Monthly Archives: January 2009

.she rambles when she’s at peace.

Today, I feel peaceful.

Nothing in particular going on, just a feeling of general contentment.  I have been incredibly busy at work lately, which I much prefer to the long stretches of boredom I was experiencing there for a while.  My caseload has officially topped 40 – that is, I have more than 40 people holding me accountable for important parts of their lives at any given moment.  The work felt like a burden, in the beginning, mostly because I was so overwhelmed.  Now it feels… well, it feels like a responsibility.  But in a way that gives me an opportunity to be challenged rather than the kind of responsibility that weighs on you.  (Note to self: as much as possible, carry this feeling going forward… because let’s be honest, sometimes, that responsibility weighs).  I also genuinely adore the people I work with.  My colleagues are uber-supportive and generous of their time and talents, and I love the feeling of starting to grow into friendships with several of them. Also, my supervisor – who, it should be noted, is a badass attorney who knows EVERYTHING and thus still intimidates the shit out of me – is nonetheless unfailingly understanding of my (many) shortcomings and gives oodles of positive feedback and guidance.  So, work is good.  And I can’t believe my good luck in landing here, doing exactly the work I wanted to do in such a wonderful place, right out of law school.  Peaceful and appreciative.

(Clearly, I am in a very genuine sort of mood tonight.)

Unfortunately, my newfound insanely busy work schedule has meant that I haven’t been able to gchat nearly as much with Rev (my verybest who recently moved to DC).  We instituted a Virtual Office and check in with one another throughout the day, but I have been a terrible virtual officemate lately.  Which sucks, becuase I rely on those check ins to keep me sane and to prevent me from going through Rev-withdrawl.  It’s setting in… time to plan a visit methinks.  Plus, I’m DYING to see the Supreme Court.  Because I am a law nerd, yes.

It’s supposed to snow 8-14 inches here tonight and tomorrow.  In other words, I am working from home and get to sleep in.  This could account for a large part of the good mood I’m experiencing.  Now if only some woman would hurry up and have her baby so Finn could come home, it would be a perfect night.

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Filed under Finn, ohmygod i'm a lawyer, Rev

.temerarious.

you make me want to do
what i shouldn’t,
which is to give

in.  to stay up all night
for the company of your warm and breathing body,
to keep my eyes open in case

you should want to meet my gaze.
you make me want:
to succumb.  to surrender, hands above my head.

(reckless abandon,
they call it,
i think.)  you

force me to my knees and
you
make me feel every second
in my body –
we are connected –

every atom suddenly becoming
something of us
the sharp focus of my eyes
and your breath filling my lungs
my own blood pounding
faster with each place you touch and
my hips leaning slowly

in —

these are the things you do to me
from across rooms and rivers
(you make me want to do
what i shouldn’t
and you make me want to whisper

please.)

[In response to Sinclair’s call for submissions to the Carnival…]

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Filed under lightning and a lightning bug, queering the binary

.a day for sunshine.

I’m dreaming of sunshine today.  After shovelling the driveway (again – I better end up with some sexy arm muscles after all this hard labor!) I allowed myself to fall into the Worst of the New England Midwinter Fantasies: bright sunshine, blue skies, puffy clouds, freshly mown grass, cold beer, warm day.  It’s still January… too early to be wishing away the cold and snow, which will be here until at least April most likely.  But we’ve got a backyard here, and we didn’t get the chance to make use of it even once before it got chilly.  Ooh, barbeque!

Okay, must stop.

In other news, I spent this evening completely organizing my life.  Feel free to be impressed.  I get things into my head sometimes, and last night I decided that I had to get a filing cabinet and create some sort of system to keep up with the enormous amount of paperwork swallowing my life (and various parts of our house).  So I dragged Finn to Staples to help me pick out the necessaries (“You’re a nutball, but you’re MY nutball,” she says in regards to my single-mindedness about these sorts of things) and tonight I filed my heart out.  I discovered a few things, such as a student loan I managed to somehow completely block from memory, and the fact that I can fit most of the important and defining documents of my life into the contents of 1/4 of a filing cabinet.  What am I going to do with the rest of it, I wonder?  (The filing cabinet, not my life… though good question either way.)

