Exact Approximations

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Republican Paralegal: Lex's last nerve

I am *this close* to bitch-slapping Republican Paralegal. Other than the general annoyances I have suffered because of her over the past week (see post below), she has taken it to a personal level.

For starters, we were talking about my much improved health yesterday. I mentioned that it was nice to be detoxed, but difficult because now I have to face some seriously stressful things that I was able to push aside in a narcotic induced haze while I was sick.

She asked me if I had been taking the narcotics so I wouldn't have to deal with the stressors. I answered that I was taking the narcotics for pain, but admitted that the pills left me feeling detached in general, and so stressful things didn't hit me as hard. "So, do you think you have an addictive personality?" she asked. I responded honestly that I do; that's something I have known for many years.

She implied that I was never really sick. Rather, that I was addicted to pain killers and avoiding life. I tried not to let this bother me, because I think she was trying to be helpful... At least that's what I'm telling myself. I explained that I was in pain for a long time before I started taking painkillers regularly, and so, to me, it was obvious that the medical condition preceded the pill-taking. But I admitted that I was hooked. Of course. You take pills for that long and you get hooked. It's easy math. Republican Paralegal took that and ran with it - suddenly all she could talk about was my addictive personality and the addictions of my childhood. I was annoyed. But tried not to take it personally. Tried to view it as innocent commentary.

Today, we were decorating the office Christmas Tree. Republican Paralegal started singing some Christmas song and asked the rest of us if we sang Christmas carols. She turned to me laughing and said "what do Atheists sing?" I replied that we chant for demon spirits to unleash their fury upon those who believe in resurrection. Also that we have created an intricate, multi-step routine that we perform while we dance circles around burning crosses and break stain-glass images of the Virgin Mary.

I feel like Republican Paralegal has judged me. Funny, because shouldn't she believe that is God's job? On numerous occasions, she has made derogatory remarks about my Atheism, whether it be like the comment above or generally asking me if I "seriously" believe there is no God. I feel like Republican Paralegal looks down on me for not being married to the man I live with, for having had a child so young, and for expressing skepticism of her opinions (work related, I don't argue with her about religion). The most annoying part is, I think she thinks she's helping me-- trying to *save* me or something. She sees me as this young girl who had a difficult life and now I just need someone like her to push me in the right direction and help me see the light.

To further bolster her negative opinion of me, I was quick to school her in porn lingo. We were moving around the branches of the fake tree to make it look fuller when Republican Paralegal referred to our efforts as "fluffing" and that we were "fluffers." Hysterical laughter. Republican Paralegal expressed confusion and I explained a fluffer's job at porn shoots. She asked me how I knew and I said I learned it at the last Pornography Convention I attended.

I'm finding it harder and harder to blow these things off. Do I say something? I think the majority of my ill will revolves around her lack of respect for my belief that her religion is idiotic. I don't try to convince her that her religion makes no sense. It also bothers me that she talks shit about everyone else in the office to me, making me wonder what she is saying about me to everyone else. But there are things about her that I like. She always asks about me and my family and then randomly brings things up weeks later - showing me that she listens to my stories and lodges them somewhere in her memory - caring enough to follow up. She always offers practical nursing advice about health issues. She compliments my maturity. She seems genuinely interested in me as a person.

I dunno.

If I bitch-slap her and then hug her really tight, would that break even?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Republican Paralegal: crying wolf

Republican Paralegal is in a bad mood. She took yesterday off, and before the Thanksgiving holiday she was mad at The Boss and Office Manager. Republican Paralegal was upset with The Boss' decision about a potential case, and took it personally. She told me about it briefly, before spending the rest of the day silently fuming.

This morning, I asked if she was still upset. Republican Paralegal said that she had calmed down but that the ordeal still kinda bugged her. I (rightfully) sided with The Boss and tried to explain why I thought Republican Paralegal was wrong.

