Yes, unfortunately, there are more. It’s how I roll. Stupid thoughts running in and out all the time. For instance, tonight the local bankruptcy bar in which I practice held a CLE, a thing to go to and learn legal things, continuing legal things. Hence the C in the CLE. A judge, a court rep, and a couple of trustees instructed us on the ins and outs of the new bankruptcy rules. Good times. After they invited us for snacks and drinks. I thought, free snacks? Sure. Social hour with adults. Why not?
Well. I never feel more a fish out of water than when I attend lawyer functions. I am terrible at small talk and stand around feeling self-conscious. Stick me in a room full of lawyers and judges and theoretical “peers” and I simply feel, well, peerless. I’m terrible at it. If there are issues to discuss, cases to analyze, things to talk about with a question to argue, basically communicating with the same people in my job, then I’m fine. But take any of that away and I’m just pathetic. I stand there holding a drink and feeling foolish. I think things like, “I’m standing here thinking this,” and “My pantyhose are too tight,” and “I can feel my ears,” and also sometimes things like thinking another lawyer is hot, although tonight that didn’t happen. I was too sidetracked by the tight panty hose.
Today while I was getting dressed, I posted a status update on facebook that said, I go for lawyer, I end up librarian. This about sums up how I am as a lawyer overall. I’m not suave; I’m frumpy. I actually asked a judge tonight whether he would kick back a brief because of bad grammar because I have gotten some really awful briefs from lawyers with terrible grammar and thought to myself that if I were a judge I would send back a brief for bad grammar. He kind of paused as he answered, “Well, um…” And I knew the answer was no. He probably realized in that moment that perhaps I wasn’t a normal person, but he did seem a bit tipsy, so that might have helped my case a bit. I like it when most of the people at such a function start to take on a bit more alcohol then they probably should. Then I figure they aren’t going to remember my standing there like an idiot holding some glass and repeatedly crossing and uncrossing my legs because my feet hurt, and not because I have to go to the bathroom.
I’m not sure why this is. When I was first a lawyer, it was lack of confidence. I had no experience and felt like everyone around me had tons. Now I don’t feel inexperienced. In fact I feel quite confident about my practice skills for the most part, and I don’t care when I don’t know. I just call someone up and ask. No big deal. It isn’t that I don’t have anything in common with anyone either. There are people in this group with whom I have enough in common to manage a conversation, and some of them interest me quite a bit. I really want to know about what they do. I just don’t schmooze well, and a lot of legal activities seem to be all about just that. Ah, such is life.
Tonight Isabel pooped on her bed. I have been letting her run around with a diaper because she has never pee-peed or poo-pooed anywhere except in her diaper or her potty. Tonight I think the poop surprised her. I heard her holler from her room, POOP! I went in there and low and behold, that is exactly what had taken place. She looked surprised and kind of scared, sitting there with a little turd on the bed and stuck to her bottom. Okay, honey, I said, I’ll clean it up. I was laughing so hard, I could hardly breathe, especially because I was trying to do it without her knowing I was doing it and it was strangling me. Poor little pooper! I got her all cleaned up and she helped me put on a new diaper and then take her bedspread to the washing machine.
On New Year’s Eve, I had the opportunity to venture outside my comfortable inner NE Portland bubble and visit the suburbs. My friend Rita invited me to a party at her friend’s house. Why not? I could bring the baby. We could hang out, bring a small hostess gift, and then head home after. My other option was movies at home on the computer after Isabel went to sleep. Not so fun. Life is kind of boring around here when Milla is gone. No one is around for me to boss around.
So out into the land of McMansions I trekked. Rita asked me to meet her over at her neighbor’s house because she was picking up her son. I parked at Rita’s house and bundled Isabel in her coat before trundling to the neighbor’s white colonial. Bundled and trundled. The door bore the words WE_COME. The L was curled up so it looked like a little dash. I knocked and waited. From within the house I could hear the sounds of children running and hollering. A moment later, Rita’s son answered the door, followed closely by Rita, carrying another son. Immediately in front of me were stairs up to the second floor of the house. Each stair displayed a word or an inspirational saying in different fonts and letter sizes. LOVE. KEEP Faith ALIVE. HOPE. God ANSWERS those who ask. Okay, I thought. Not my decor choice, but whatever.
Rita introduced me to the neighbor and we headed back over to her house. Inside, I noticed Rita had Faith, Hope, Love in stick-on letters on her dining room wall. Hmmm. I thought nothing more of it. We changed diapers, gathered diaper bags, bundled up children further, and headed out to drive over to the friend’s for the party. It was nearing 10 and we needed to get going.
I followed Rita’s Highlander as we drove out of her neighborhood onto a main road. A half mile up the main road, we turned and drove along a road with countryside on one side and houses on the other. We turned and turned and turned again. Mostly the roads stayed partially housed and partially country. Rita lives in Washington county. It is my opinion of Washington county that its perspective is to cover every available green space with a building, so it was actually quite refreshing that this countryside had not been tainted. The night was clear and the moon was bright, so I was able to see the grayed landscape.
Finally we drove into a neighborhood. Neighborhoods like the one we were driving into are popular in Hillsboro. I think it is Intel; its base is there. These neighborhoods are filled with houses that nearly obliterate their lots. They are mostly snout houses, meaning the primary feature one notices when looking at them is their rather large garages. We passed several such houses with three garages. Who needs three garages? I thought to myself as we twisted and turned, twisted and turned. Every house looked the same to me. I would never have been able to find my way there if I had been alone. Rita used to live in a neighborhood like this one, back when she was married to a man who worked at Intel. I kind of pride myself on my ability to find my way and that I rarely get lost, but every single time I visited Rita when she lived in that neighborhood, I made at least one wrong turn. It was uncanny.
In any case, eventually we arrived at a whole lot of cars and I knew the party could not be far. We parked and walked a block to a nondescript suburb house. Very large. Very snouty. The cars were parked outside, which I later learned was because the garage had been turned into a storage facility. Maybe that’s the purpose of the many and large garages, storage! Fill your garage with things you never use and won’t see just in case someday you might need them, but you won’t know you have them so you’ll buy more of the thing you can’t find, use it once, then lose it in the garage again. I get it!
The point of this little tale is that upon entering, the very first thing I noticed was that all over the walls, in between the photos and floral hangings, were more stick-on, inspirational sayings! Lots of them. A little lightbulb popped on above my head right in that moment and I realized that this must be the in suburb thing. I’m really out of the loop about in things, and I’m especially out of the loop about in suburban things. I wondered, standing there, whether my many suburban Vancouver and Washougal and Camus had special sayings on their walls. Probably. Wow, I’m not in. But I knew that. I think about my pantyhose at lawyer functions, what the hell would I know about inspirational writings on suburban walls?
Now it is time to go to bed. Isabel has been very patient as I write this. Milla has been hiding in her room. She came down to sit on my bed and scold Isabel because Isabel wants to touch Milla’s homework and Milla doesn’t want her to, but rather than ask nicely or move to a place the baby can’t get to, Milla is acting all teenagery. Get a grip, Milla. Now baby wants to be on my lap. I have to brush my teeth. The stupid thoughts will just have to hang out in my head for now.