Lastly, of course, I can’t let today go by without commenting on the inauguration.  They threw a pizza party at work and projected a live feed onto the wall of our large conference room so we could all wander in and out during the day.  Around 11:30 most of us gathered to watch the main event – we chewed on pizza and laughed and snarked at Bush and halfway through Obama’s speech I felt so overwhelmed with love for my colleagues and my country and the work that we are all doing and the work that’s left to be done that I teared up, and realized: this is what it’s like to take pride in your country.  This is what that feels like. And now I know.

Which means, I suppose, that Obama is a miracle worker after all.

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Filed under anticipation, Obama, politicking, type A personality: check

.finn comes home tonight!.

She’s been away at midwifery school for 2 weeks and I only saw her briefly over the weekend – and now she’s on her way home! It’s hard sometimes; we have such crazy schedules anyway, what with my hour+ commute and her unpredictable hours, and to then have her gone for a few weeks out of every few months sometimes makes me crazy.  But it’s all so worth it when she walks in the door.

In other news however, I am getting sick.  :(   Sore throat, starting up with the sniffles, cough, fuzzy head… I can tell my body’s still fighting it, so maybe it won’t turn into full-blown illness, but it was enough to lead me to take a half-day at work today.   I’m currently laying on the couch devouring season 2 of The Office on netflix-watch-instantly (erm… cue addiction) whilst I await Finn’s arrival.

Oh, also, one of my very best friends and old roommates, Olive, is going to be in town for part of this weekend, so I MUST get well.  (I just did a google search of Victorian names to come up with a good nickname for her – she was born in the wrong era, honestly.)  I’ll only get to see her for Saturday afternoon/night, but we’re planning an old school slumber party, and I don’t want to be anything other than ready to rock.

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Filed under Finn, Olive, sickyface

.madloudtrain.

Girl gets on the train this morning – Bitchy Conductor comes by to sell her a ticket.  Girl has no money.  B.C. makes a huge scene, totally chews her out, loudly, essentially humiliates her in front of our entire car.  This despite the fact that the girl’s manner of dress and, well, hygiene, made it pretty clear that she probably wasn’t lying about not having money for the train.  (I didn’t have any cash or I would have offered it just to get B.C. to stop yelling already).  Heavy stuff for 7:15am.

One of the other conductors finally came over and whispered (this was all happening in the seat behind me, mind you, so I was privy to whispers), “Go a little easier on her, huh?”  B.C. responds with compassionless retort, finishes up with snide remark, and stalks off.

As we’re getting off the train later, I see Sweet Conductor handing some money to the girl, telling her to use it for a ticket for the ride home, “plus a little extra for breakfast if you’re hungry.”  I love it when people remind me that there is goodness among strangers.  Totally made my day.

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Filed under the beauty of the in-between

.i’m hit.

Here’s a question I haven’t had reason to ask until now: what do I do with clients who hit on me? (I had a [male] client call me a “cutie” today. Said client had also asked me if I was single in a previous conversation, and if I’d like to get a cup of coffee with him. Color me flabbergasted.)

In my non-work life, the way I dress, combined with my haircut and my must-be-obvious disinterest in any of the men around me, serve to deter guys from hitting on me. I am read, except by the drunkest of men, as a fairly androgynous lesbian. But something about the way I dress for work (and maybe especially my semi-femme suits?) throws people off. Which definitely throws me off, because I am not used to being hit on by men. I don’t even know how to react. Case in point.

My client, I noticed, flirted with everyone, not just me. It seemed to be the way he related to people – you know the type, the guy who thinks he can get by on his charm and his boyish good looks, usually because he always has. As I was completely caught off guard, my reaction was to laugh halfheartedly and kind of roll my eyes and shake my head. Should I have given him shit for it? I don’t know. I mean, to have just put several days of hard work into preparing his case and then have him respond by telling me I was cute was certainly insulting. Part of me wanted to respond, “I’m not a cutie, I’m your ATTORNEY. I’m working my ass off to save yours, so let’s keep our sexism in our pocket, shall we?” The other part of me was concerned with preserving the attorney-client relationship, trying to be understanding that he was incredibly nervous, and that he was probably just doing what he always does to ingratiate himself with people. He was genuinely grateful for my help, and made that very clear (in ways that were much less sexist). What’s more, all the other women in the room laughed and blushed and acted flattered when he flirted with them – did I really want to be the crazybitch attorney who made him feel bad about himself 5 minutes before we walked into his hearing?