This is the third or fourth time that Republican Paralegal has been upset with The Boss in the eight or so months she's been here. One time, she even looked for another job and went interviewing. I don't know whether she got an offer. Apparently, I am the only one Republican Paralegal feels comfortable enough to talk with about all this. No one else in the office knows that she has misgivings with The Boss' approach, let alone that she's a Republican. She told me once that she is afraid to express these things, as she thinks they will cause discomfort and personal ridicule on the work front. She's probably right, I don't think The Boss would let her live it down if he knew her political beliefs. And so I have been sworn to secrecy.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Part of me doesn't want Republican Paralegal to leave. She's nice and takes an interest in my life. She tells me how great I am and Lex likes that. On the other hand, she's a hard-core God person. That is hard for me to handle. I'm the only Atheist in the office, but feel like Republican Paralegal is the only one who holds it against me. She can't fathom the idea that someone could not believe in any sort of after life or higher power. Also, she told me recently that it offends her slightly when I say "cheese and rice" instead of "Jesus Christ." I was like "seriously? the whole point is to be more respectful to believers..." Her feeling is that, even though I am saying Cheese and Rice, I really mean Jesus Christ - so it's just as offensive. Cheese and rice. Whatever.

I wish that if she were going to quit, she would just quit. Every month or so she gets butthurt about something and decides that this might not be the sort of place she can work at. She talks about getting a different job. Then she gets over it. If she quits, I'll be the one doing all the intake work, screening potentials and whatnot. I did that for awhile before she started, and it totally sucks.

Part of me wants her to quit right now so that I am in a better position to renegotiate with The Boss. That's mean. But I'm practical. This is a small office, if Republican Paralegal quit, everybody else would immediately become more valuable. I would hate to strike a deal with The Boss only to have Republican Paralegal quit two weeks later when I could no longer use it to my advantage. But I don't think she's going to quit. I think she has thin skin and lets things get under it too easily. It's a little frustrating - one day all I hear about is how she can't work in an uncomfortable environment and moral work ethics and blah, Blah, BLAH... and then the next day it's no big deal. And no one knows it but me. To everyone else, she's totally committed to the firm, but I know better.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just in Case

This morning's elevator ride was short and had low turnout. Just me and 20th Floor Man. I hit the button and up we went. I was getting off first, because he was going to level 20, which houses one of the largest firms in Phoenix and has a reputation for being super-awesome (so far as BigLaw firms can be super-awesome). Anyhow.

20th Floor Man: Wearing a suit. "At least it's a short week." The breathing of his laughter makes his briefcase heave up and down with his chuckles.
Lex: Also happen to be wearing a suit today. "Not for some of us, you know, Newbie Patrol." Trying really hard to communicate that I too am a lawyer. Sorta.
20th Floor Man: Laughs harder. Suitcase heaves further. "Really, even on Thanksgiving?" Seems genuinely surprised.
Lex: Stoic. "Yeah, probably working from home though, not so bad." Not. I'll be sitting at home working on one of the three bottles of wine I have already purchased. There will be no thinking on the law or matters of this office. At all. Not one day of the four day holiday. Fuck that. "It's fine, the family will still be there and lots of work means lots of cases. My name is Lex, I work at Little Guys Firm, just graduated last year. I don't mind the work, that's the way it is. Always good to learn. Good times." Hear that, I said cases. Cases as in legal. Always good to learn as in go ahead and beat me like a wounded race dog and then make me run fifty more laps you sick, sick torture mongers with your 2200 billable hour requirements. As in I too could work on the 20th Floor alongside you - you who have come far enough to actually get holidays off while working at BigLaw. You should hire me immediately. I went to Berkeley. I don't mind working. I lie well.
20th Floor Man: "Well, that's a great attitude to have." Shakes my hand. "I'm Mr. Suitcase Man."

I exit the elevator and wave. I don't think I want to work 60 hours weeks, even for 100k a year. But I'm going to kiss ass and meet as many Mr. Suitcase Men as I can.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mad World.

There are days, becoming more and more frequent, where I want to ditch this job American Beauty style. Walk into The Boss' office, tell him it's been real nice, but that I need to re-evaluate my life and the direction I'm going. I want to go on a tirade about the symbolic nature of of being Alive and the importance of every action we take. Up until now, I've been able to do this every couple of years. This worked out really well in college - it was always 'what's the next summer job'? 'what's on next semester's class list?' 'what graduate program do I want to enter into?' And so on. Until last year, my life was a series of small markers of success that allowed me to never really get bored. There was always something new that was about to happen. Not anymore.

