On top of things

It was an extraordinary day. Professionally, it was one of my best.

I didn’t save the world today. I just contributed a small part in a tiny battle in an overwhelming war. But every single part of it holds significance.

But what really happened today: I enjoyed my job. I enjoyed the frantic pace. I enjoyed the running around, final prep work. I enjoyed being called upon by colleagues to counsel. I enjoyed being quizzed of my knowledge of the facts and my theories on the law. I enjoyed feeling like part of a team.

We had a hearing. This means we sat in a courtroom, and I sat in front of the Bar. I sat at the trial table. I sat there, looking around the room, taking it in. Sometimes, you have to understand, the whole thing just doesn’t make any sense: there I am in a sharp suit, surrounded by for real adults acting as for real attorneys. There is the witness stand, and the law clerk, and the reporter, and opposing counsel. There are my books and my pleadings and my case law and my notes. There is an honest-to-goodness judge, who just called my name. This is a courtroom, and this is a hearing, and these are legal proceedings. And there I am.

I am a lawyer.

How the hell do I get to be a lawyer?!

My colleagues were nearly all there. My boss was there. And I was called upon to take the podium.

I didn’t save the world. But I argued my parts. I articulated my views. I smiled, and I charmed, and I occasionally made the room laugh. I was respectful to the law and to the judge. I did everything I intended to do, and I never stumbled. I litigated.

Afterward, my boss took me aside to tell me what a great job I had done. How I’d come up with arguments he’d never even considered. How well I handled myself.

Gatorfan told me I did a great job. She said it was because I was having a great hair day – that it made me confident and self-assured and charismatic. Kansas sent me an email: “NICE!”

After the hearing I felt bulletproof. Invincible. We headed to a meeting. Fancypants law firm full of big wig attorneys. Big money, big power, and office space that looks like the hermetically sealing doors of a space ship. I’m fairly certain the outside of each office has a biometric-reading system barring entry. We met and we discussed important things. The fancypants private firm attorneys, and the powerful government attorneys. And me.

Afterward we had a postmortem. On a key point of interest, I looked around the room before I spoke. Here was represented a few decades of experience in some of the most challenging, impressive, highly sought-after positions in all of the industry. I was the youngest in experience as well as in age. By a lot. So as I chose my moment to chime in, I prefaced with “Look … I know my opinion here counts for the least but …”

“That’s ridiculous. Don’t be silly. What are your thoughts on this?”

I am a lawyer. Just like everyone else in the room.

I got home late, though I managed to pick up cat food and a few treats on my way home. The dishes were still stacked on the stove top, the recycling overwhelming the back part of the counter. The trash stank. I grabbed a couple slices of stale leftover pizza, one in the mouth and two in a hand, and I sat down on the couch. Kir yawned sleepily at me, glaring then stretching, returning to her solitary dozing.

I stared at the blank TV. The heater turned off. All I could hear was the bubbling of a mead and a beer in the corner. A siren sped down the street. I chewed, loudly. Kir snored from the back of the couch. I stared at the blank TV.

Old Shoes and Picture Postcards. The Goodnight Loving. An IPA.

Hey guys, I just had one of the best days of my professional life so far. If someone were here, I’d tell them all about it. By the time I see one of you again, I will have lost the steam.

I think that’s why I have the blog. As I lose my ability to really communicate with others … I just want to make sure that I remember that there were things. They were amazing things, and they were mundane things, and they were the things that made me smile. The things that made me feel accomplished. The things that made up the hours or the days of my limited time on this earth.

And even if no one was there to tell about them … they completely happened.


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