February 22, 2007
To the Jersey Bastard™:
You are clearly unhinged. No, really. We started out in the same town, where you were a volunteer firefighter finishing his undergraduate degree and thinking about becoming an officer in the military. I was getting ready to go to law school. Things seemed peachy.
Around our second dating anniversary, I started to notice some seriously sketchy behavior, and your insistence that we should have a threesome with a random chick became more than a minor annoyance. Still, it wasn’t until I found the box of condoms with two missing that I decided I’d had enough. I found out more than enough about what was going on to call you on your bullshit, and we continued what were at best halfhearted attempts to reconcile for a few more months, ending it all with a phone call on Labor Day. In 2003.
So I’m not sure why you still send messages to the messaging program that I haven’t used since last summer. Even then, I used it only to talk to a specific person, who is decidedly NOT you. You’re not on my contacts list, and I know I haven’t replied. So get help, fortheloveofdog! I know it’s tough to meet new people, but you’re going to have to try, because you’re one of the three people on this planet that I’m perfectly okay with never hearing from, or about, ever again. I don’t hate you, I just think know my life is better without you in it, so I’m going to try to keep it that way.
February 14, 2007
I have managed to maintain an unbroken streak of absurdly crappy Valentine’s days. The good thing about this is that one’s expectations start to change. After a while, you realize that it can, in fact, be just another day.
If you’re in a relationship, and things are going well, Valentine’s Day is just another day, because you routinely do the little things that make each other happy. If you’re not in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is just another day because there’s no pressure to do anything “special”.
If there is a point to Valentine’s Day, I think it is for couples who are already having problems. To remind them that they care, that they need to do special things for each other, to keep the relationship alive. It’s a mechanism society created to help preserve that aspect of relationships, the part that serves as a kind of glue to keep the big stuff together. But the point is not to save it all up for one particular day. If you love someone, and you know she/he likes steak, cook a steak or take your someone out to dinner every so often. If you love someone, and you know he/she loves flowers, stop on your way home from work because you want to see him/her smile extra wide that night.
And if you’re having problems, and things aren’t going well, take this opportunity to show them that you do care, and you do want to make them happy. Take tomorrow, too. And the day after that. Who knows, it might just become a habit.
February 13, 2007
There are a surprising number of people who assume that attorneys thrive on adversarial relationships. Those people are, I think, quite wrong in many cases.
See, attorneys have to be able to think of their opponent’s point of view, whether it be current litigation, or while drafting legislation/contracts/regulations, to make sure the language indicates the intent as clearly and accurately as possible. Anticipating someone else’s point of view is as important, if not more so, than making a good argument.
And making a good argument doesn’t mean you have to enjoy confrontation. You just have to be able to choose your words carefully so that you don’t over or under-state your position, and so that you persuade the judge/jury/reader that your position is superior.
I hate confrontation, with a passion. Seriously. It gives me ulcers, makes me miserable. Makes me over or under-eat. I hate it even more if I think I’ve actually done something to inspire it, because then the nerve-shredding anxiety and stomach-wrenching stress are topped with the whipped cream of guilt and a cherry of shame, making for the world’s worst dessert.
Did I mention I’m not a trial lawyer?
But if I don’t think I’ve done anything to deserve it? I start getting kind of pissed off. Because anyone who has bothered to get to know me, knows what confrontation does to me. Knows that it makes it impossible for me to enjoy anything or feel anything good. And why the hell would anyone who cares about me approach me that way, given those consequences, when it’s really not difficult to just sit down and talk to me?
I get that it’s important to have the answers, to get at the proof of a case. I just don’t understand why the process has to be vile, and contentious, and nasty. I don’t understand why people make things worse in these situations. If both “sides” are working toward resolution, why the cruelty?
The desire to inflict pain does not come naturally to me, my chosen profession notwithstanding. I don’t understand where it comes from, and I’d like to keep it as far from me as possible. It solves nothing, gets people no closer to their goal.
But sometimes, there isn’t any proof of something. There are some things in this world that just need to be taken on faith, if they are to be taken at all. That’s not the fault of either party, it’s not something that merits recrimination or chastisement. You can accept it, or walk away from the negotiations table, but why, in the name of all things that make sense, would you be mean about it?
February 8, 2007
i carry your heart with me
by e. e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
February 1, 2007
So I found out today that one of the sweetest, most genuine acquaintances I have, has been forced into early retirement with respect to participation in this medium. Having been there myself, I fully understand her decision. Having truly enjoyed reading what she had to say, I’m acutely disappointed. Having formed such a high opinion of her from relatively limited interaction, I want to hunt down the party(ies) responsible and perform a Miss Piggy karate chop on said collective.
I have to say, though, that this scenario reminds me of why I was actually glad not to have jumped into a group when I got to law school. It makes me appreciate the way my life was in middle and high school, even though I didn’t at the time. Hindsight, 20/20, blah blah blah.
This may come as a shock, but I wasn’t exactly popular. After the jolly rancher incident, I was relegated to the sidelines, where I happily hung out with two close friends, and spent the rest of my time reading. That circle expanded by approximately one person per year in seventh and eighth grades, and by ninth grade I was on the fringes of a “group” that encompassed too many personalities to be considered a clique. It also encompassed people who all knew, for an equally wide variety of reasons, what it was like to be rejected en masse. Maybe that’s why we avoided the drama and infighting that seemed to plague the other tiers of the social order.
My college years centered around a largely static group of people – guys in a certain fraternity, and the women who dated them. During that time period, my relationship was one of the most tumultuous, and everyone studiously avoided actually taking sides by hiding behind obvious explanations for their behavior – dues-paying-member trumped all. It was easy enough to understand – it wasn’t about me, except for the part where none of those connections were enough to trump the combination of friendship on both sides PLUS financial ties of the brotherhood, and the oaths taken as a result.
Law school was therefore a different animal for me. I was there to become a lawyer. I had friends outside of law school, so I didn’t try to ingratiate myself into a particular group. I wasn’t ever super close to anyone, kept most of my thoughts to myself. It worked well. I can see why Switzerland maintains its famous neutrality.
Another advantage, however, is that I’ve rarely been the target of personal attacks. In those rare instances where I found out that things had been said about me, I also discovered that the rumors hadn’t lasted for long. I considered the source, and opted not to care.
For those people who, by virtue of their popularity, don’t have this option, I offer these words of wisdom from the Sorkin brainchild:
“If they’re shooting at you, you know you’re doing something right.”