All around me are familiar faces. Worn out places. Worn out faces.

How many people are bored with life? Wake, wash, dress, work, repeat xs/5. Then lay around for two days dreading the coming Monday? Endless cycles of meaninglessness. How does one escape the ever-present threat of monotony that being an adult presents? Every day I come into this office, I ride the elevator with the same people. Blank looks everywhere. Meaningless paperwork waiting to be completed before moving on to the next stack. No one likes this. Everyone wants to escape. And if you don't, that's even worse.

Bright and early for the daily races. Going nowhere. Going nowhere.

I feel like I'm wasting a good portion of (what should be) my healthy years going through this cycle of working and working, yet never really getting anything accomplished. I mean, I am one of the fortunate few that goes into emotional fits over my job; I do find some solace knowing that my work has a profound effect on me. It feels better than I imagine it would feel to sit around filling out benefit administration paperwork or something really, really awful... But still, I feel like my life belongs to Client X or The Boss or Someone Else. It's not really mine anymore. I don't get to sit around and write poetry and watch the clouds pass or sing to myself quietly.

I find it hard to tell you. I find it hard to take.

I don't always feel this way. Some days are worse than others. Today sucks. I once had a friend who got fed up with life and went to work and quit that following Monday. I want that feeling. But I don't have the luxury. He probably doesn't even have that luxury anymore. I've got a family and medical bills and student loans to pay off and so I keep at it with this nine to five thing. But I don't want to. I want to sit around and drink good wine, go hiking whenever I want. Drive off to California and the beach and visit my family for weeks at a time. I want to retire at the age of 27.

Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson? Look right through me. Look right through me.

There's got to be a way to adjust. There are benefits to being a grown-up. No bedtime. No forced broccoli. No R-rating restrictions... But the trade-off sucks. For all the time I had to think on it and prepare to enter the working world, one would think I would have come up with a better way to inject meaning into the mundane. But I didn't. The practicality has even invaded my imagination. I lie in bed before I have to start getting ready and ask myself: if I had the day off to do whatever I wanted, what would I do? Then I think of something awesome, like heading to Alamere Falls... and find myself wondering 'could I get back in time to not be late tomorrow?' No, I couldn't. If I had the day off I would have to stay local. But I don't have the day off. I've gotta get my ass off to work. Same thing. All the time. Where's the meaning?

When people run in circles it's a very, very mad world.

What's the answer here folks? Do I just deal with it? How do you deal with it? I've tried the whole comparing myself to a starving African child thing, but that doesn't help. Why didn't I end up a concert pianist or a writer or follow my age 12 acting ambitions? If I had gone one of those routes, would I still be searching for meaning? If I were independently wealthy and didn't have to work, would I wonder if I needed to earn my way to the top to find happiness? Will I never be satisfied? I know that most of the people riding the elevator with me won't be. Most people's lives are a constant waiting game. What to do this weekend. What to do this Thanksgiving. What to do over the holidays. Never, 'wow, look what I'm doing RIGHT now.' Who gets to feel that way all the time? Who has the luxury of enjoying every second of their lives... Is it possible? Should it be?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lotta Links

I'm dead tired. Can't focus. I went to the restroom three times just so I could take mini-naps in the stall. I suspect Paralegal suspects I may be bulimic as I do this especially right after I eat. What can I say? Eating makes Lex tired. I am having happy daydreams about going home and laying in bed, falling into happy slumber.

In the midst of my inability to do anything productive, I've checked all the blogs on my roll 10+ times. Post of the day goes to CECU, for linking this Daily Kos story regarding the Republicans latest ass-saving attempt: calling some of the new members of Congress "Conservative Democrats." Good story.

Yay!!! Mexico City legalizes gay marriage.

