Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's Like Love

August 19, 2006
Illustration by Gerren Lamson

1L Orientation involves a lot of alcohol and processed foods. I figured I would lose weight after I quit my job at the School of Nursing, where the regular highlight of my work day was finding doughnuts and cookies in the downstairs kitchen. But this week, I've been soaking up more free food and booze than I would get in a month at the School of Nursing. Yesterday, a professor edged in front of me in the buffet line and said, "That's one great thing about law school -- all the free food!" I replied that I had assumed it would end after this week, but she told me that there were frequent receptions where a person could score some edibles, and added, "You don't have to go to the talk or lecture, just stop in after for a snack." Nice to see that my $36K tuition is being put to good use.

Orientation was long, and by the end, I was sick of cheap food, cheap wine, and expensive advice -- and I had a raging hangover. The last speaker, Prof. Schecter, brought me down by telling us that law school would be the equivalent of a 50-60 hour work week. 50-60 hours?!? After 5+ years of working 20 hrs a week, I thought 40 sounded bad. 60 seems insane. He also told us that finding your legal calling was like finding love -- you can't predict when it will happen, but when it does, you'll know. This depressed me immensely. How do you know when you're really in love? I've thought I was in love many times, but looking back, I realize that each time, I didn't really know what love was at all. Maybe I felt some kind of love, but not real love, big love, forever love. I thought back to Jamey's stories from work at Mr. Wasabi. Gotosan, a friend of the Japanese sushi chef, had been kicked out by his American wife. He spent every night at the restuarant, drinking sake and singing heavily accented versions of Beatles songs in the karaoke lounge. After closing, he slept on the pool table. Jamey would come in to open the restaurant for lunch and find Gotosan, rumpled and hungover, stumbling around the place in misery. He would often talk to Jamey about his plight. "Tell me, Jamey, why does a woman leave a man?" Gotosan asked once. Another time he put a drunken hand on Jamey's shoulder, looked directly into his eyes and asked forlornly, "Jamey, what is love?"

I love DC. I love the birds of paradise that bloom outside our kitchen window. I love the Antonio Carlos Jobim record I bought on my way home last night. I love the botanicas and the Dollar Plus store on our block. I love Hayes, my roomate's cat. I don't know if I will love being a lawyer, and that scares me. But after my hangover lifted, I started to think that I might love law school, whatever that means.

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