an orphaned former stripper raised in the Quarta'. (Actually, the two make quite a pair and it's been awhile since I've seen my neighbor happy, so life is good. Although, I found a place I'm going to put an offer on this week.)
The best part is as I'm walking down the stairs after reluctantly turning over my remaining pills, my neighbor calls out her assurances.
"You know, you did the right thing. This stuff makes people hallucinate and all sort of stuff. If you don't go to sleep within 10 minutes of taking it, you shouldn't be messing with this crazy shit. Good girl."
Life has a surprising way of reminding me that maybe I'm really the crazy one.
So, like I didn't have enough reasons to hate the clinic I worked in this last year. The place continues to demonstrate to me that public interest law is full of people who spend most of their time twiddling their thumbs than actually working, or talking a lot about the good they do or war stories that one couldn't care less about. Or flirting with the male student attorneys. Which is somewhat interesting when you're dealing with domestic violence.
I really saw very little constructive work (with a few exceptions Nora), and a lot of hype in my clinic experience. It was disappointing. And continues to be annoying even though I should technically be clear of it.
I had turned in a check for a reimbursement about three months ago. I hadn't heard anything about it, and since everytime I was in the clinic I felt like I couldn't even breathe without everyone freaking out, I decided to just chalk it up to one more failure to meet my moderate expectations of competence. Which have been lowered even more since living in New Orleans, so this was pretty bad.
The week before graduation the accounts lady decided to tell me she put the check in my box. Hooray. I endorse the check and send it off to my out-of-state bank. Who contacts me a few days later to tell me the check had been voided. Send an email to the woman who issued the check who tells me she thought I needed a second reimbursement but only found the stub in her file, so voided the check. I tell her (nicely, because I am capable of being patient occasionally) that I only had one reimbursement coming, that it had come, and then been voided. She's confused. I break it down into steps. She finally gets it. But wants me to come in and fill out the paperwork again, to get another check that I already had because she can't remember who she gives money to.
That's just par for the course. Really.
After Katrina, I had a potential landlord cheat me out of a sizeable deposit for an apartment I didn't end up renting. Since I volunteered at a public interest place after the storm (and therefore have empirical evidence for my vindictive observations), they offered to take the case.
I called them monthly for about a year and they told me they were "working on it." I finally received a large packet of instructions on how to sue for myself along with a statement that I was not "insolvent" enough to qualify for help even though I had already been financially qualified from the very beginning. I received this packet one week after the prescription period (statute of limitations in Louisiana) had passed and I could no longer file.
I really wish I had sued those motherfuckers.
I am not against public interest, BTW. In my real work, I've done a lot of pro bono criminal cases which have been incredibly rewarding. And thank god for that, because the clinic had made me just about want to hang up my hat on litigation. Period. It just seems so cumbersome when you keep feeling like no one knows what the hell they are doing. And so refreshing when you have just the opposite.
Since I have been affected rather substantially for a failure to act, I'm not impressed by people who do it - whether or not they're paid one-third of my salary.
So, what is the point of this tirade?
Just because you're a public interest attorney does not mean you have the public's interest in mind. And just because you practice in a bigger firm does not mean you're not willing to lay it on the line for someone who can't pay you. And anyone who begs to differ can try getting anything done in a public interest law organization in New Orleans.
I've recently decided that it might be time to move out of my apartment. This is kind of a big step for me because I've been here for two years and have put a lot of work into it. But it really doesn't make a lot of sense for me to keep paying rent, especially now that a house is going up next door which means putting up with very loud banging all day, as well as the fact that it's going to block out the one window that lets in any light. And although my rent is ridiculously cheap, I'm at a point in my life where I'd like to have heat and a dishwasher.
Still, this has not been an easy decision because leaving this place means leaving a lot of memories behind - and not just of my crazy neighbor. Leaving means finally admitting that I'm a different person and like it or not I'm entering the grown up stage in my life where I will own my car and real estate. I'm not saying it's a bad thing ... just different, that's all.
In other news, my older dog Magda has been relegated to the shame of wearing a cone collar for awhile. Thank god she finally got used to it today and is able to lie down -- a nice change to her pacing and attempts for three solid hours yesterday as well as running into various objects and scaring herself.