Anyhow, I emailed an old friend yesterday, asking him why he hasn't been in touch. This is the latest in a string of attempts. I've called, left messages, emailed - I get nothing. He sent me a forward, one of those ones with 20 or so "about me" questions that you answer and then forward back to everyone, including the one who sent it to you... I answered in an attempt to get his attention. No luck. Hope he's not mad at me. So Eldritch, if you're mad at me, call me anyway. I'll apologize. Not talking to old friends and not knowing why makes me a sad one. This happens to me far too often. Makes me think I'm not very good at the friend thing.

I looked at some pictures that Ryan linked to. Very nice (Borat voice). At the site, there was a link to other pictures. Some of these pictures were of Mormon Temples. Please, please, please, Ryan, tell me you are not a Joseph-Lander. It's one thing to be a Christian, but being a Mormon requires that someone schedule an intervention... Unless, you know, you really are a Mormon. In which case, there's nothing wrong with that....

A helicopter just arrived at the hospital across the street. I'm watching it land. Every time I do this, I can't help but think that might be our next case. That's kinda twisted on top of someone being sick.

Every news site had a story about Britney Spears divorcing Kevin Federline. Why is this news? Why do I keep reading? They all say the same thing: K-Fed-Ex is a loser and wants all of Britney's money. Not much different from when they were married.

I updated the blogroll to delete a few people who never post anymore. Except for TEM and Fresh Pepper - I have my fingers crossed that both will return. I also added The Attractive Nuisance. (hat-tip WT) Good blawg about a new associate making her way in law land, trying to have an affair with a partner she has lovingly nicknamed Lord of The Rings. She comes up with really good nicknames for her characters.

Update Sadie, update.

The 49ers might leave San Francisco and go to... Santa Clara!!! Boo!!! Stay in SF you guys, don't ruin it by moving to Santa Friggin' Clara.

Officer Manager is out with the flu. Paralegal is out to go hike the Grand Canyon. Front Secretary is on the phone and she is really loud. She seems is having far more fun than I.

Ok, sorry for the boring post folks. But I figured I'd better put something out there now since I don't usually blog on the weekends.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post Election Celebrations

For the first time in my life, I got drunk at work today.

After Republican Paralegal left, The Boss busted out a bottle of champagne. We all sat in the kitchen and celebrated the Democratic victories. It's days like today that I'm really, really happy that I didn't end up at BigLaw.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Almost Disenfranchised

So I went to vote today. It was like a friggin treasure hunt.

Before leaving work, I called my polling location to make sure I was headed to the right place (being new to the area and all). I was informed that the polling site had been switched, and I needed to go to a different location.

I went to said different location - The Church. I was told that my name was not on the roster. The voter-"helper" lady told me to go to The Senior Center. I go to The Senior Center. No polls.

I walk inside and ask where the polls are. "I don't know, we were scheduled to be an election site, but the election people never showed up this morning. You can try The School down the street, sometimes they do it there."

I go to The School down the street. Turns out, I'm not on that list either. They look at my voter registration card and tell me that I'm supposed to vote at The Church down the street, the first place I went to.

I go BACK to The Church, loudly decrying my frustrations. Magically, they found my name on the list, and I got to vote. Two hours and six bucks in gas later.

Here's what gets me the most:

1) How can you change a polling site at the last minute and not notify affected voters? How many people will show up to that place, find nothing and give up?

2) How can you not find my name on the roster? Being able to follow basic rules of alphabetizing should be a requirement to be a polling volunteer.

3) How many people would have the endurance to go to FOUR different places? I'm determined, but many people need to get back to work, or are on foot.

4) I just happen to live in a lower / middle class area.


So I passed the bar, and I've been waiting on my bar number, slated to arrive after my character report finishes processing. It's been awhile, so I called the Committee today to find out what was going on. The helpful man told me that the investigative portion of the report is complete and has been sent to the Committee for final determination. He also mentioned that there "seems to be some problems" with my finances, so they will likely request more information or pull me in for a hearing. This sucks so much. My finances are a mess because mounting medical bills - I just don't have enough money to pay everything and I have a few accounts that are months past due. The shittiest thing is that, in order to pay those debts, I need to be a full-fledged attorney -- but, apparently, to become an attorney, I have to pay those medical bills.

