May 2007


Today, at 2, I have my Last Law School Final Ever. Today, at 9, I started studying in earnest for said final. Apparently, I’ve decided to abandon the whole “being prepared” angle I’ve been working for the past three years and am giving the “use someone else’s outline and pray it’s enough” strategy a whirl. Whee!

Bar/Bri, (for non-lawyers, that’s the excruciating Bar Exam version of SAT prep class) started yesterday, and while it was probably good for me to hear the little man on the video sternly warn us that if we didn’t follow the “Paced Program” to the letter we would FAIL and we will be MISERABLE and we will NEVER GET TO BE A LAWYER, it all felt a little over the top. Going there every day for three and a half hours for the next two months is going to be awesome, I can just tell.

The ending of law school is weird. I’m ready- god knows I’m ready for this to all be over- but it’s ending with such a fizzle that I feel confused. We had the end of classes, and now there’s the end of finals, and already my classmates have started moving away, rushing to get to their new homes in New York and California and Texas so they can take Bar/Bri there in preparation for their own bar exams. No big celebratory goodbye. No tearful last embrace with a promise to “keep in touch.” No drunken hookups of long-denied law school crushes. (That was a big thing at my high school graduation party. Had a crush on a guy for years who is totally out of your league? Don’t worry! At graduation, he’ll be drunk, and he will want to make out with you!)

It’s all so anticlimactic. Is this it? Are we done?

Today I had my last class of law school, a surprisingly ordinary-feeling class filled with the usual internet browsing and only-half-attention-paying.  With fifteen minutes left in class, I shook myself alert and reminded myself that this was likely my last class for credit ever and maybe I’d better pay attention, if only to mark the passing of a milestone.

And at that moment, the fire alarm went off, we all looked around confusedly for a moment, then packed up and filed out of the room.

And just like that, law school was over.

Imagine yourself getting ready for a Saturday night black tie affair, dressing in a hurry, strapping shoes on and running out the door already a half hour late, getting to the event, and making it half way through your first glass of wine at cocktail hour before you realize you forgot to put on deodorant in your hurry out the door.

What do you do? You excuse yourself, head for the bathroom, and sniff your armpits to see how bad it is. The stress of realizing your gaffe is definitely not helping the situation. You ask your sister if she has, perhaps, brought any perfume in her purse. She hasn’t. You start to imagine an uncomfortable evening spent with arms clamped awkwardly at your sides, wondering if anyone will suspect that the nicely dressed twenty-something girl is the source of that funky smell.

Then you look down at the table and see someone’s abandoned gin and tonic glass, empty except for the lime wedge. Inspiration! You rush to the bar. “Two lemon wedges, please,” you ask, ignoring the puzzled look from the bartender. Back to the bathroom, where you surreptitiously swab your underarms with fresh lemons, pat dry, and rejoin the party, smelling pleasantly of citrus.

Just call me Ms. MacGyver.

I used to be all about the sentimental. Any scrap, photo, or otherwise potentially significant doodad was something I wanted to save. Once, in high school, after a play I had been in ended, I arranged the program, a piece of my costume, and some congratulatory flowers into a little array and took an ENTIRE ROLL of pictures of it, so that I could have “memories.” I still have the petals from the very first rose I ever received from a boy, now crumpled and brittle in a jar in my bedroom in my parents’ house.

Nothing like a big move to knock that sentimentality right out of you, I tell ya. Front page of college newspaper from day I graduated? Toss it. Rather ugly faux-silver serving tray we received for our wedding that we are NEVER going to use? Salvation Army, here we come. File of homemade birthday and holiday cards from my students back when I was a teacher? Recycle! By the end of the move, we were throwing away spare change because we didn’t have any place to pack it. (Please don’t report us to the government for currency destruction.)

My grandmother, who is my only remaining living grandparent, has a deep and profound love for overly precious figurines. In her house, she has dozens and dozens of little porcelain girls, four to eight inches high, all doing something sweet like gathering strawberries or looking shyly down at their little porcelain shoes, all with names like “Precious Angel” or “Sweet Pea.” Because my grandmother is 90, she has gotten to the phase where she has started giving her grandchildren things from her house. By the time we moved out of our old place a couple weeks ago, we had accumulated at least 3 or 4 of these little china figurines. Suffice it to say that they are profoundly not our style, so after consulting with my friends Bird and Mason, who both assured me that I was not duty-bound to keep them, particularly if there was no chance grandma was ever going to visit our house (she isn’t,) I gave them to the Salvation Army.

I felt a little guilty about it. After all, the only purpose of these things is to act as sentimental knick-knacks, and it’s not my grandmother’s fault that I am simply unable to muster the will to be sentimental about a little china girl called “Precious Posy.” But I got over it, partly because it seemed better to give them to someone who would want them, plus we weren’t really honoring my grandmother’s gesture by snickering between ourselves at how ridiculous they were whenever we noticed them on their high shelf in our old place. In the end, I was happy to be rid of them.

But I spoke too soon. Last week, for my birthday, my grandmother sent me Little Violet (pictured). Gah. Unlike some of the other previous gifts, Little Violet is new, and has a return sticker on her from Macy’s. “Would I go to hell,” I wondered, “if I exchanged Little Violet for a new eyeliner and some moisturizer?”

So I went on a website and looked up Little Violet’s retail price, to see if her exchange value would be enough to purchase a new jar of the absurdly expensive Clinique moisturizing lotion that I love and that John pretends to have no interest in (“I don’t use girly products”) but keeps STEALING, necessitating more frequent purchases.

Holy hell. Little Violet cost TWO HUNDRED SOMETHING DOLLARS.

I had no idea these little porcelain gestures from my grandmother were actually absurdly generous porcelain gestures from my grandmother. Which leaves me in a quandary: am I now obligated to try to recapture the sentimentality of my youth and place Little Violet in some place of honor in our new apartment? Would I really be indulging my inner asshole if I, say, exchanged Little Violet for some moisturizer, a cute new pair of summer shoes, and maybe a sundress?