Or did I let him get away with it? Despite the fact that I knew his intention wasn’t to make me uncomfortable, being called a “cutie” in that context essentially rewarded me for my professional work with a wink and a pat on the head. And I couldn’t help but think to myself, he never would have said that to a male attorney. That’s what it really comes down to. I don’t work my ass off for clients so that they’ll think of me as that sweet, helpful little girl. I do it because I believe in their essential dignity – I believe they are people worthy of respect, even in a society which would rather pretend they don’t exist. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they return the favor.

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Filed under ohmygod i'm a lawyer, queering the binary, righteous rage

.the arc of the moral universe.

Two of Finn’s good friends are in town this weekend staying with us. They’re both friendly, funny intellectual gay boys, and we were up until 1am last night arguing (or “debating,” I suppose) the place of queer politics in a democratic society. I haven’t had a conversation like this since undergrad, and it was nice to discover I could still hold my own. It came down to this:

Finn and K: Democracy has failed us (the gays). We should not be forced to accept less-than-full equality, and on principle, we should reject it. If we accept civil unions, for instance, instead of full marriage equality, then we allow bigots to feel good about themselves because they’ve given us something despite the fact that they are still insulting our dignity; we lead ourselves and the rest of the movement to become pacified and complacent; and we ultimately hurt the movement because it makes it more difficult to argue for equality when you’ve achieved something that most people will see as “close enough.” What we need instead is a mass movement leading to a total reformation of government so that full equality can be achieved for everyone all at once. (There was also a related argument about whether conditional love – “I love you, but I don’t accept that you’re gay” – is genuine love, or whether it too should be rejected outright, for essentially the same reasons one would reject less-than-fully-equal policy change.)

Pom. and J: Democracy is an imperfect system, but it’s the best and most workable system the world has developed thus far. When you live in a democracy, incremental change is the reality, and it shouldn’t be rejected in the hopes that some mythical revolution will occur in the meantime. If you reject every incremental change because it doesn’t provide full equality, you are left without even the incremental change to build on. The past 200 years – hell, the past 50 years – has seen many relatively major advances for queer people. Obviously, that doesn’t mean we should stop working and become complicit in our own oppression – there is still work to be done, of course – but there is no reason to think that incremental change is not on track to create real and lasting change in the big picture. As for conditional love, whether or not you accept it might be a personal decision, but because we are human beings who are connected to other people and to our society, rather than close doors to people who are trying to grow you would hopefully, where you can, decide to try and engage them.

If you had asked me in undergrad, I would have fallen squarely on the side of Finn and J’s argument – revolution for everyone. And in theory, I still agree wholeheartedly that swift progress is preferable to incremental change. Which is why it felt strange, last night, to be advocating so strenuously as to the benefits of incremental change. But having become, somehow, much more of a pragmatist over the last few years, I guess I’ve come to realize that the revolution ain’t gonna happen. If you genuinely believe that a democracy – despite its admitted failings – is the preferable system, then you have to acknowledge that incremental change is built in for a reason. It is designed to prevent civil war, violent overthrow of the government, anarchy.

Look, it sucks to be on the losing side of a democratic argument (though keep in mind that when it comes to fundamental rights, the courts are also supposed to take a stand, as fundamental rights are generally thought not to be validly put to a vote). But that is both the joy and the sorrow of living in the so-called marketplace of ideas – you have to sell your point of view. Over time, I genuinely believe that progressives are winning, slowly but surely, in the marketplace. Finn and K argued that it shouldn’t be queer people’s responsibility to “teach” people out of their ignorance, that people’s own consciences should alert them to the fact that discrimination is wrong and that those people are responsible, then, for creating change. I definitely understand the anger and frustration of feeling like you are constantly having to teach people, but that is the way of democracy. You MUST take responsibility for your own ideas, and for convincing people of their value. The other side is teaching, all day, every day. They are loud and well-funded and well-connected. Our teaching might be smaller, but it is no less important. We are seeing the changes, in fits and starts, over the years. It gives me hope.

“Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” -MLK

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Filed under Finn, politicking, queering the binary, righteous rage