The problem was that she kept chewing on a very, um, tender spot. So, I took her to my hot vet who is as friendly as ever and apparently still unmarried. Worth putting on lipstick for. Unfortunately, our usual light chitter-chatter was somewhat besmirched by my dog's illness which involved a lot of discussion using very unsexy words like "vulva," "vaginitis," and "urine crystals." As if that couldn't kill the seed of romance fast enough, when I asked how she managed to rub the spot raw he asked me if I had ever observed her rubbing herself against anything. Ew. Even though probably correct, ew.
Alas, from now on I will probably be known as the "girl whose dog pleasures itself enough to require medical attention."
So, graduation went off without a hitch; meaning I didn't fall down the stairs, have anyone use a bullhorn, or tucked my graduation robe into my underwear. I did meet a couple of people that I had never met before in my life who were in my class. And that was fun, really.
But by 4pm, the overstimulation and Superior Grill frozen margaritas had kicked in, and I just wanted to be by myself for a little while. On a happy note, my father was on his best behavior and so no matchmaking was attempted.
I can't even emphasize enough how happy I am to be through with law school and here is why. I don't like to compete because it brings out my competitive side. And I don't like my competitive side. I sort of prefer my lazy reading novels by the dozens and scratching my dogs' heads side. I also don't like how in school everything may be great but there is always a looming end-all exam at the end. Although I have no doubt that actual practice will have its stresses and nightmare deadlines, it's good to be able to work on a real project that actually has some impact beyond stroking your professor's ego with the large amount of his lecture and/or policy suggestions that you can regurgitate.
So, today the fam and I decided to get the heck out of dodge for an afternoon and head down to Grand Isle. First, because I really really feel the urge to be close to saltwater on such a gorgeous day, and second, because I've been looking forward to that butterfly atrium for a long long time.
And still four more days before BarBri starts. I wonder how long I can put off the inevitable.
So, it is 9:48 CST and I am still trying to locate a graduation cap for tomorrow since I do not have one. I've canvassed all the old Tulane grads, and even sent a mendiant email to Academic Services, but no success. So, walking across stage tomorrow might be a big "if." Hopefully, because I am graduating with honors and need some love. Even if it's with a stupid hat and an outfit that makes me look like Harry Potter.
I know I should probably ask a friend to just pass one up for enough time to let me walk across the stage, but I have too much pride. And I think after all the money I've invested in that stupid school they could lend me a spare.
Speaking of pride, a little complaint about my parentals. My dad raised my sister and I to be women who considered themselves on par with men. Meaning, we played on the boy's teams, hung out with guy friends, don't take things to heart and don't think others should, etc. The gender equality thing was a given.
So, I don't know why in the hell my father decides after a couple of drinks to pretty much tell every guy around that I am single. Which puts me in a gazillion awkward positions, since I hope I'm not the girl who hooks up with undergraduate boys and people's relatives. That will probably be the last time I chance taking him to a friend's crawfish boil.
Of course, the choice after 5 beers was either him waxing sentimental about how wonderful I was (always a crowd-pleaser, especially when couple with my mortification) or trying to hook me up with every single guy in sight because somehow it's not enough that I've managed to get through 29 years basically kicking ass without tying the knot. And he's a Yankee to boot, so he doesn't even have the "southern males marry at 20" excuse. Geesh Dad, grow up!!
I'm not single. I mean, technically I am, but I'm not. I'm not interested in getting married right at this moment. Or even dating. There are exactly three things in my life right now that interest me: 1) finding a graduation cap before tomorrow; 2) passing the bar; and 3) spending the summer getting down to my pre-law school size which has been reinforced by the gazillion pounds I've put on from parental free food.
Hm, so parents are good for something after all ...
I've actually had a lot to blog about lately, but I've just gotten overwhelmed by the amount. I realize I have all the insane people around me to thank for (a)driving me to the point where I curse all humans and want to just live in the country with a shotgun and a barbed wire fence; or (b) making me love all humankind everywhere and start to believe in notions like world peace.
Option (a)is, of course, the norm. Option (b) usually occurs between the drink I have that makes me buzzed and the drink I have when someone brings up going to F&M's or the Kingpin. These days there's not really a drink in-between. It's a fleeting moment, but oh so precious.
