Monday, August 06, 2007
First things first. Thank you for saying that you like reading my posts. It means a lot to me and keeps my spirits up, not least because you are such smart and interesting writers. I read and reread your comments. Thanks for taking the time to read and write back.
Early August is sliding into middle August. I let them know at my internship that Wednesday will be my last day. I also promised to help on cases down the road. I think I felt like I SHOULD help. I think I feel guilty for leaving a few days early. I have had a love-hate relationship with this job. I think the work is important. I hate the inefficiency, though, of the office mentality that values presence more than work quality, where showing up all day is more important than what you get done. I'm spoiled. I think I have a freelancer's mentality.
Still, it's been pretty interesting to work in an office all summer, to go out to lunch, to have co-workers and group projects.
The good news about the summer's labors is that I got invited to be on a law journal. I also have some on-campus interviews for summer jobs next year, despite being certain that no one would want to interview me. Interviews mean the chance at summer jobs. Summer jobs at law firms mean big money. Big money helps cut down on big student loans.
The bad news is this means I have to go back to school a week early. Interviews are only twenty minutes long, but they are spaced out over four days. After that, there is an orientation at the law journal on Saturday. Monday is the start of classes.
This means--alas!--that summer is over.
I have a few corrections to make to the brief we are filing at work in the Mississippi case. I finished helping out on another brief in an Indiana case. My supervisor tells me there will be lots to do down the road on all the cases we worked on this summer.
I want to end my job today, but I also don't want it to end. Ending means the end of summer, and the end of a liminal time. No job, no money, but infinite choices and possibilities.
I'm afraid of law firms. I'm afraid of tense, mean bosses. I'm afraid of firm interviews. I'm afraid of trim, hard little people in expensive suits who may or may not have wanted to talk to me at all. Interviews on campus are partially requested by employers and partially a lottery, which means they could be rolling their eyes inside as they talk to me. I'm afraid of feeling big and awkward and old. I'm afraid to buy a new suit, and afraid to rely on the old one.
Can suits be lucky or unlucky? I think of my suit as unlucky because I interviewed in it for an academic job I didn't get--a job that was my last hope at the time for keeping my career afloat. GF says the suit is lucky because that job was in a southern state, and how sucky would it have been for me to get that job? So maybe it is a lucky suit, after all.
I am tempted to be thrifty and use the suit again, and buy another shirt to wear under it. And new shoes. The suit is just large and black and sort of polyesterish in that "woman's department-store suit" kind of way. I wonder if I look dumpy in it. Old. Tacky. I think of my trim 20-something classmates in their tight little suits, marching smartly off to interviews, exuding taut control. I am all over the place. Not taut. Not controlled.
I think I want dignity.
But then, when I think about it, the most dignified gesture is often the refusal of dignity. The way a drag queen refuses to renounce the "undignified" choice of wearing women's clothing radiates dignity. So does her choice of the biggest, most garish wig and makeup.
I took a poll about how I should look for interviews. "Would you hire me with white-blonde bleached hair?" I asked people I knew in law school. Young, taut people. "It's who you are," they told me. "You CAN'T not dye your hair."
Though we all agreed that the nose ring should come out just for the interviews. Simple gestures, these weighings and decisions. Right now I'm trying not to think about what it means to take out the nose ring. I don't think about leaving it out for good, but I don't think I'll be wearing it to work.
Yesterday an old friend of GF came to town. He is tall, dark, handsome, and glamorous. He makes lots of money. He works in the beauty products industry, and had two free passes to Lollapalooza for the day. These are the passes that let you into the VIP lounges, where there is free booze, free food, and trailers with air-conditioned bathrooms that have actual toilet paper. Where a ticket for one day runs about 75 bucks, these passes would have cost us $225 each.
GF couldn't go because she has had foot surgery and couldn't walk far. I dyed my hair a bright, bleached blonde, put on my "Homophobia is Gay" t-shirt, and went with a friend to the concert.
The crowd was mostly in their twenties and thirties, mostly white, mostly middle-class, and mostly straight, probably because the music is mostly sensitive white-guy music played by sensitive white guys (although Patti Smith played what I heard was an amazing concert Saturday. Sigh.) Everyone there seemed to be in a good mood, which was remarkable considering the crowds and the humidity. I forgot how old I was, or what year it was. My friend cackled with happiness at our free food and vodka. It was a hot summer night. I watched Modest Mouse from a platform where it was easy to see the stage, then walked from one end of the fair to the other, following the crowds lining up to see Pearl Jam. There was an almost scary number of people. At one point the crowd seemed so thick I didn't see how we would get through it. A woman beside me said "We just stopped here." She gestured to her boyfriend, who smiled sheepishly. "We just couldn't go on."
We did go on, and got a fantastic vantage point on a walkway near the stage. I like Pearl Jam. I don't care what anyone thinks about that. I like Eddie Vedder's voice. I like their songs. There were tens of thousands of people pressed together in 90-degree heat, and no one seemed to mind. I like that the stars began to twinkle over the thousands of people singing "I'm Still Alive," all together, waving their arms in unison. I like that the Sunday night fireworks went off over the lake behind the stage as the band played. The crowd roared, the band sang, and my hair shone brightly in the twilight. It felt like the perfect beginning and perfect end, to summer, youth, other dreams, and other lifetimes.