Monday, June 25, 2007

kicking and screaming

One time, when I was about 11, a family trip to visit my stepfather's parents was arranged. We took those trips about once a year, all piled into the car for the eight hour drive to James' creepy parents' house in Lincolnton, Georgia. I hated those trips because they were BORING and James' parents were creepy. The only thing that made these trips bearable was my mom, who also hated the trips, and who was very good company for me. She'd often even sleep in my bed with me in the dark, creepy room on the far end of the house where I was always stationed. Yuck.

Anyway, for reasons that are still mysterious to me, this particular trip I'm talking about was not going to include my mom. For whatever reason, she was planning to stay home while James drove me and my brother down to visit his parents. Ok. Now. I've already told you that his parents were creepy and that mom was the only good thing about those trips. Now I will tell you that I HATED my stepfather. As far as I can remember, he never layed a hand on me, but he was a cold, aloof bastard and I couldn't stand to be anywhere near him. I refused to do anything with him that mom wasn't involved in and that most certainly should have included taking a five-day trip to see his family.

At first, when the idea was proposed to me, I couldn't believe it. I literally could not fathom the potential reality of this arrangment. As the trip got closer and closer, I got more and more anxious, and then finally, on the day we were supposed to leave, I freaked out. My stuff was packed, the car was loaded, James was getting my brother in the car and my mom was standing in the front hall by the door waiting to shoo me out and wave us off. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got as far as the door frame. I looked out at the car, at my brother, at James. And I just couldn't do it. I couldn't take one step in the direction of that particular fate.

I don't remember exactly what happened next, but I know there was suddenly a lot of sobbing coming from me and a lot of "suck it up" coming from mom, but when the dust finally cleared, James and my brother were gone and I was still safely at home with mom. As I sat sniffling in my room right after, she said something like "Are you happy now? You got your way with your little tantrum?" And, you know, YES. I was happy. Wild fucking horses couldn't have dragged me out to that car and I absolutely did not care at all whose plans I fucked up by freaking out and staying home. I just couldn't go.

Perhaps you're asking yourself "hmmm, interesting story, but why's she telling it right now?" Good question. I'm telling this story now so that I can better explain to you exactly how I'm feeling lately about the practice of law. I am standing in the door frame looking out at my "career" and I'm about to start freaking out. I feel exactly that same panic, that same terror that if I step out the door I will lose everything that is good and familiar, I will lose myself and my autonomy, I will lose all happiness and all the things that matter to me.

Basically, right now I feel like wild fucking horses couldn't drag me into the practice of law.

And nothing in my recent environment has done anything to change this fact: 1.) I bumped into a lawschool friend at Pride who hates practicing so much, she's planning to quit and go be an apprentice carpenter, 2.) I watched Waspy fret over her billable hours requirement yesterday (150 hours a month?? That's, like, 38 hours a week! Which means you're in the office for like 50 hours every week, struggling to keep up! Yuck!), 3.) I met a young lawyer at the Lesbian Breakfast Club yesterday who *also* hates it but is giving herself one more year just to see before she starts looking elsewhere.

It looks like nothing but soulless misery from here and I want no part in it. Needless to say, I'm looking into alternatives...


Blogger south carolina girl said...

i been reconsidering graphic design, too, and wondering why i am going to school. maybe our paths are wrong and a "temper tantrum" is in order for both of us...

12:27 PM  
Blogger reasonably prudent poet said...

thanks. :-) i think you're probably right. (and it feels nice to be given permission to have my tantrum...)

12:58 PM  
Blogger stumptown dreamer said...

RPP, that is a tremendous story, and the force of that tantrum is palpable from 111 degrees in the shade Athens Greece!

I was reading a book recently which had a lawyer being interviewed in it, he focused on medical malpractice and had been a doctor himself. when i read why he made the shift i thought to myself 'wow, you have to have a particular mind/interest/drive to be a lawyer.' seems like you either have to be incredibly one sided and interested in developing that one sidedness, or driven by money, or if you are not driven by money or one sidedness you have to have this altruism where you want to help the weaker side and possibly make little money yourself.... i am sure there are more options.... but i feel for you in your tantrum!!!

12:36 AM  

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