For the six people who actually read this blog (I've been regretting getting site meter lately since my figures have been so scanty), you will be saddened to note that my neighbor is moving. This is actually a good thing, because I have really been starting to worry about her based on the information she volunteered in our last five minute conversation:
1. The Hispanic construction workers are still trying to get her.
2. So are the blcak construction workers who replaced the hispanics.
3. She is now on her third home security company because the others don't come right away when she calls when either the blacks or hispanics are climbing in her window.
4. She's mad at our landlord because he encouraged her to be nice to them.
5. Since he told her that, our landlord is obviously in on it too.
6. She's moving in with her granddad who is apparantly part of the New Orleans mafioso.
7. Maybe next year she'll go and work on Wall Street.
I've had an interesting rebound from my law school career. I finally wrapped all of my clinic stuff up yesterday and now officially have no more reason to return to Weinmann High until graduation. And maybe not even then if my grades suck as badly as I am anticipating.
The interesting thing that I've noticed is how the sudden dirge of creativity and blogging madness has somewhat subsided now that I have absolutely nothing to do except housework, exercise, spending some much needed time with the girls, and doing really important things like planning out the perfect skin care routine so that I can continue to avoid the fact that I am turning 30 in 7 months.
Actually a comment on that (inspired by a friend's blog entry). I get told a lot that I don't look my age, which is really nice and I appreciate people pointing it out.
Since when is 29 so old?? I think I'd accept these compliments so much more readily if they weren't put in such an incredulous tone. "Wow, you must have really great eye cream!", "I can't believe you're 29, I would've pegged you for 20!!", and my favorite, "I never realized you were so old!".
Okay peeps. Wake up. 30 is not even halfway through the life cycle, so I'd really appreciate it if people, even with the best of intentions, stopped acting as if some fairy godmother has waved a magic wand over me to keep me from turning into a shriveled up old prune.
Moving on. So, I'm back to avoiding white sugar again, mainly because I treat white sugar like a person who has OCD treats cocaine. Namely, I obsess about it and end up eating like five enormous scones in one sitting. Seriously. Also, I put on like 8 pounds during exam season and there's nothing like vanity to do that. And the fact that sugar makes me feel all panicky and emotional. After four days of avoiding it, I already feel much more centered. Of course that could be the "no more law school" thing too.
Who cares? The weather in New Orleans is so amazing right now. I've had all of my windows thrown open for a week and a half. I marvel at the fact that I once really wanted to marry a Canadian and live where I would probably have to sit in front of those freaky Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps.
I've been reading Dr. Thomas Harris's "I'm OK - You're OK: A Practical Guide to Transactional Analysis." It's wickedly interesting and helpful particularly, if like me, you really dread having to interact with people. (Although interestingly enough this is something that has only happened since I started law school, which probably means something).
The premise is very simple. True healthy transactions occur mainly between two "adults". Problems arise when people transact through their "parent" or "child." So, you learn to change your reactions to people by understanding who you're interacting with, and how you choose to react in turn. It's kind of obvious, but after reading it, I can definitely see areas of my parent and my child peeking through, and it's nice to think a book might teach me how to behave.
My only big problem with the book is that it's really dated, ie really sexist. Consider the following passage about when mixed transactional responses are appropriate:
"The scene is a cocktail party. The transaction is initiated by a man who (Child) pinches a woman's bottom. She responds (Adult): "My mother always told me to turn the other cheek." Why is this reponse identified as Adult?
She could have responded Parent: "You dirty old man!" or even slapped him.
Had she responded Child, she may have cried, become embarrassed, angry, shaky or seductive.
Her response was Adult, however, in that she got a lot of information across in her one response.
1. I had a mother who always told me -- so you watch out! 2. Turn the other cheek -- I know the Bible, too, so you see I'm not that kind of girl. 3. The humor of the play on words told him, "My Child is getting a laugh, and you're OK, and I can take a joke." 4. Transaction completed!
Hm. I wonder how Doctor Harris would evalute my response of smiling seductively and then showing him my NRA membership card with a "sharpshooter" status.
Crunching conundrums, blasting boredom, eliciting criticism, languishing while laughing, blaming poetry (and/or the lack of) for all of my choices, leaving it to the stars or the people better equipped to handle it, cackling at catastrophe and saying sayanora to sourpusses and sore losers