I'm freaking out about this.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Timing is Everything.

So, Saddam Hussein gets death. Not a surprise, except for the part where the verdict came two days before U.S. midterms. Wait, I guess that's not really surprising either. I smell a last minute Republican flurry of "look at the progress in Iraq." Fuckers.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Roads Left in Both of Our Shoes

I'm better. Still sore... but I'm Better. Completely. That pain is gone. Completely gone. I'm crying. Not full-out weeping, but tears running down my cheeks with the overwhelming happiness of feeling this way again. Almost forgot. So many times I worried that whatever was wrong with me was really bad, maybe only to get worse and worse. But it didn't. I got better. After two years, a one-hour surgery made me better. Still in disbelief, I'm seeing life through different eyes. It's new, just began over the past few days.

Laying in bed over the past couple of days, I have been thinking a lot. Mostly about all the things I'll be able to do again. I want to run again. I used to run a lot. Three, four times a week for 45 minutes or even an hour-and-a-half... if I was feeling really strong. Tying up my New Balances, great music on my MP3 player, I hit the pavement and ran laps and laps around my apartment complex. The Ex wasn't into it and I had no friends who lived close enough to join me with any regularity. I always really wanted a running partner.

I've lived in Arizona for over a year, and I've never hiked here. I used to hike all the time. Never gone out driving without a destination in mind. Just exploring. Sadie and Uncle Reptile got their apartment in July, and I've never even been there. They probably have new snakes that will scare the shit out of me. I want to go to the Grand Canyon. Can't remember the last time I picked up Daughter. She's ten now, I hope I can still pick her up. I'm going to try as soon as this residual soreness is gone. I'm going to try until I get her all the way up with her arms around my neck and I'll kiss her eyelashes.

I looked around the apartment today, realizing that since moving in, I have not done one load of laundry. Rarely made dinner. Never done the dishes. Haven't cleaned the bathroom. I might have made the bed once, but just because I was trying to get lucky. I sit in bed and food and clean clothes and fed cats and cold bottles of Propel all find their way to me. Boyfriend does it all. And he's just as sick as I was. Almost never say thank you. I realize he does everything, but rarely recognize it. Boyfriend is constantly in action, going to doctors, picking Daughter up from school, picking up after Daughter, picking up after me... He emptied and filled my ice bag every three hours. He talked to two nurse-neighbors to get advice on how to best ease my recovery after the surgery. Made sure I took my medicine. Asks me how I'm feeling. Brought me flowers. Helps me stand.

For the first few days after surgery, any little movement hurt. Boyfriend slept next to me on the floor so that I wouldn't hurt if he twitched in his sleep. I didn't think much of it. I didn't ask him why he was sleeping on the floor until after he had done it for three or four days. I take Boyfriend for granted, and he deserves more than that. He spends so much time thinking about how to make me feel happy, loved and understood... I want to learn how to show love better. I love so much, I feel it falling out of me. But fear it's sometimes invisible. I've gotten through too many hard times by not let anything hit too deep. Sarcasm and irreverant distance provide a safe haven. Turns out I'm not so good at expressing sappy feelings. I feel these amazing things, but don't know how to show them. I'm going to work on that now that I'm better.

Tonight, I laid in bed with Daughter and we talked and talked and then she fell asleep. We used to do that every night when she was younger. One of the most amazing things you can do in life is laugh with a child and then watch them fall asleep. Over the past couple of years, I've mostly just given Daughter a kiss and said goodnight before going back to bed and my heating pad. I miss her. So much. More than anything, being sick has stolen the quality of my time with Daughter. I tire easy, and don't have the energy to keep up. She runs circles around me, and I just watch. Sometimes I don't even do that. I want to run with her. She has told me so many times over the past months that she wishes I would get better; it's been so hard on her. So hard. I remember having a sick parent, it's terrible.

Daughter joined the track team a couple months ago. She came in fifth out of seventy-five at her last meet. She wants to be my running partner. We're going to run together. Run to something more.